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ADHD in Children Health Center

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CDC: Nearly 1 in 10 Kids Has ADHD

Increases Greatest Among Teens, Hispanics

ADHD Trends State by State continued...

North Carolina had the highest percentage of children with ADHD. A total of 15.6% children in the state had a diagnosis of ADHD in 2007, followed by Alabama with a rate of 14.3%, Louisiana with a rate of 14.2%, and Delaware with a rate of 14.1%.

The increases probably reflect greater efforts to screen for ADHD and treat those who have the disorder, Visser says.

Twelve states reported increases in ADHD prevalence between 2003 and 2007, and all regions of the country, with the exception of Western states, saw increases.

Visser says Western states have traditionally had the lowest ADHD rates.

Ruth Hughes, of the advocacy group Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, says parents, doctors, and teachers are clearly more aware of the disorder than they were even a few years ago.

She worries that some of the increase may be due to the misdiagnosis of children as an unintended consequence of this increased awareness.

“The hope is that physicians out there diagnosing children with ADHD are following the guidelines, and not just slapping an ADHD label on kids with ADHD-related behaviors,” she says.

The American Academy of Pediatrics states that symptoms like hyperactivity, inattention, or impulse control issues must be present for at least six months and they must have a profound negative impact on school work, social interactions, or home life to be considered ADHD.

“There are very good diagnosis and treatment guidelines, but it is hard to know if they are being followed,” Hughes says.

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