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ADHD diagnoses on the rise, CDC says
August 19th, 2011
12:06 PM ET

ADHD diagnoses on the rise, CDC says

More and more children are getting a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The percentage of children with the condition rose from 7% in 1998-2000 to 9% in 2007-2009, for both boys and girls. In some areas of the United States those figures are even higher. From 1998 to 2009, ADHD prevalence increased 10% in the Midwest and South.

That's not necessarily bad news; it could mean that with greater awareness of the condition and better access to health care, more children who have ADHD get a proper diagnosis, which is the first step toward seeking appropriate treatment. Medications and behavior therapies are available to help kids with attention issues. But the report did not directly measure whether the rise in ADHD cases reflected better detection or an actual increase in the number of children with the condition.

On the flip side, past research has found indications of frequent misdiagnosis of ADHD. Some parents say the first suggestion that their child might have ADHD came from educators rather than mental health professionals. That could lead to misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment; ADHD is a specific condition involving lack of focus and impulsive behavior, but there could be other reasons for similar symptoms.

The CDC report looked at children 5 to 17 years old. It did not look at causes of ADHD, which remain somewhat mysterious; no one knows how to prevent ADHD or predict who will develop it.

Researchers highlighted disparities among ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Among children in families with an income under the poverty line, ADHD prevalence increased to 10.3%, and for those just above the poverty level it rose to about 11%.

ADHD prevalence is about the same across the ethnic groups that the report focused on, with the exception of Mexican children, who have consistently had lower prevalence of ADHD since 1998. Again, it's unclear whether that means this reflects a need for greater awareness and access to health care, or if children in this group are truly less likely to have the condition.

Whatever the underlying reasons for the condition's rise, a tremendous amount of money is being spent on health care and educational interventions directed at ADHD, not to mention other costs to parents. In 2005, using an estimated prevalence of only 5%, researchers estimated the societal cost of this mental illness to be about $42.5 billion.

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soundoff (511 Responses)
  1. USA

    I just read the symptoms of ADHD. Are you kidding me. Every child I know has some of these symptoms, it's called being a kid. Yes, it is frustrating to the parent, and they look for answers or a way to calm them down, so they don't have to deal with it, what better way to medicate and have a calm child than to drug them into submission. I have a cousin who has a son that has been treated for ADHD since he was 5. Without the medication he is a normal, inquisitive, playful kid. But since he likes playing and talking, then she immediately gives him the medicine to "calm" him down. The he just sits there, won't talk and stares at the TV or lays and complains of headaches. He is very anti-social now at 10 years old, he does not interact with other children and still he is fed the medicine. There are some occasions when there may be an a problem, but the majority is just a quick, easy diagnoses and easy fix.

    August 19, 2011 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mom

      Don't assume that these kids just need parental supervision. My youngest is a classic case. I teach parenting courses and he runs us ragged even with all of the skills. He is the sweetest kid ever, but can't sit still and follow instructions to save his life. The older two children are model children. With children you never know what you are going to get.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:01 | Report abuse |
    • El

      USA:

      Spoken like a person who does not suffer from this condition! This is not something to joke about and just because you think it is BS does not give you the right to judge others and their families.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:02 | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      Its not just children, I've been diagnosed with ADHD since 5th grade. I am 26 now. I struggle to function in jobs and my schooling without medication. Its just like the tv commercials, the channels change in my head and I have no control. I will completely zone out, or go off on the most random tangents. If i am taking my medication, I can focus, listen, stay awake, and do very well.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:03 | Report abuse |
    • Sad story

      Totally agree ! Smart parents instead work with their kids and help them make creative use of their talents. Do not drug the kids or the elderly. A family has an elderly in a nursing home and social workers got them to agree to drug the elderly because he was attacking the staff? Really? He had stroke and now he became a zombie after having been drug for years with FULL consent from the family. You do not have to agree to what doctors or social workers or even educators suggest!!!

      August 19, 2011 at 16:03 | Report abuse |
    • MarthaC

      @Adam The feelings you have could be due to long-term amphetamine use. When you stop the medication, you start having withdrawals....sad that parents basically turn their kids into speed addicts.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:12 | Report abuse |
    • Adnank

      As someone who has had ADHD since a young age I can say that yes, it is difficult to manage in school. Medication is not the answer, people with ADHD need to modify how we approach things. I have been off of medication for years now and I perform better in everything by using my own methods. They are tried and true: healthy diet, lots of cardio exercise, times where I just sit and listen to music without trying to do anything else. Using all of these techniques I have worked around ADHD better than any medication and its lasting side-effects could.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:14 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      USA – I agree COMPLETELY. My sister in law has had my 14 year old niece on meds for ADHD (and of course new things to come as she gets older!) since she was TWO. How do you diagnose a 2 year old? As you said, its kids being kids and a parent that wants them to be still. That being said, there are of course valid cases. But unfortunately there are a lot of invalid ones as well. Its absolutley disgusting when its lazy parenting – even worse – in this case – her mother just wants the attention from having a 'disabled' child. And the child now supposedly has social issues – guess what, Mom thinks she has aspergers! I think is horrendously insulting to people/children that have these issues validly and others just want attention. Nevermind no one knows the effects of the meds over such a long period of time.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:17 | Report abuse |
    • KAS

      I agree this is rediculous. The schools get more funding if they have a child diagnosed. So they hound the parents until they get them to cave we had that happen to us. Its ver distrubing. Its so easy to diagnose than to learn new ways to teach children....

      August 19, 2011 at 16:19 | Report abuse |
    • Annie

      I have to agree with you, kids now a days cannot be children, in school, they are examine and separated by this diagnosis. Teachers want our children to be little zombie drones without individualities. It is definitely a sad world when professionals have come together with this diagnosis and have created a stigma that is designed to alter the minds of our young children. My son was diagnos with this, out of fear for his well being and balance while in school I accepted it and placed him on meds. I finally realized that it wasn't this ADHD that was the problem but keeping children locked to a desk and chair with one hour of activity a day if that much five days a week, heck even I get the jitters when I am sitting all day and must get up and move around. Well thank God he is off of it, which is much better, he is more active, yes he still has difficulties in school but who doesn't have these things in life. I say let the kids be kids. Stop drugging them.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:22 | Report abuse |
    • healthcarsscam

      Its a money maker for many people. Some really do improve, about 10%. DSM V in May 2013 will make it easier to get kids on meds. Watch for a spike then. 3x lower ADHD is the Rate in Europe -KA CHING! GREEDY BASS TARDS IN USA – ALL ABOUT DA MONEY.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:24 | Report abuse |
    • corey

      Scene from a pharma conference room circa 1983::

      "So what can we do people to drive profits and really maximize our company's potential? Ideas! I need ideas. Yes, you Mitchell, what's your idea.

      "What if we convinced the world that a perfectly natural, yet very annoying stage of development was actually a condition or a disease? I've read about something called ADD, that a tiny fraction of the population legitimately has but the symptoms are practically identical to the behavior of a normal five year old being forced to sit still on a rug or behind a desk!"

      "You might have something there! Sure, most of the population would be reluctant to medicate their children, but eventually, over time, as society becomes more and more lazy through our corporate partners technology innovations – you should see this new thing their working on, they call it a 'sat phone,' it's going to make it possible for people to call anyone they want, from anywhere! – they might get sick of disciplining their child and turn to our drug to 'even them out,' eh? to, 'calm them down.' Mitchell, you're getting a raise!

      August 19, 2011 at 16:27 | Report abuse |
    • John

      It is extremely important to have a full battery of psychiatric tests to confirm a diagnosis of ADHD. I lay person reading a list of symptoms does not equate to a physician examination and the 4+ hours of psychological tests one undergoes to be properly diagnosed.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:32 | Report abuse |
    • gtalum06

      The symptoms themselves seem fairly common, in small amounts. What is important is to understand that the symptoms don't go away for those w/ ADHD, while for other children they come and go. Someone w/ ADHD literally cannot control their impulses or focus without help (therapy, medication, etc). My brother and I grew up as textbook cases...he was the hyper type, I was the inattentive type. I love my ADHD b/c once a I learned to harness the positives associated with it, it became a huge asset, despite the daily challenges I've dealt with in the past 2 decades. Can you imagine forgetting what you're doing while you're doing it every single day, as a kid, teen, and adult? Do you know what it's like to have to re-learn some of the most basic tasks over and over because retention is so difficult? On the flip side, ADHD people are awesome in high-pressure situations. I can do high-pressure tasks in half the time of my colleagues thanks to my hyperfocus!

      ADHD children (and adults) bounce between high and low emotions more extremely than others. Something that may seem frustrating to the average person could cause a bit of a mental "crash" in the ADHD person, triggering fits of anger, sadness, etc. Emotion control is very difficult.

      There's a lot more to ADHD than inattentiveness and hyperactivity, those are just the main labels associated with it. ADDitudemag.com is a good source for people who are actually interested in understanding the disorder/gift of ADHD. For those who think it's not a real disorder, I can understand your perspective. If I didn't experience it first hand, I wouldn't buy it either.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:34 | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      I couldn't agree more. We have become a quick fix, pop a pill society – thanks to the pharma companies who are brain washing the mass into thinking that dependency to durgs is the ultimate fix.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:36 | Report abuse |
    • Rodster

      I'm now in my 50's and my parents fixed my ADHD issues when I was 8 years old with a swift kick up the backside. Now parents go to jail for that.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:38 | Report abuse |
    • AH

      As a Pediatrician, I have dealt with this problem several times in my clinic. There are several things that need to be considered before thinking a kid has ADHD. First of all, making the diagnosis in any child below the age of 5 is erroneous, all children are pretty hyper and saying a kid has ADHD outside a school setting is next to impossible. As a Dr. I evaluate many things before even considering making this diagnosis. I look at the patient's diet, I look at their physical activity, do they play outside or spend all day playing video games or watching tv. It's also important to evaulate the patient's home environment. Determining the home environment is vital. We pediatricians stress following the 5-2-1-0 plan: 5 servings fruits/veggies per day, 2 hrs MAX of screen time (TV/video games/computers), at least 1 hour of physical exercise a day, and 0 sugary drinks. I also evalute their sleeping habits/tonsils. Surprisingly, many kids who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea due to large tonsils/adenoids or obesity are misdiagnosed with ADHD. Unlike in adults who go through the day tired, children who have OSA are commonly extremely hyperactive and inattentive in school due to their poor sleep hygiene. I also need Vanderbilt scores from teachers and parents before making the diagnosis. Sometimes (and I'm not making any generalizations of teachers in general), but overwhelmed teachers sometimes send me patients w/ the presumptive diagnosis of ADHD because of the hectic environment in their classrooms. This is a small part of how I evaluate patients for ADHD, and while I believe it's a valid diagnosis when made correctly, I do believe that it is being overdiagnosed/treated, and that it's vital to rule everything else out before starting children on stimulants.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:40 | Report abuse |
    • BigSlick

      Thank you Doctor.

      August 19, 2011 at 17:06 | Report abuse |
  2. Jim

    please read my post below.

    August 19, 2011 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Samuel R. Preston, III

    I only got through the first paragraph of this article; it's too long and I got distracted.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. lawlzabob

    co the companies can sell their pills

    August 19, 2011 at 16:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MarthaC

      Absolutely. Filling kids as young as 4 full of hard-core amphetamines. Sick...

      August 19, 2011 at 16:08 | Report abuse |
    • Jeanne

      amphetamines, namely adderall or it's equivalent, are generally reserved for older ADD/ADHD kids because the amphetamines are known to hinder growth in growing kids....my doctor and I discussed this when my daughter first went on it when she was 16....that had she been younger and still growing, she might have had to take something else(she's short to begin with, so she would not have been happy if it would have prevented her from growing!) I do not believe ritalin is restricted for younger users, but I have not researched it that much. There are also several non stimulants that are given to younger kids with ADD/ADHD.

      August 20, 2011 at 00:31 | Report abuse |
  5. maine

    Gee, shocking....educators pushing it. Being a parent of one of such children who does not have ADHD, I've had at least two teachers over the years tell me that I should have him tested. He wasn't out of line in school, just fidgety, evidently they didn't like it. He's a B- student. I refused. What a great job....talking to a bunch of zombies. Kids fidget.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. linda

    I live in southeast arkansas and the diagnosis of ADHD in children in one of the major sources of junkies obtaining adderal (may be mispelled) and other amphetemines. these people pass on how to get their kids diagnoses to their friends who in turn take them for a diagnosis creating a steady supply of legal drugs. most never even give their kid the pills.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Robert

      That is a crime that should be prosecuted. However, what bearing does it have on those who are diagnosed with ADHD and use legally prescribed stimulants, which work entirely differently in the ADHD brain than in the non-ADHD brain.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:35 | Report abuse |
    • ADD

      yeah you definitely spelled adderall wrong. you should probably take your adderall and then try again.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:39 | Report abuse |
    • linda

      I don't take it that's probably why i don't know how to spell it. I noticed you do. What it does have to do with this article is that the abusers getting false diagnosis' makes the stats all out of true porportion.

      August 19, 2011 at 17:08 | Report abuse |
  7. PEWP

    bold

    [b]bold[/b]

    August 19, 2011 at 16:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. andy

    You people rally against the use of drugs like Marijuana, and then fill your kids up with crap like this, that causes them to go murder people later , or walk around like a zombie. News flash: ADHD = being a kid. Symptoms can be stopped by parenting, telling your kid to chill out, slapping your kid upside the head, and growing a pair. Anyone allowing their developing child to ingest a bunch of Big-Pharma crap that they haven't even tested properly should have their kids taken away.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nah

      andy: "You people rally against the use of drugs like Marijuana, and then fill your kids up with crap like this, that causes them to go murder people later , or walk around like a zombie."

      You're not too bright, eh?

      Marijuana is illegal because of the deleterious effects it has on the brain. That's right, marijuana is 50% more carcinogenic than tobacco, causes the loss of memory and, as a new study from the CDC showed, can cause the early onset of psychosis in people predisposed to becoming so.

      Ritalan, on the other hand, helps kids with severe hyperactivity focus, calm down and control their impulses. One of the side effects and benefits of this is that the impulse control centers of their brains actually develop to a normal size.

      "Anyone allowing their developing child to ingest a bunch of Big-Pharma crap that they haven't even tested properly should have their kids taken away."

      Ah, right. They haven't tested it. Ever. Minus those decades of studies by doctors and psychologists, right?

      August 19, 2011 at 16:11 | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      Before your response focuses on the typo rather than the substance: Ritalin**

      August 19, 2011 at 16:14 | Report abuse |
    • MarthaC

      @Nah So Schedule II Controlled Medications that are basically legal amphetamine ("speed") is less addictive than marijuana? Having small children addicted to speed is okay, but adults smoking marijuana is not. Crazy...

      August 19, 2011 at 16:16 | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      I have never heard of a school shooting or a killing rampage by an ADHD individual while under the influence of Ritalin, Adderall, Strattera, Vyvanse or any of the other ADHD medications. So where is all this crazed ADHD murdering taking place?

      August 19, 2011 at 16:33 | Report abuse |
    • Mama of one

      Bull! I did everything I could to avoid putting my son on meds, including completely changing his diet and everything else they tell u's to do. I was tired of hearing he was lazy and stupid and even having blame put on me for something he couldn't control. Now that he is on medication, only used as a last resort, his grades have improved and he is no longer having issues with his teachers and the schools admins. No one WANTS to put their kids on this crap! I would do anything to get him off! But this is better than him hearing something is wrong with him and hearing that he wasn't trying when he was putting in 3 times the effort of the average kid. Get off your high horse and stop blaming everyone else for the problem, because that solves sooooooo much.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:50 | Report abuse |
  9. Nah

    john: "Numbers are rising because we have made up diseases where none exists and the establishment can profit from it. The formula is pretty standard: do some studies, get some "reliable" scientists to back up the results and start the campaign of misinformation."

    It's cute how your entire rebuttal of ADHD diagnoses centers on your unsupported assertion that drug companies are evil and must only "want" ADHD to exist so they can sell medicine.

    Unfortunately for you, people with ADHD usually have underdeveloped impulse control; something that can readily be seen in brain scans. In fact, with drugs like Ritalin, kids with ADHD generally develop the impulse control centers of their brains because they're calmed down enough to actually do work.

    "Show me an ADHD person and I will show you a quick thinker and multi-tasker. Drugging them is convenient for those that can not deal with diversity and want to streamline us all."

    Not always. Many kids with ADHD multi-task and yet get nothing done. Why? Because they're perpetually distracted, doing many things, but doing none of them well.

    Over medicating kids with ADHD is a problem. Making them into zombies, or reducing their energy so they're unsocial, is detrimental. However, that doesn't mean the medication that helps prevent them from bouncing off the walls is, therefore, bad.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. andy

    Oh yeah, your kid is fidgety? Gee... I bet that has nothing to do with the 32 ounces of syrup he just drank from 7-11 or the 18 pixie sticks he just chugged, or the bag of skittles he had for breakfast? He should just sip his double expresso Carmel Machiato like the other nice students and sit still. Funny 20, 30 years ago there wasn't such a problem with fidgety kids.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nah

      andy: "Gee... I bet that has nothing to do with the 32 ounces of syrup he just drank from 7-11 or the 18 pixie sticks he just chugged, or the bag of skittles he had for breakfast?"

      Nice strawman.

      How about the children with ADHD who don't have sugar for breakfast, candy for lunch, and ice cream for dinner?

      You're failing hard, andy. Time to give it up.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:13 | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Hmmmmm it was a problem for me 50 years ago when I was a child in elementary school. Did it go away for awhile and come back?

      August 19, 2011 at 16:31 | Report abuse |
  11. Jon

    I am a 29 year old man who was "diagnosed" with ADHD when I was in college, and to be honest, it's kind of a joke. It is pitifully easy to get a prescription if that is what you are looking for (although I did not go in looking for this, it was reccomended).
    And while I saw benefits from amphetamine prescriptions, there isn't a single person in the world who, if they were given a prescription for Ritalin/Adderal/Dexedrine, wouldn't see some sort of benefit. Why do you think the use runs rampant on college campuses? They are performance enhancers for your brain, no two ways about it. To be honest, I don't really like the classification of ADHD as a "disorder", it is just a difference. Certain people's brains work differently than others. While I know people who can hyperfocus to the point of not responding when spoken directly to, I on the other hand hear and remember every conversation happening around me all day. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, it is just different.
    I truly feel we should start being a little more careful about how and when we choose to medicate these differences. Having taken Ritalin and/or Adderol for several years on a regular basis, when I finished grad school, I decided that I didn't want to take it anymore, I hated the downswings in energy and mood when it started to wear off, and I didn't like the person it made me into in these cases.
    My advice to anyone, especially in regards to giving this to children, is to really take a look at other options before going down this road. These drugs are exactly that, seriously powerful drugs, that to be honest, are not all that different from methamphetamine and cocaine. If you are thinking about giving this to your child, please, please, try it yourself first, and then think about whether this is something you want to be giving them on a daily basis.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jon

      Just to clarify, I am not against these drugs in principle, they can be very helpful, and in fact I would support them being available to the general public with the same restrictions as alcohol. If you want to take them as an adult, go for it, it's your body and your mind.
      I just feel like you need to have some level of self awareness about how your particular mind works before you should be given the opportunity to choose to use them. Children clearly do not have this capability, and most children are going to behave differently when given amphetamines regardless of what they are like beforehand.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:33 | Report abuse |
    • PFischer

      This is absolutely ridiculous. If one of your children needed a blood transfusion you wouldn't "try it first". Why would you suggest that a parent take Ritalin or another medication without having ADD/ADHD? How would you even know if it was working since it would affect your brain (as a parent) completely differently than your child's? In fact, one medication would affect one child (or adult for that matter) with ADD/ADHD completely different than another.

      I am a 40 year old man who was just diagnosed with ADD within the past two years and it has changed my life. I have no doubt I had it as a child but was not the "typical" child who was wild and off the wall. The amount of difference that understanding that I was not "stupid" or simply "forgetful", and understanding that my focus could be improved through medication (VERY low doses) and other things is astounding.

      Having said that, I find that ADD is extremly over-diagnosed and also VERY under-diagnosed. It is true that these days any kid who has the slightest problem focusing or sitting still is told that he/she may have ADD. On the other hand if anyone had made a proper diagnosis when I was young it would have changed my life.

      It pains me when I read so many comments from people who are completely iggnorant about ADD/ADHD and what it actually is and isn't. This is part of the problem and unless you have actually done your research and understand, please don't make gross generalizations.

      Sorry, this is not simply directed at you, but in general, it makes me so angry and frustrated when people claim to understand all there is to know and say that ADHD is just a joke when I know how much my own life has changed and know there are hundreds of thousands of others out there who could be helped as well if they just had the proper people making the right diagnosis, whether that is telling them that they did, in fact, have ADHD, or that no, this is not what it is.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:36 | Report abuse |
    • Scottie

      Agreed. "Oh my kid does better in school when he is on his medications". I am a physician and all of MY test scores would have been better if I were on speed (Ritalin). This actually makes for a very uneven playing field when you have children on stimulant medications competing with kids who are not. And yes, when I was in college in the 90's Ritalin was the hot commodity being sold on the streets during finals week.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:49 | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      @PFisher, Here's the problem with your argument, there is no way to definitively diagnose ADHD and anybody who tells you otherwise has ulterior motives. Not to mention it is not simply a "yes" or "no" question, it is a spectrum disorder, with all kinds of shades of grey.
      I'm really happy for you that you have found something that seems to work for you now, and all the power to you, but there is no guarantee that had it been given to you as a child that your life would be appreciably different, in fact you even state above that "it affects children and adults differently". Which, by the way, is bull. The fact is, it affects every individual brain differently, whether you are an adult or a child, that that still has no relevance on whether people should be giving their children hard stimulants to meet some arbitrary notion of what normal is. Not everybody fits into the square hole, its just a fact.

      In addition, comparing this to needing a blood transfusion is ridiculous. One is a near-term life-threatening situation, and the other is a long-term quality of life question.
      Do you know what they used to do for finicky babies who wouldn't sleep? Dose them with opiate containing tinctures! Until one day someone realized that perhaps that wasn't the best idea, even though it had the intended effect. My point is, although you have found relief from taking amphetamines, and many parents "see" the effect in their kids, that doesn't change the fact that these are very very powerful drugs, and the thought of them being dolled out to a 2-year old is frightening to me, someone who also saw the benefits as an adult.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:52 | Report abuse |
  12. angryasian

    Oh and let's not try to blame "lazy" teachers. It's not their job to raise your kids.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Liz

      That is correct, it is not the teacher's job to raise our children. It is their job to teach them. And they can't teach them effectively without the proper tools and understanding of any neurological disorders our children may have, including ADHD. It is our job as parents to take our observations of our child, combined with the teacher's observations, synthesize all of this and bring it to an expert who specializes in the area so they can provide direction as to the best way to help our children learn. Whether through behavior therapy or, in some cases, medication. My son is not yet on medication...we want to wait until he has begun elementary school to pinpoint how his disorder is affecting his learning. But you are sticking your head in the sand if you think that teachers are not impacted by this, and that they don't need to understand it.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:22 | Report abuse |
  13. Narmuriel

    "The percentage of children with the condition rose from 7% in 1998-2000 to 9% in 2007-2009, for both boys and girls. In some areas of the United States those figures are even higher. From 1998 to 2009, ADHD prevalence increased 10% in the Midwest and South."

    And in other news....Profits at the nations biggest pharmecutical companies rose 7% in 1998-2000, and 9% in 2007 to 2009.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Tooj

    This is hilarious to read. There is only 1 catalyst for the number of ADHD diagnoses increasing and I was under the impression it was pretty obvious by now. The reason for this is the fact that it is so easy for anyone, mainly college students, to claim they can't focus or some kind of symptom of ADHD and get written a prescription for Adderall / Vivance / Generic Brand. College kids use it like it's candy these days, and the reason for that is IT WORKS. It is amazing how focused people are on the drug and how ready college kids are to study/focus on their work when they take a dose. They just need to make it legal because it's already as accessable on the street as Marijuana but holds far worse charges because it's an amphetamine. Maybe if everyone used it, we would be able to find a real solution to our financial issues?

    August 19, 2011 at 16:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Dan

    I've suffered from ADHD since I was very young. And yes, I did intend to use the word suffered. I was only diagnosed after pretty exhaustive testing by my pediatrician. After recently going back on medication at age 32, its had a *huge* impact on my life. I'm no longer on the verge of getting fired for my inability to focus or control what I say.

    However, I would have to say that most people who have "ADD/ADHD" don't have it at all. A lot of kids who are very active are slapped with the label and medicated when they don't really need to be.

    Fearing that for my own son, who at only 3.5 was already a handful my wife and I decided to do some a lot of research. What surprised me was that food allergies can mask themselves as behavioral problems. With one of the biggest culprit being food dyes. We removed food dyes from his diet and he is a completely different kid. He's no longer bouncing off the walls, a lot less impulsive, etc. In short, he's a real joy to be around now.

    All of this to say before you drug your kids, try an elimination diet.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. ADHD is not a disease

    Sorry, but tried Adderall and I really did not like the narrowing of my ability to think.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dave

      ADHD is the ability to detect boring teachers.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:30 | Report abuse |
  17. ADHD is not a disease

    ADHD = multicore with hyperthreadig. No ADHD = single core/single threaded.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. ADHD is not a disease

    ADHD = broadband, No ADHD = dialup.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. TheLeftCoast

    UCSF's Osher Center for Integrative Medicine has a great pediatric doctor for ADHD, Autism, etc. ~ Dr. Sanford Newmark.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. BCA

    I, along with every other kid I knew, was diagnosed with "ADD/ADHD" back in middle school. Either there's an epidemic or people have not a single clue as to how kids are supposed to act.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. SDC

    As a 23 year old with ADD I can say that I would not be where I am today without the professionals the diagnosed me and the medicine that treated me. I started out high school i was unable to get over a 2.5 GPA, despite the most dedicated parented and school faculty. Doing any work was a battle both in terms of attention span and knowledge recall. I was put on a medicine and counseling regimen, brought my GPA up to class leading levels and got into a top 10 university. The medicine certainly did not turn me into a "zombie" as was the captain of my football team and an all around very social person. I now work a great business job, a position that I was able to get to thanks to the attentiveness of academic and psychological professionals early on in my academic career.

    It always bugged me in college that people viewed Adderall as a "performance enhancing drug" and that I am nothing special since everyone hates studying and has trouble focusing. Only other people who have ADD can understand the internal battle that must go on to accomplish anything productive without the support of corrective medicine.

    With that said, I do agree with some peoples statements that it is far to easy to get an ADD medicine prescription. Many classmates in college were able to get Adderall that they would only need during exam week when they have to study all night. There needs to be better control without limiting the access to those who have gone through the proper psychological testing, beyond the simple qualitative questioning that is quite easy to fix.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. cindy

    i'm a 53 year old female who was diagnosed somewhere between ages 3 and 5 with what was then known as "hyper-kinesis". my parents were told about medication (they don't remember the name, but it likely was ritalin) and decided there was not enough information out there long term for an educated choice on medicating me. therefore, i grew up unmedicated with all the associated issues of an add child: impulsivity, impetuosity, lack of focus, speaking out of turn, mind racing to answer the unasked question. you guys know the drill.

    i recently went back to school to earn a 2nd bachelor's degree. i was totally able to focus and was earning a 3.8 gpa (even with the distraction of checking facebook, cnn.com, email multiple times an hour), when lo and behold, all those add issues i have managed to somewhat work around (not always successfully) came to a fore. my college kicked me out last month, citing my add issues. however, instead of allowing me the opportunity to explore therapy or medication, then reevaluate, they said those things were needed and goodbye.

    so, why am i relating this? because, as an adult with add, it's only just started in the last couple of years to be well explored the relationship between add/adults/medication/behaviour therapy. NO ONE at my school EVER told me i needed accommodation, even though every single instructor was personally told i had add. no one in my elementary years knew how to handle me (i spent way too much time in the corner, out in the hall or in the principal's office); no one in my middle school or high school years took me, or my parents, aside to recommend therapy or medication, let alone accommodation. no one at my first college did that. hence, i have lived my life doing the best i have been capable of doing. and now, all these years later, it's biting me on the ass.

    i grew up in a very strict household. minimal tv, controlled by the parents (kids didn't have tv's in their rooms). no video games. no x-box. we played outside till we were tired. mom didn't work, so was home, parenting. dad was a teacher and worked 2 jobs to keep food on the table. that food, with few exceptions, was always prepared at home, fresh. we had the egg guy, milk man, charlie chips guy, bread guy, butcher... all come to the house weekly for fresh deliveries. no hormones in our food.

    for those naysayers out there, it's NOT just today's culture. as for my schooling, what am i going to do? i guess i have to try again somewhere else, if they'll take me... plus now i have to have a discussion with my pcp regarding medication- something i'm not 100% fond of doing.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. corey

    Scene from a pharma conference room circa 1983::

    "So what can we do people to drive profits and really maximize our company's potential? Ideas! I need ideas. Yes, you Mitchell, what's your idea.

    "What if we convinced the world that a perfectly natural, yet very annoying stage of development was actually a condition or a disease? I've read about something called ADD, that a tiny fraction of the population legitimately has but the symptoms are practically identical to the behavior of a normal five year old being forced to sit still on a rug or behind a desk!"

    "You might have something there! Sure, most of the population would be reluctant to medicate their children, but eventually, over time, as society becomes more and more lazy through our corporate partners technology innovations – you should see this new thing their working on, they call it a 'sat phone,' it's going to make it possible for people to call anyone they want, from anywhere! – they might get sick of disciplining their child and turn to our drug to 'even them out,' eh? to, 'calm them down.' Mitchell, you're getting a raise!

    August 19, 2011 at 16:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe

      Oh Corey, you're so clever to come up with an original idea as to how ADHD came about. I bet you've experienced it or devoted most of you life to studying it, and know everything there is to possibly know to come up with such a creative explanation as to how a disorder recognized and studied for over 100 years came to be one day in a board room in 1983.

      In fact, that board room company must have stumbled upon some really creative thinking indeed to develop drugs to treat this fake disorder that have been in use since the 1940's. Really awesome of them to stay on top of things by being only 43 years behind on coming up with a treatment.

      August 20, 2011 at 00:14 | Report abuse |
  24. Dave

    ADHD is on the rise because lazy parents who want to drug their kids is also on the rise; the trends likely parallel each other in numbers.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Larry

    Are there really kids with ADHD? Yes.
    Unfortunately, too many parents would rather get a diagnosis of ADHD then medicate the little darling into a compliant zombie rather than actually having to.... *gasp* ... be a parent and provide discipline. They'd rather use medication and let the Internet, TV, and video games do the parenting.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BigDogMom

      What about the children (like my daughter) who have a diagnosis of ADD, and yet function well without medication? It's a hell of a job to help her succeed in school and with relationships. She's markedly different from her peers, and it is obvious to anyone who watches them together. We make it work with interventions like frequent motion breaks (getting up to sharpen her pencil, bathroom breaks, etc,) fidgets, peer mentors, extra time by herself to finish work in school, therapy, twenty times the discipline (positive) we have to use for her siblings, daily communicaton with her teacher, lots of sports and exercise, no sugar or color additives in her diet, and a great deal of flexibility and patience. We are extremely proud of her as a B student with lots of friends, a happy smile, and several athletic records now. If you think all that effort means we are lazy parents because our daughter has a diagnosis, well, I really would invie you to try it for a day! It's exhausting. Wouldn't change it for anything, our daughter is as perfect as can be as herself – but really it's no walk in the park.

      August 19, 2011 at 17:26 | Report abuse |
  26. ADHD is not a disease

    I prefer to go without "treatment" for my "disease". I am now serving in the military as an intelligence analyst.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Kate125

    Ugh...Another forum for uniformed people to bash and judge parents whose kids have been diagnosed with ADHD. I am one of those parents, and I implore the doubters to please spend some time in the home of a family whose child has an ADHD diagnosis. If it’s a legit case of ADHD, I assure you that your opinion about “overdiganosis” and "poor parenting" will change.

    My husband and I were blindsided by the traits my oldest son started displaying as he became 3 and 4 years old - impulsivity, hyperactivity, aggression, distractibility – everything you strive for your child not to be! By the time he entered kindergarten, this could no longer be ignored or written off as “typical kid behavior. “ Believe me, if your kid has ADHD, the behaviors they are displaying are NOT typical kid behaviors. Your kid is the OUTLIER, and you would be an irresponsible parent not to pursue an explanation. We were/are not lazy parents; in fact, I'd say we are some of the hardest working parents because managing a kid with neurological differences is no picnic. The brain of an ADHD child matures slower than their same-age peers (proven by EEG studies). That’s a frustrating reality for a parent hoping to see their kid move to greater independence as they get older. Our child was evaluated by his school and a private neuropsychologist and they independently came to the same conclusion about ADHD. He went to a therapist twice a week and still goes once a week. Medication for him has been a miracle. In first grade he required a full-time aide in school (with budgets what they are these days, you know that schools don’t assign aides for non-legit diagnoses). On medication he doesn’t require an aide; he does his work, doesn’t interrupt in class, can make friends (because he isn’t driving kids nuts with annoying/ impulsive behaviors), and feels good about himself. What kind of parent would I be to deny him this right to succeed?
    To blame an ADHD diagnosis on lax parenting or think that it’s because of reasons like my kid “doesn’t spend enough time outside” is absurd. My husband and I are earnest, dedicated parents who followed all the conventional wisdom about discipline, routine, consistency, etc. We found out, like others do, that the parenting lottery isn’t fair – we don’t all get the same blank slate. Some kids are easy to raise, others present complex challenges, and there are many in between. That's life. But I will do everything I can so my child isn't at a disadvantage...even if that means getting him a legit diagnosis that others feel the need to doubt.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jay's Mom

      Thank's for saying this, Kate. Too many misinformed folks think that ADHD is simply a cop-out for children who lack guidance and discipline because they have irresponsible, overindulgent, lazy parents, and all the kid really needs is a good beating (I've had more than one so-called education professionals suggest this to me). It used to bother me that some people think this way, but since having my son diagnosed, I realize just how real it is and could care less what others think. My son's teacher wasn't a big believer in it either (preferring to think he was just "bad") until she saw how differently he behaved after being prescriped Ritalin. She actually called to apologize, and to thank me for getting thim the help that he'd so obviously needed. I guess it's hard to convince the general public that this disorder is real if even education professionals don't believe it is.

      August 19, 2011 at 16:59 | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Ugh. Another creepy person who implores others to believe their kid is so different, so awful, when compared to "normal" children. Anyone who spends the entire subject of their post, a whole paragraph dedicated to how bad it is FOR THE PARENT, is obviously speaking from and operating primarily with that self-serving, selfish point of view in mind. You are lazy; for putting your own issues with your child before your child's personal best interests. Now, you'll spend his/her entire childhood teaching them how "different" they are from the other kids – which will be perceived as being lesser, no matter how you try to sugar coat it. You know, it's not the kid being different that actually ends up causing them self-esteem issues. When removed from all the negative stereotyping YOU are heaping upon them, they will grow to love their "differences" (lightning-quick, problem-solving mind and an endless fountain of creativity), instead of the reflexive self-loathing instilled by constant harping and reminding of how much they bother you. Think about how you are raising your child to think of themselves and really how much of that is YOUR problem, and not theirs. Non-judgmental, understanding parents who provide love, food, shelter, and a future, will make a real difference; whereas putting your child on drugs will teach them a lifetime of using chemicals to cope with a problem they don't really have made up by parents who really were too lazy – and a society that wants their money more than truth in a diagnosis. If you continue to push your kids into thinking they are so different and that drugs are the answer, then pretty soon they'll be experimenting with drugs you hadn't ever thought about. This is a slippery slope you willingly place your kids on and hope they won't slide down it. Grow up, stop complaining about how hard it is to be a parent of an ADHD kid, and if you really ARE a good parent you will make the sacrifices it takes to raise them well. Good behavior that is trained and instilled through GOOD PARENTING will outlast the mask of good behavior you get from sedation through drugs.

      August 19, 2011 at 20:53 | Report abuse |
    • Kate125

      Oh, Dave. You're so naive, so judgmental, and so wrong. I can't speak for all parents of kids with ADHD, but my child doesn't even know the term ADHD. I don't tell him he's different or that he has a disorder; as far as he knows, all kids see a "feelings doctor" once a week. We don't use ADHD as an excuse for anything. And as for calling me a lazy and selfish parent, hmmm....let me see. We don't own a tv. My kids have never played a video game. Despite having a master's degree from a top business school, I stay home to raise my 3 boys, and I can tell you it's a harder job than the management consulting work I did before. My boys eat a model diet and they're outside every day, even in the winter. My husband and I spend virtually all of our free time with our kids. Tell me – do WE sound like the lazy, self-indulgent parents you accuse us of being? Does our parenting sound like the type that would produce outlier behavior in a child? I have neighbors whose kids have had TVs in their bedrooms since they were toddlers. I know parents who take any opportunity to get a sitter and get away from their kids. There are parents in my community who I see drunk at parties regularly, and I can't even imagine trying to care for your kids the next day with a hangover. If your theory is correct, then wouldn't you expect their parenting to produce poorly behaved kids? Maybe you don't have the life experience or maturity (irrespective of your chron. age) to know that everything in life can't be easily explained by your narrow point of view.

      August 20, 2011 at 00:20 | Report abuse |
    • Kate125

      And by the way...research shows that ADHD kids who take meds are LESS LIKELY to abuse drugs later in life: http://archives.drugabuse.gov/NIDA_Notes/NNVol18N1/Researchers.html

      August 20, 2011 at 00:25 | Report abuse |
    • whatignorantpeople

      Dave – You suck and you are completey wrong! It's better if you just don't speak!

      August 20, 2011 at 04:49 | Report abuse |
  28. Chris

    I am definitely in the camp that believes ADHD is an imaginary condition that was previously known as "overstimulated kids full of sugar" and "bad parents who think they are excellent parents". The same goes for Aspergers, or "clumsy, socially inept teenager". Lets ban drug companies from doing any kind of advertising at all, and see how diagnoses change in the following years.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe

      That's great for you to stick up for you beliefs Chris, but I'm sorry that it still makes you ignorant at best and probably something much worse.

      ADHD has been actively researched for over 100 years, and is an actual neurological development disorder that results in the inability to self-regulate the impulses that result from emotional stimulation. People are misdiagnosed with ADHD just like anything else because their are bad doctors out there. However, that does not discount the fact that ADHD is a real disorder with proven methods of testing and treatment.

      August 20, 2011 at 00:07 | Report abuse |
  29. Panderson

    My eldest child was diagnosed as ADHD when he was 6 and given meds. Luckily one of the Special Education teachers at the school I worked at asked if I would allow him to test his IQ. Several days later his scores reflected him as being "very superior". Thank goodness for this teacher who recognized that my child could be a gifted student and just bored with what was being taught in class. My son is currently an excellent student who thrives with teachers who challenge him!

    August 19, 2011 at 16:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jeanne

      it wasn't long ago that they separated ADD/ADHD and intelligent, bored kids as two separate groups....saying it's hard to tell sometimes which is the case because the characteristics are so similar....guess what? most ADD/ADHD kids are very intelligent with gifted to genius IQ's...the lines are blurring. Maybe for your kid, it was enough to know that he was smart and place those expectations on him...but for some kids, it's not enough...some need to fix that chemical imbalance in the brain in order to focus. I was one of those that went through that when I was a kid. Was put in the remedial classes..the slow groups etc....which made things worse because I really was bored, even at the normal levels...so dropping me made it worse. I was bored because I didn't have to repeat the same grammar exercises 20 times...I figured things out after 1-2 times...I'm still ADD...and I have spent years feeling bad because I didn't live up to my potential(IQ) in life....and now, knowing why and getting treatment, I can let go of much of that guilt and move forward rather than continuing to spin my wheels!

      August 20, 2011 at 00:52 | Report abuse |
  30. BuckWild

    The South Park episode regarding ADHD is hilarious! Every kid I knew growing up that was diagnosed with this had no parental supervision or very little.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. sepultura13

    Prescribing a pill for anything and everything under the sun has been going on ever since the pharmaceutical companies and the healthcare industry began scratching each other's backs. Kickbacks, payoffs, and free 'samples' to physicians...it's all about money; absolutely nothing to do with quality health care for the average American citizen.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. gtalum06

    It is true that children have been previously over-diagnosed with having ADHD. It's sad because as a result, the quality of care is not as good as it should be for those who legitimately have ADHD. There are a lot of resources out there. I wish parents would take the time to read before suggesting their child needs ADHD meds. My mother was a school counselor, so she had my brother and I professionally assessed b/c we were (and still are) textbook cases.

    Having had ADHD for over 2 decades, I have been on different medications and tried therapy as well. Therapy and exercise are a great remedy, but for some folks who have the common co-morbid conditions (depression, anxiety, OCD, etc), medication is more necessary simply to control the emotional side of the disease. People need to be a little less quick to judge ADHD diagnoses and either do research or keep their mouths shut. Yes, there are over-diagnosed ADHD cases, but there are also plenty of legitimate cases. Don't group us all together.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Mama of one

    This is not about better awareness. Why are all of these childhood diseases such as Autism and ADHD on the rise. Why aren't they trying to figure out why this is happening? We need to wake up and try to figure this out before things get worse.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • gtalum06

      I'm willing to bet the occurrence of the diseases aren't legitimately on the rise. There is a large amount of over-diagnosis being done on one hand, and on the other hand, a lot of cases went undiagnosed for years. For example, nobody knew what ADHD was in the 1930s, but there were undoubtedly people who struggled daily with it...they were likely labeled as the class nuisance, class clown, or just assumed to be unintelligent.

      Though, I wouldn't be surprised if they proved some sort of correlation between the amount of preservatives in our diets these days and the occurrence of diseases like ADHD. For the most part, though, it's a genetic issue, like many other mental disorders. My mom was diagnosed as an adult; ironically, it happened when she took my brother and me to be tested by professionals. :)

      August 19, 2011 at 16:49 | Report abuse |
    • Brenda

      Autism is on the rise because no one is diagnosed as Mentally Retarted anymore. Sadly, retarded mentally is the definition of autistic kids.

      And please spare me the "my kid is a blessing" posts. Talk to the ones who have "autistic" kids who urinate in their pants in their teens and/or scream and moan and bellow. They're not a "blessing." They're Mentally Retarded. Ie: not as mentally developed as society expects.

      August 19, 2011 at 21:39 | Report abuse |
  34. OvernOut

    We're having to fight to get our soon-to-be college freshman included as a student with a disability (she has epilepsy, controlled well enough that she can attend classes and live on campus). The office for students with disabilities seems to be oriented to students with ADHD. Maybe they're short of funding due to the "run" on ADHD students. Anybody else experience this situation?

    August 19, 2011 at 16:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Jay's Mom

    My son is 9 and was diagnosed this year. He now takes a very low dose of Ritalin 3 times daily, but prior to getting his prescription, he was in danger of failing the 4th grade and being retained because he could not sit still in class, was completely disorganized with his materials, and couldn't complete tests or homework assignments (or in some cases, did the homework and lost it between home and school). His teacher was at her wits end and was at the point of giving up on trying to help him because she felt he wasn't trying to help himself, and his guidance counselor was at a loss for what else to do; it was obvious that he was bright but he seemed to have no self-control. After he began taking his meds, he was able to sit still and focus long enough to be able to complete assignments, he had a a much better relationship with his teachers and peers, and his grades improved remarkably. He went from a D in English to an A and became one of the best writers in his class, and was promoted to a writing-intensive 5th grade class which he begins in September. I originally was completely against him being medicated–I did not want my baby to become a zoned-out speed freak–but after researching ADHD meds and speaking with his psychologist (who incidentally also has ADD), I realized that this could be something that could help him, and it has. Dramatically. His quality of life is 100% better. He is not a perfect child. He's still fidgety and energetic, his room is still a mess, and he usuallly has to be told something at least twice before it gets done, but he's also not a doped up zombie. I guess my point is that I love my son, I got a medical diagnoses for him that has made him a happier indivdual, and I'm glad I did what was best for my child despite my reservations.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Get your facts straight

    Please understand that ADHD is a condition with specific diagnostic criteria. Just because somebody (not trained to diagnose ADHD) says "my child has ADHD" does not mean anything, or because a child is hyperactive, etc, etc.

    Treatment is symptomatic and targeted specifically for each case, i.e. what works for some may not work for others. Also, ADHD has multiple etiologies and different presentation depending on each case which makes it difficult to treat at times.

    In addition, the fact that someone is diagnosed with ADHD does not mean that such person is delayed.

    Anyway, I advise all of you to read all the available scientific, empiric literature instead of what the media says about ADHD.
    And if you don't believe in conventional medicine or treatments, then go with whatever you think is best. No trying to change anyone's mind, just want everyone to be informed.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • gtalum06

      Amen! Well said!

      August 19, 2011 at 16:51 | Report abuse |
  37. QS

    "Debbie also made sure to listen to her son. In the sixth grade, he told her he wanted to stop taking his stimulant medication. Despite serious misgivings, she agreed to let him stop — and he did fine. Michael’s busy schedule of practices and meets imposed so much structure on his life that he was able to stay focused without medication."

    Michael Phelps is where he is today because of his mother and himself. Obviously this won't be the exact result for every child with ADHD, but it's proof positive that medication alone is not the answer. Structure and discipline coupled with love and patience are ultimately greater medicines than a pill....that, and a WHOLE lot of physical activity to work off all the excess energy that kids with ADHD have in abundance.

    I was never diagnosed myself, but in the days when I was a kid I don't even think it existed. I was a very hyper kid with lots of energy and would jump from one thing to the next with no hesitation. I could very well have been one of those kids whose parents would have tried to keep medicated, but growing up in Alaska afforded me the biggest playground you could ask for and it kept me busy enough to stay focused on other things well enough....like swimming did for Michael.

    My parents got me started doing karate as well, the structure and preciseness required intrigued me and fit my desire to make things as neat and orderly as possible almost perfectly.

    My point is that not every kid that is even properly diagnosed with ADHD needs to take medication, or at least may not need to keep taking it for years and years after childhood. Of course the more severe cases would be different, but that's why it's so important to continue researching this "condition" (I refuse to call it an illness), so that we can try to determine better the factors that lead to, cause and lessen the negative impact of it.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jon

      Exactly right

      August 19, 2011 at 17:00 | Report abuse |
    • Jeanne

      I agree that 'disorder', 'illness' 'disease' etc are all inappropriate...I would suggest the term 'brain difference', because given a different environment, the ADD/ADHD person might be the norm...but in current society, they are out of step with the structure of deadlines, supply and demand, stimulus/response, lead/follow, and conformist society.

      August 20, 2011 at 11:02 | Report abuse |
  38. Barry Dingle

    I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. I also had an above average IQ. I had a lot in trouble in school but not because of the curriculum. What I have learned over the years is that the US education system is intolerant of children who are not drones and most teachers do not like to be challenged by a student. In addition, when doctors get kickbacks and vacation conferences paid for by big pharmaceutical companies, they will diagnose whatever gets them paid. By now, I am very successful despite not graduating from college. I am highly skeptical of doctors and teachers who are so willing to push drugs on children, especially highly addictive narcotic amphetamines.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Mary Jo P

    ADHD is a neurological problem not a mental problem as stated in this article....

    August 19, 2011 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. KP

    Ridiculous to hear all these comments that ADHD is made up just for schools to get money or to calm your child.
    I have been diagnosed with ADHD since I was 7 and I am now 24. I have grown out of many of the ADHD tendencies, but I have a VERY DIFFICULT time studying for my classes and without my medicine I would fail all my classes. Stop all this BS about it being fake, just because its not a "life threatening" disease doesnt mean it is made up

    August 19, 2011 at 16:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kashi

      Kp, no one here is saying that ALL children on adhd meds are misdiagnosed. There surely are many cases where meds are a necessary venue. But these cases seem to be becoming more the exception than the rule. Its amazing how many kids i personally have met who are medicated thqt really dont need meds but rqther a more structured environment with a solid set of rules to follow.

      August 19, 2011 at 17:01 | Report abuse |
    • bh_is_bs

      Kashi, yes, plenty of people are saying that no one has ADHD. Many are blaming the parents, schools, pharm companies and anyone they can.

      August 19, 2011 at 18:21 | Report abuse |
  41. chris

    AADHD is real! If you don't know anything about the disorder it is easy to just dismiss it as some new-fangled excuse for bad parenting, but somehow that pesky science gets in the way.

    I for one am not a fan of medication as treatment, (I have found that Loads of exercise, gingko billoba, Flax seed oil, Vitamin B complex and a healthy organic/non-processed diet do wonders for my ADHD) but to discredit the disorder without ANY knowledge is just STUPID.

    ADHD has always been with us and is more common in The USA than other countries partially due to the fact that only people who would take giant risks (a major sign of ADHD) are the ones who came to our shores and set up shop with their gene pool. Many scholars believe that a few of America's founding fathers may have had ADHD as well.

    Now one reason for the new influx has been written about quite extensively:

    THERE IS A DIRECT CORROLATION BETEEN ADHD and PESTICEDES!!!

    The team analyzed the levels of pesticide residue in the urine of more than 1,100 children ages 8 to 15 and found that those with the highest levels of dialkyl phosphates, which are the breakdown products of organophosphate pesticides, had the highest incidence of ADHD. Overall, they found a 35% increase in the odds of developing ADHD with every tenfold increase in urinary concentration of the pesticide residue. The effect was seen even at the low end of exposure: kids who had any detectable, above-average level of the most common pesticide metabolite in their urine were twice as likely as those with undetectable levels to record symptoms of the learning disorder.

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1989564,00.html#ixzz1VVb7VXSJ

    August 19, 2011 at 16:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • stephgob

      Well said.

      Also, it sounds like you use the same combo of supplements as I do for your ADHD... another good one I've discovered recently is 5-HTP, it's been great.

      Those who choose to go w/ traditional medications are free to do so, but in my own experience, I suggest letting patients w/ ADHD take meds on an as-needed basis (rather than extended release)... I did that when I was in school, and it was great b/c I didn't feel like a medicated drone, but I had the medication when I really needed help focusing beyond what my supplements could do.

      August 19, 2011 at 17:04 | Report abuse |
  42. TERROR ALARM

    YES , WE CAN...YES , WE CAN(FISH CAN & TENT CITY USA)...WE WILL WIN IN WAR ON TERROR (30 whities or what are terrorists will never come back alive...thank you lord....aaamen).

    ARIZONA = UTOYA = GOVERNMENT‘S "AFTERLIFE" FLASH MOB AND 911(twin towers) = OSLO BOMBING(there was bombing just as in 911; however, there was no shooting in either NORWAY or Arizona….instead tear gas and theater on faces of multiculturalism maniacs while calling YOU a terrorists) !!!

    http://stateofterror.blogspot.com/ or http://stateofterror.wordpress.com/

    Whitie is fighting war on terrorism just to come home and be pronounced as terrorist...turned in Timothy, jobless, homeless ..YESSS, WE CAN...GABBY OPENED HER EYES (psychotic Tucson)

    TEARS WON'T DO YOU ANY GOOD !!! AS BUSH STATED "THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE PAID FOR"(to die ) !!

    Don't worry O(s)bama, you just saved lots of Dollars in your DEBT DEALS(DEAD & ILL) as those America best (Navy Seals) would also grew older and then you already know how it goes !!!

    OS(B)AMA NOW MOVING OUT OF AFGHANISTAN – FEW DAYS AFTER MY ONLINE POSTING AND IS WILLING TO IMPROVE ECONOMY FEW MONTHS AHEAD OF ELECTIONS(awesome, isn't it) !!!

    August 19, 2011 at 16:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Kashi

    In order to understand the increase in this diagnosis, all one needs to do is visit an elementary school classroom. Children are seated in groups of 4 to 6 at round tables for the majority of teaching time. This ensures much interaction between children and much inattention to teacher. The "old school" method was to seat children in rows, alphabetically, spaced evenly and facing front, facing teacher. If youngot caught folling around or not paying attention, you got in trouble.

    To me, this seems incredibly common sense and intuitive. But educators swear by this round table method and never hesitate to suggest medication for the children who interact with the peers who are directly in front of them.

    Visit a private school and tqke a look at how many adhd kids they have. Likely a very tiny percentage. look at the neat rows of desks facing front. Look at their work proudly lining the hallways. HUGE difference.

    There is much hoopla about these new teaching methods, all of which require teacher to spend an incredible amount of time in training, with filling out all kids of evaluation forms etc. There is little time to teach in addition to dealing with circle tqble where its so very easy for the kids to fool around and play.

    Where is the common sense here??????

    August 19, 2011 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sean

      Strewth. Just...I'm just speechless.

      August 20, 2011 at 12:32 | Report abuse |
    • california

      I couldn't agree with you more. It is absolutely crazy that the schools/teachers don't recognize how distracting it is to learning to have your classmates right next to you at a table. I guess they are encouraging teamwork, but it is absolutely counter to fostering independent learners.

      August 20, 2011 at 21:11 | Report abuse |
  44. gary

    TV ... kids grow up staring at the blinking screen, needed NO attn span. No TV = no ADHD

    August 19, 2011 at 16:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe

      ADHD is a genetically-passed neurological disorder caused by the lack of development of the areas of the brain that people need in order to self-regulate their moods and ability to function within time as experienced by "normal" people. External or environmental factors such as TV do not lead to the creation of ADHD.

      August 20, 2011 at 00:22 | Report abuse |
  45. Leonard

    I'm sure the pharmaceutical companies are overjoyed by this message. In fact we might want to buy some stock.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. sisi

    Back in my day no one had ADHD. Different parenting, kids get away with murder under the diagnosis of ADHD now a days and parents justify their bratty kids behavior with the same diagnosis.

    August 19, 2011 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. stephgob

    For ADDers out there who embrace what it is to be ADD/ADHD, there's a great social network for folks like us... google ADDer World. Lots of resources for parents as well as adults w/ ADD/ADHD.

    There are also more positive discussions on ADD/ADHD than you'll find in places like comments on related articles on CNN, etc :)

    August 19, 2011 at 17:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. KP

    SISI:
    Just because back in your day no one had ADHD didnt mean it didn't exist. Its very possible we just hadn't discovered it then, or didn't have the means of detecting it.
    Its much like autism, autism rates have gone up in the years, we don't know if its chemicals, or if its just because we now have much better ways to test for it then we did in the past. This is coming from someone who has lived with ADHD since my childhood.

    August 19, 2011 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Robert

      Back in her day ADHD was called Minimal Brain Disfunction. Glad we are more enlightened now.

      August 19, 2011 at 17:14 | Report abuse |
  49. Martin

    It doesn't point to a rise in the condition, it points to a rise in cases misdiagnosed.

    My FAMILY DOCTOR says that over 80% of patients worldwide on medication can be fixed with simple diet and lifestyle changes and he says that a higher proportion than this of ADHD cases are misdiagnosed, doctors are paid by drug companies to give these sorts of diagnoses so that they can sell more drugs that aren't needed.

    Most kids diagnosed ADHD are simply restless, cut out sugar and caffeine from their diets, or give them eyeglasses or hearing aids so that they can see the board or hear the teacher.

    JAcking all our kids up on drugs due to misdiagnosed diseases just to profit drug companies is a travesty that MUST be looked into.

    August 19, 2011 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Chris Logue

    Wow. I don;t know why everyone likes to call everything a medical condition these days. It's called "being a kid" not "ADHD". And diagnoses are on the rise because parents are lazy and instead of playing/keeping up with their children, they want to drug them until they're as idle and weary as they are. Frightening. This is why, barring serious illness and a yearly checkup, I don't plan on taking my children to these sorry excuses for doctors we have nowadays. The whole "take a pill to fix it" mentality is simply...wrong.

    August 19, 2011 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe

      "Being a kid' and having ADHD are distinctly different, and any doctor worth their salt will come to a correct diagnosis. So don't pull the high and mighty "I'm a better parent than you are because I'm never medicating my kids," because you're too ignorant to understand that ADHD is a serious life-long condition that doesn't go away well after the just "being a kid" stage.

      August 20, 2011 at 00:32 | Report abuse |
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.