11% children in the US diagnosed with ADHD: study

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A new study reveals an alarming rise in ADHD diagnoses among American children.

NEW YORK, May 23: A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology unveils significant insights into the prevalence and treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) among American children. According to the findings, approximately 11.4% of children in the United States, roughly 7.1 million kids, have been diagnosed with ADHD at some point in their lives.

Researchers noted a concerning trend of increasing ADHD diagnoses, with approximately 1 million more children diagnosed in 2022 compared to 2016. Currently, about 6.5 million children, equivalent to 10.5% of those ever diagnosed, are living with ADHD. Among these children, 58% exhibit moderate or severe ADHD symptoms, and 78% have at least one other co-existing disorder.

The study also sheds light on the treatment landscape for ADHD. While nearly 54% of current ADHD patients have been prescribed medication, behavioral treatment has been received by 44% of them in the past year. Alarmingly, the research indicates that almost one in three children diagnosed with ADHD have not received any specific treatment for the disorder.

Further analysis revealed disparities in ADHD diagnosis and treatment across various demographic factors. Asian and Hispanic children, as well as those from lower-income households, were found to have lower prevalence rates of diagnosed ADHD compared to white children and those from wealthier families. Additionally, children covered by public insurance programs like Medicaid or CHIP exhibited higher rates of ADHD than those under private insurance.

Geographical disparities were also observed, with higher ADHD prevalence rates reported in the Northeast, Midwest, and South regions compared to the West. Moreover, ADHD was found to be more common in rural or suburban areas than in urban settings.

The researchers emphasized the evolving understanding and awareness of ADHD symptoms, leading to increased recognition among girls, adolescents, and adults. However, despite progress in narrowing diagnostic gaps across racial and ethnic groups, socioeconomic disparities persist in ADHD diagnosis and treatment.

The study underscores the importance of addressing these disparities and ensuring equitable access to ADHD diagnosis and treatment services for all children, irrespective of their demographic background.

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