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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 (512 Responses)
  1. sirays

    I think this is hugely misdiagnosed. Parents would rather dope their kids into walking zombies than actually deal with them.

    August 19, 2011 at 20:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bryan Micon

      Because the parents themselves are suffering from information overload heavily distracted from many different souces. Everyone's just so busy these days.

      August 19, 2011 at 20:56 | Report abuse |
    • Brenda

      that's a load of fec*s Bryan.

      ADD/ADHD is "on the rise" because being diagnosed as a BRAT is non-PC. Turn the kid into a zombie. That'll prepare him/her for life as a cubicle worker. The dumbing down of America continues....

      August 19, 2011 at 21:20 | Report abuse |
    • @sirays

      You obviously do not have an F'n clue. My son now takes Adderall when he is school and has gone from B's and A's and horrible behavior grades to straight A's and outstanding behavior grades. We don't give it to him during the Summer so he can try and work on his impulse control and behavior. When he is not taking Adderall he is very hyper and can not focus on doing anything. When he takes it he acts like most other kids and is focused and calm. I tried the Adderall once to try and get an idea of what he would feel like on Adderall and was bouncing off the walls for 8 hours and just wanted it to end. If you take an amphetamine and it calms you down (like my son) you have a chemical imbalance, and you need the treatment. I have another son who does not need anything and does great with behavior and school. I hope you don't have any kids, and if you do I am sure they are perfect.

      August 19, 2011 at 21:26 | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      I share others' concerns about indiscriminate diagnoses and treatment, but I think if you were actually in a classroom with children whose ADHD is being well-managed with a stimulant like Ritalin, you'd have a hard time picking them out. They are hardly zombies. Rather, they are bright, responsive, and engaged learners.

      August 19, 2011 at 21:27 | Report abuse |
    • @@sirays

      From As and Bs to straight As...well thats not exactly a game changer. Now the behavior, I wonder if that could have been controlled by other means such as therapy.

      August 19, 2011 at 21:42 | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      Medication and behavior therapy go hand in hand. Nobody who has a clue thinks that you can solve the problem by popping a pill in a kid's mouth, but it does help the child to be more receptive to the behavior therapy.

      August 19, 2011 at 21:46 | Report abuse |
    • camiwa

      SO TRUE.

      I was prescribed Xanax after a panic attack. I certainly felt as though I could conquer the world. However, I'm intelligent to know that feeling like that ALL THE TIME is UNNATURAL. So I quit after three days. Yeah, I'd feel great if I'd have continued to take it. And then I would constantly have to increase my dosage to continue feeling unnaturally good.

      Parent's who give it to their children to turn B's into A's should really think. Personally, I feel that beyond a certain age, straight A's are probably BS and the product of grade inflation or the dumbing down of courses. Why is it that we accept as adults we are not going to excel in everything, but we expect it of our children??? And then we drug them to ensure that this non-reality is met. This is BAD BAD BAD for everyone involved.

      August 19, 2011 at 22:21 | Report abuse |
    • meinitials

      This is a new phenomenon, the treatment of ADHD has not been proven. People should weigh their options. I do NOT believe parents want to POP pills in their kids...They just can't run around until the "street lights come on" anymore as they should be able to and TV and video games are not helping

      August 19, 2011 at 23:08 | Report abuse |
    • Bmooney

      Not all parents are just "doping up their kids and making them walking zombies". Our youngest son was diagnosed extremely early with severe ADHD, he had no impulse control, jumped from extremely high places and did very dangerous things without thinking at all about getting hurt, etc. He would stay up all night long, literally climb the walls, the list goes on and on. We were told numerous times that he needed to be on medication but tried diet changes, comprehensive behavior therapy for a yr and a half and many other things, like chiropractic care, vitamins, etc. Nothing changed his behavior at all. After doing all that we could possibly think of we decided to try the lowest dose of ADHD medication and instantly he was a completely calm and sweet child. Not every parent with a child with ADHD should be labeled as bad parents who are just to lazy to properly discipline their child. It infuriates me when ppl refer to kids who actually have ADHD as being brats, how ignorant and uneducated!

      August 19, 2011 at 23:24 | Report abuse |
    • andrew

      I suggest you bone up on the subject matter before you make an assumption. Humm assume.
      Maybe you have add. quick to judge without listening to the facts.

      August 19, 2011 at 23:56 | Report abuse |
    • Sirius

      I agree. I was diagnosed ADHD over 20 years ago. However, unlike today when you can just simply walk into a doctors office; state you can't concentrate and you're diagnosed ADHD. When I was tested... I was actually tested. I was put through a battery of psychological tests, interviewed by psychologists and psychiatrists, teachers and school counclers. The whole process took months... not 10 minutes like today.

      August 20, 2011 at 00:27 | Report abuse |
    • Thing55

      This comment by sirays is the kind of deeply ignorant assertion you get from uneducated people. My son has ADHD, a condition that was diagnosed by experts. He doesn't take medication because it doesn't help him at low doses and has too many side effects at higher doses. At any rate, he needs to learn to cope with his condition since lifelong medication is seldom a good idea.

      I'm guessing this ignorant comment is coming from a Republican because that is usually the case when someone is denying overwhelming evidence. Republicans often don't believe in science and experts. If they want to believe something, they just do. The facts, the evidence, and reality are relatively unimportant to them. Their beliefs are like a religion, requiring little or no substantiation.

      August 20, 2011 at 00:29 | Report abuse |
    • trace

      camiwa says "Personally, I feel that beyond a certain age, straight A's are probably BS and the product of grade inflation or the dumbing down of courses."

      So sorry that you or your kids weren't smart enough to make straight A's, no matter how hard the material.

      August 20, 2011 at 00:51 | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      @Thing55

      Great argument, right up until, "Republicans often don't believe in science and experts. If they want to believe something, they just do. The facts, the evidence, and reality are relatively unimportant to them. Their beliefs are like a religion, requiring little or no substantiation."
      What, exactly does that have anything to do with it? You are no better than the idiots who chime in saying "The world is going to end soon, look at all that is going on." The first second someone disagrees with you you go into "You must be a backwards thinking, redneck, Christian, Republican who ignores everything that I take as fact." Truth be told, you have no idea. Yes, you kid has ADHD. Drugs and therapy worked for YOUR kid. Great. That doesn't mean it is right for everyone and not abused by some. Yeah, sirays was a jerk for saying what they did. It was ignorant.
      But you claim that others are closed minded yet are as closed minded as those you hate. And you do hate them, you made offensive statements at the first chance. You took a non-political argument about health and broke it down and FORCED it into a political statement. You claim to be progressive, but dismiss anything you disagree with as, "right-wing." You would absolutely condemn anyone who made disparaging remarks about African-Americans and Latinos, but will be the first to belittle someone's religion. How progressive of you. People LIKE YOU are just as bad as the most fervent of Bush supporters. And make no mistake, you are exactly the same. You are on two different ends of the same exact problem. So next time, look in the mirror before you speak.

      August 20, 2011 at 08:58 | Report abuse |
  2. Lisa

    Years ago, my sons preschool teachers wanted me to have him tested for ADHD. The day I took him to be tested he was calm and I was told he did not have it. I noticed his behavior and personality would change after eating certain foods. He also was suffering with asthma. Something wasn't right to the point where He was driving me crazy! After doing my own research my keeping a list of everything he consumed and his behavior afterwards, I found one common ingredient, Yellow #5 food dye. Folks this is Tartrazine, which is coal tar waste!!!! The cheaper companies will use this. As soon as I omitted it from my son's diet, we never had a problem again and he also never had asthma after that. Check with other countries and their studies. Some countries have banned certain food dyes. Please research parents!!!! I strongly agree these dyes have an effect on our children!

    August 19, 2011 at 20:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brenda

      at last. A common sense post. What a relief.

      If your kid is hyperactive, check out his diet and get rid of the chemical stimulants. Eat organic whenever possible. Sure, some kids are geneticlly hyperactive, but that's faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar less than what's been prescribed/diagnosed today. (Yes, I typed "prescribed" first. That was the intent and should tell folks something.)

      August 19, 2011 at 21:23 | Report abuse |
    • Teri

      Diet does play a huge part in it. I have problems with my daughter after she's been at her dad's house. Originally, I thought it was the environment (there is a reason we are divorced and his temper was a major part of it) and her having to constantly walk on eggshells while there. Come to find out, it was the junk food she ate while at his house. I still have problems with it because he won't listen, but he has moved away from the area and doesn't see her as much. Lo and behold, we have a lot less problems.

      August 19, 2011 at 21:48 | Report abuse |
    • George

      I agree with you about the dyes. I think there are substances in our environment that are causing problems for these children. I find a lot of comments here to be interesting. I used to be a skeptic ADHD until I had a child and started meeting and really getting to know other people's children. The ones I've met who have been officially diagnosed with ADHD aren't just bouncing off the walls... they are punching, biting and hurting other children. It is not an "imaginary" thing. My daughter, while not diagnosed with ADHD definitely behaves differently and is almost manic after eating certain processed foods like candy or chips with artificial dyes. It would be a great day for our children if our country would ban these substances. In other countries, carrot juice and paprika are used to color foods. It would be a whole lot safer for everyone if our country made the switch, too.

      August 20, 2011 at 10:07 | Report abuse |
  3. Paul lytle

    ADHD link to mercury. 80% of high fructose corn syrup contained traces of mercury. Everything today has high fructose corn syrup in it. Now go on google type in mercury ADHD. Mercury and asbergers disease. mercury an autism. I think you will be able to see a direct connection.

    August 19, 2011 at 21:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. macaddress

    Keep drinking that fluoride tap water everyone! 🙂

    August 19, 2011 at 21:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Liutgard

      Funny thing- flouride is not in all municipal water systems, and not every household is on a municipal water system. Yet there are no numbers that would indicate causality either way. Go back to Start and try again.

      August 19, 2011 at 22:45 | Report abuse |
  5. KeithTexas

    Twenty years at a private school that does not allow students to attend that are on maintenance drugs of any kind. Out of twenty or so every year that we take off of drugs or out of 500 students in twenty years there have only been two that needed drug therapy. We sent them to a different school that had a more qualified staff to deal with those children’s problems.

    August 19, 2011 at 21:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. mike b

    So who heard of ADHD pre 1990? Oh wasn't that time time Ritalin was invented?! Result? Exponential increase in diagnoses thus big bucks for big pharm!

    August 19, 2011 at 21:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TinMT

      No Mike, I was taking Ritalin in 1964, it's been around a long time. However, the drug companies weren't allowed to advertise and tell us to ask our doctor if this medication is right for us back then...

      August 19, 2011 at 21:17 | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      Prescription use of methylphenidate (Ritalin) began in the 1960's.

      August 19, 2011 at 21:21 | Report abuse |
    • sybilquestion

      Good post. Good question. But when did "Special Education Teachers" start to make a strong appearance. To justify that education and salary you can look at that as well. But because we can't hurt the "parents feelings" that perhaps it is better to hug and love and nurture your child yourself then both parents actively working and a child ends up in daycare for 60 hours a week. I'd have ADHD too if that is what it took to get my mother to love and hug me. Dad, well he should be at work and make sure he can give me my allowance.
      And don't forget adderall. College students love to be prescribed adderall. Go Pharmaceutical Industry. Don't worry. No matter what logic can counter the ADHD claims people prefer to pop a pill to solve all ills.

      August 19, 2011 at 21:23 | Report abuse |
    • srjbdl

      Ritalin was developed in the 1940s.....

      August 19, 2011 at 21:23 | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      Sybilquestion, while it is it certainly true that structure and accountability can help ADD/HD kids tremendously, loving, attentive parenting does not solve their underlying problem with executive control. Stimulants like Ritalin are a godsend for children who truly need them. ADD/HD is not a myth perpetuated by overwhelmed educators.

      August 19, 2011 at 21:38 | Report abuse |
    • JLS639

      sybilquestion: Special education began in the early to mid 19th century in the United States in larger urban areas. It was adopted where schools were large enough to be able to hold separate sessions for children needing special education.

      August 20, 2011 at 07:57 | Report abuse |
    • NLS

      I think lots of kids were suffering from this condition before it had a name and a treatment. Whether it's over diagnosed and treated is another question, but it's not a new pheonomenon. Returning to my 30th high school reunion reminded me of the struggles these kids had, and many wound up less successful as adults.

      August 20, 2011 at 10:27 | Report abuse |
    • Jeanne

      Earlier, ADHD/ADD was misdiagnosed as other things...including Asbergers/high functioning autism, or they were just called hyperactive. It was known as 'minimal brain disfuntion' for a while.....it was pretty poorly understood...and still isn't fully understood.

      Names change as things are better understood...just look at Lyme Disease.....only really known the last 3 decades, but has been misdiagnosed for hundreds of years from everything from heart disease, to arthritus....however, it was the same cause 200 years ago as it is today.

      August 20, 2011 at 19:18 | Report abuse |
  7. Medical Industry

    I NEED MORE MONEY NOM NOM NOM FEEEEED MEEEEE
    YOU WANT A CURE FOR YOUR CHRONIC DISEASE? BUT THEN I WILL STARVE!
    STOP BEING SO SELLFISH!

    August 19, 2011 at 21:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. sfabl

    As a pediatric therapist, I am seeing more children with symptoms that don't fit neatly into some other diagnosis get placed into the ADHD category. I think that doctors are doing this because it provides a clear treatment for challenging and confusing symptoms: a large selection of pills to chose from. I am also seeing schools refusing to provide students with services for dyslexia and insisting that the problem is ADHD. In my darker moments, I suspect that is because the interventions required for dyslexia are much more expensive to the school (as opposed to a drug paid for by the family). I wonder how many of the new cases are kids who are getting this diagnosis because their doctors don't know what else to diagnose.

    August 19, 2011 at 21:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. JesusLizard

    Because they teach 90% crap and the brain naturally shuts it out. They don't teach knowledge or wisdom. They just test kids on useless facts they spew at them to see which minds can be molded into thoughtless corporate work slaves.

    August 19, 2011 at 21:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Joe

    Whereas ADHD itself may be real, I have trouble believing it's this prevalent.
    I've seen a LOT of bad parenting...

    August 19, 2011 at 21:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Phil

    I have ADD, my 14 year old son has ADHD. It can be very difficult at times because we clash. I am no longer on ADD medication because it was making me extremely tired and I saw no improvements with it over the course of 20 years.

    My son is on 30mg of Daytrana, a transdermal patch. It doesn't "drug" him, he isn't a zombie. It greatly aids in keeping him focused - at least until he learns how to structure everything in his life. We typically do not administer the patch during summer months when he isn't in school.

    I should mention that, people with ADD/ADHD are incredibly bright. Just because we can't focus on mundane tasks doesn't mean we aren't trying...they simply don't interest us. When we do find things we love, we excel greatly at them. For example. I found that electronics and technology fascinated me at a young age. I was an engineer for many years before moving into rental properties...which I do fabulous with AND I make more now, than I did back then.

    August 19, 2011 at 21:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Wadde

    This is the biggest crock ever. Kids are cooped up in a postage stamp size yard, no physical activity at recess in school, parents that are too stinking LAZY to do activities with their children – now these mental midget doctors claim the kids are hyperactive -BS- they are kids with huge amounts of energy with no outlet provided by parents or educators. Dope them up so they are the docile couch loungers that fir the parents lifestyle and all is good. When kids had a yard ran and played games and actually had a physical outlet there weren't these problems. Doctors should be willing to tell these parents the truth pay attention to your kids -actually be parents.

    August 19, 2011 at 21:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Karen

      Waddle, your comment is tremendously offensive. If you could spend one day in my home, you would understand beyond a shadow of a doubt that my ADHD child receives the most attentive parenting, the most structured day, and the most planned physical activity of anybody in our family. He still needs meds to function at his best.

      August 19, 2011 at 21:43 | Report abuse |
    • rufusclyde

      The crock is your totally bogus stereotype. ADHD kids are common in families that do tons of activities and sports with their kids. Your projection is nothing short of a lie. Grow TF up! Next?

      August 19, 2011 at 21:53 | Report abuse |
    • fishing mom

      Our yard is huge, we play every day. Climb trees, fish, swim, paint, bikeride. Two of the kids have ADHD two do not. Without medication, my two with, are a mess, with it, they are normal kids. Not zombees, not perfect. My kids do not have an ounce of extra weight on them...so much so, the 10 year old can count an 8 pack of abs. We eat healthy, with little HFCS or artifical color. I made my kids baby food. We are not lazy parents, ADHD is real and no amount of exercize will change the fact that two of my babies can not sit still and focus for a lesson. Is this true for all parents? No. Do all kids need meds? No. Will I medicate them so they can learn algebra and work to their potential? Yes. Its painful and harmful to be the one in the class always in trouble or redirected. That daily failure is not the experience I wish for any child. All these harsh comments against parents and teachers are misplaced energy. Go to a classroom and volunteer and get some hands on experience with young people. Your help would be appreciated, and it would be a better use of your time.

      August 19, 2011 at 22:06 | Report abuse |
    • JDLeo

      My son was recently diagnosed with ADHD-combined type. It took me a long time to finally decide that he needed to be evaluated and see a doctor just to rule out if he actually didn't have behavioral issues. Problems started when he was 2 1/2 at daycare. I did EVERYTHING a loving parent is supposed to do and BEYOND that. Talking about this is heartbreaking enough because I just want my child to be happy. When he is not happy, I am not happy. It got so bad that I could not take him out in public unless it was at a park or swimming pool. He had ZERO impulsive control. Once we were shopping when he was almost 3, he ran out of a clothing store two different times within a week and nearly ran into the parking lot. He literally made me pee my pants because I was so scared that he would get hurt. When I caught him, I just fell to my knees, hugged him tightly and cried and cried. He looked at me and did not understand why. One day he will. He is my whole world. Nothing matters more than him. Trust me. When a child acts like this, he NEEDS help. It does not mean there is something wrong with him or he is not as equal as other children or that his parents are lazy. He just happens to have something that many others don't. I thank God everyday that I found out early so I can make sure my son has the most normal childhood and that he will have friends. I fear that people will not like him because of his ADHD if it was not under control. With years of therapy, very low dosage of medicine, unconditional love, countless hugs and attention, I truly believe he will grow up to be a good man and know that his parents did the BEST they could for him. Think 3 times before you say something like this.

      August 20, 2011 at 01:22 | Report abuse |
  13. ent

    @Karen:

    Cut down on the child's early exposure to television, internet and cell phone culture, and save yourself the "most attentive parenting" later on when (surprise!) no ADHD develops. More effort now = better results later. Procrastination is definitely a bad thing, especially in this case.

    August 19, 2011 at 22:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Karen

      @ ent: Oh, please! Save the condescension and judgement for somebody else. We didn't own a TV until my youngest turned 10. Neither did we own a video game console. One of my children has ADHD, and one doesn't.

      August 20, 2011 at 22:59 | Report abuse |
  14. Dr. Smith

    The human genome is not changing, my guess is that it is something we are consuming.

    August 19, 2011 at 22:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Stacey

      I don't understand why exposure is so often overlooked. Sad really.

      August 20, 2011 at 08:27 | Report abuse |
  15. Run for the border

    Could taco sauce be the antidote?

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

    Hey all, as an adult who uses a stimulant med for ADHD, I can testify that it helps me stay balanced, focused, and doing my best throughout the day. It takes time for docs to figure out the best dosage. When properly diagnosed and treated, with strategies, plenty of exercise, and meds, people with ADHD can be more successful and implement their big ideas. As a teacher as well, I highly recommend enough exercise...it's a natural "med" for your brain!

    August 19, 2011 at 22:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. WithKindness :-)

    My adopted son is ADHD diagnosed after finishing his first kindergarten. If she was not medication he would not be able to focus in school. We have lots of consistency in our family. We live in a rural area and he runs outside a lot. Still, all these activities do not allow for his brain to stay focus. Please, do not judge the child/children, parents, doctors and teachers if you have never interact with the child/children you are blindly judging. I am glad Concerts helps my son cope with ADHD as he begins his freshman year. I am proud to say he is a good kid.

    August 19, 2011 at 22:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Craig Stans

    I've noticed that most women/mothers love to talk amongst each other about all the prescription drugs they have their children on. Like its some kind of badge of honor. Its those parents that should be taking psycho drugs.

    August 19, 2011 at 22:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. ralk

    No it's not...just another way to keep society drugged at an early age.

    August 19, 2011 at 22:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Bonnie

    why is the headline that diagnoses are on the rise...why isn't it that the disorder is on the rise?

    August 19, 2011 at 22:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • trace

      *Sigh* If you read the article, you would know. It states clearly in the article that they don't know if the disease is actually on the rise, or if there are just more diagnoses because more people are aware of it, etc. Maybe you should have been on meds during reading comprehension.

      August 20, 2011 at 01:05 | Report abuse |
  21. Robert

    Oh yeah, ADHD symptoms are just kids being kids, and now they call it a disease. And my 77 year old mother grabbed her head and screamed "My he-he-head... call...call.. doc-doc... doctor!" I told her that everyone get a headache sometimes. Jeez, people are such whimps nowadays.

    August 19, 2011 at 22:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. docdeb

    I can't tell you how many parents demaand that their kids get diagnosed ADD/ADHD because they want test modifications and accommodations for their children and they insist , and get homework written down for them by their teachers. Pediatricians are a big part of the problem. There is no test for ADD/ADHD only a survey, filled out by the parent and 95% of MDs without ever speaking to a teacher or reading a report card, diagnose and send in a script that the parent uses to demand special connditions for their child. The shame is that there are many kids who do have ADD or ADHD and this really hurts them. You can bother an MD to diagnose anything inclusing Autism, again for many many financial and eduational and home service benefits. I see it every day.

    August 19, 2011 at 22:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Joe

    The real problem has two parts; a lack of understanding by the general public, and a lack of proper treatment for people that really do have the disorder.

    First, calling the disorder attention deficit was a really poor choice. It makes it seem like the disorder is something people just need to grow up and deal with like everyone else. The problem is that ADHD is not just a lack of attention span and cannot be fixed by simply "trying harder." It is an actual neurological disorder resulting from the under development of specific areas of the brain. It is passed on genetically and is not induced by environmental factors. People are not just randomly waking up one day with it or creating it by watching tv, playing online, etc. like ignorant people continue to believe. People have had ADHD for a very very very long time and will continue to in the future.

    As for treatment, myself and both my younger brothers have real ADHD. We have been tested numerous times for many different neurological function and personality evaluation comparisons. All three of us have verified IQ ratings that range from 152-186 depending upon the area specifically targeted in testing. Many people with ADHD are highly intelligent, creative, and even successful if they had a support system that allowed them to function with the disorder.

    That said, with ADHD being passed on genetically it is found in people of all races and socioeconomic statuses. Some people will fall through the cracks and not receive treatment like I have. It is a problem that needs to be addressed because it makes many people with ADHD develop other disorders from being shunned all their lives as a failure or bum for not being able to function at the level people without the disorder are capable of. It is very common for people that have not received proper treatment and help to turn into addicts because a primary root of the disorder is a lack of dopamine production. This causes many adults (because it really doesn't go away with age) with the disorder to turn to self regulation commonly with alcohol leading to alcoholism.

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF1YRE8ff1g&w=640&h=360]

    Dr. Barkley has been studying ADHD since the 70's and this is just a small portion of a lecture he gave back in 2010. I urge all of you to watch it whether you know about ADHD or "know" it's just BS.

    August 19, 2011 at 22:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • andrew

      Hey Joe,
      Im 57 yrs old. i remember at one time there schools that were called trade schools.welders, construction, auto workers, manufacturing The arts. etc.these classes were for those that could not keep up with the "smart ones".
      One item that has not been addressed is the teaching methods used for those with learning disabilities. Everyone learns differently depending on how the brain uses the information learned.
      I feel that we have gone beyond the problem found and in most cases we are trying to tell people since they are not achievers they are 2nd class citizens.

      With this new found knowledge about adhd and add , are we, as a advanced human beings now saying that those with "learning trades"are inferior to those who were deemed to be intellectuals or those that could get it in school?
      To me its about training the brain to live as a productive human being.You see, this also pressure on the parents so their child would meet the status quo.
      We need to change how our school system can handle this disorder. It can be done. If the money is spent and qualified teachers are put in place.

      August 20, 2011 at 00:27 | Report abuse |
    • andrew

      Just to let you know i have add. i found out as a adult.
      I have managed but its been bear.

      August 20, 2011 at 00:34 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      I could not agree more. As smart as I am supposedly on paper, I've been an utter failure with our amazing education system. I was the kid that always got in trouble for not paying attention unless it was art, shop/welding (yes, I got to weld in High School and I loved it) or biology/chemistry, really anything hands on that teachers couldn't just rely on standardized rote memorization to teach and evaluate. Honestly, I always did terrible in math classes and continued to well into college even though I'm a very rational thinker and love science. My problems are part of the reason why I've decided to go back to school to become a teacher. I hope I can be that teacher that helped me make it through for kids in the future.

      And like you said, we really need to come up with a better system of empowering people with more diversified career options and training. We really need to bring back the practice of apprenticeships, and make our country more involved with manufacturing like it used to be in order to rebuild the middle-class. It's hard to get a job when people won't give you one because you don't have experience, and you can't get experience because people won't give you a job. Apprenticeships for all types of career fields would really help fix that problem, and have the potential to fix some of our economic problems.

      August 20, 2011 at 00:58 | Report abuse |
    • WithKindness :-)

      Hey Joe...I just want to tell u how proud I am of you. As a soon to b teacher u will have the opportunity to help many kids including those with ADHD. At the same time u could teach kids and teachers alike that ADHD is for real. I am not discouting that some people take advantage of the system and claim to have it. Our society needs to learn to respect each other more regardless of our make up. You go Joe. I think u should consider becoming one of the voices for ADHD. 🙂

      August 20, 2011 at 02:45 | Report abuse |
  24. rob

    Maybe they don't want to pay attention to things they are not interested in.

    August 19, 2011 at 23:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe

      That's just it. Because of a lack of dopamine production, ADHD people need constant intense stimulation, and eventually just about everything becomes something that is no longer interesting. With medication, the need for constant intense stimulation decreases drastically and allows them to function even when it's something the person is not interested in like "normal" adults are expected to be capable of.

      August 20, 2011 at 01:40 | Report abuse |
  25. Travis

    This is an easy one, kids need to go outside and play. Duh.

    August 19, 2011 at 23:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Cat MacLeod

    Ahh that's because drug companies make big money selling low grade meth to children. Look it up folks, it's the same stuff basically. Actually if you want to get technical, crystal meth is much "cleaner" than ritalin. It's amazing how people who think differently are called disabled and need medication.

    August 19, 2011 at 23:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe

      I'm sorry, I didn't realize that my medication was worse than what gets cooked up in trailer parks by junkies that manged to get some Pseudoephedrine. I'll remember to ask my pharmacist for some cleaner meth the next time I pick up my perscription.

      August 20, 2011 at 01:45 | Report abuse |
  27. cris

    i just have to say to one of the first comments that kinda got me upset. i have one child with add/adhd and another child with autism we are mexican americans, and not on the poverty level, my kids have xbox,wii, and a playstation3. are my kids on drugs? no way!! i deal with their behaviors and want them to learn to use their brain. these kids need to be kept busy and have to be redirected several times. but theres one thing i dont believe in meds, and what other people may think. iam a young mother and i deal with what i got. my son with add/adhd passed his state exam and doesnt need extra help with time to complete his work. so if parents were more involved with the childrens disabilty maybe these kids too wouldnt be on meds.

    August 19, 2011 at 23:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. John

    As a parent with a ADHD child and one that has it myself, I know it is real. I was not properly diagnosed til my son was. It was my being so much smarter than the content that got me by. I even got a college degree. Those like me learned to cope in ways that where not always for the best. My son who is also brilliant, more so than myself has had medication for a long time. early in the school year last year, he took himself of the meds. He had learned to cope the right way, the meds helped that. It was a lot of work as parents but so worth it. HE has been in gifted classes all his schooling and continues to excel. We also picked up the link with Yellow #5. If will send him in to a spiral of hyperness and it makes my youngest son break out in hives. Oddly though and counter to common sense, he can have a Dr. Pepper and mellow right out. He prefers sugar free though cause he said he does not like the way all that sugar makes him feel. Know that it is very real and the best thing to do is research it for you self.

    August 19, 2011 at 23:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Fred Barnett

    Like High Cholesterol from ingesting fat, or lung cancer from smoking, no one really knew what ADHD was until the last 30 years and it.......wow! nice car...I had one of those once...I'm thirsty

    August 19, 2011 at 23:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Truth

    Kids aren't really supposed to be "focused and calm"...they're kids ffs. Just using this as an excuse to not have to deal with them and discipline them properly, like a REAL parent should. You should all be sterilized for at least one generation just to re-cleanse the gene pool. Especially black people.

    August 19, 2011 at 23:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. writingOnTheWall

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U. Start at 3:30 to see the portion that mentions ADHD or watch the whole video if you can. The kids do not have a learning problem, we have an education problem and medication is not the answer.

    August 20, 2011 at 00:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Tom

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5X4N2exOsU&w=640&h=390]

    August 20, 2011 at 00:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Rocketman

    And so the big Pharmaceutical companies continue making billions by drugging our children, indiscriminately – nothing more than legalized drug running with the FDA turning a blind eye to the real facts about the misdiagnosis of a fantasy disease called ADHD.

    August 20, 2011 at 00:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe

      Wow Rocketman, you must be a real rocket scientist to have such an informed opinion. It's great that you know so much about this fantasy disease that has existed far longer than pharmaceutical companies have exist. So much longer in fact that it's root cause is a lack of development of key components in the brain that "normal" people have evolved over time. But I guess you wouldn't believe any doctors or over 100 years of study and research because they're all in on con.

      August 20, 2011 at 01:30 | Report abuse |
  34. Truth

    Beware all of you who think you are fine taking Adderall for ADHD. It wrecked my life and is highly addictive. A drug that is almost the identical chemical compound as crystal meth took my life downhill fast. I was diagnosed ADHD and prescribed the drug which everything seemed fine the first year or so and then the calamity begun.

    Fight me with your words, knowledge and opinion and I'll go to my grave swearing to the fact that this drug (Adderall, Dextranphetamine, etc.) will completely re-wire your brain and make you become something you are not. Easily fools you into thinking you're better off but the side effects will come sooner or later as well as the long term pain of taking it.

    Advice: Begin getting off the drug now and fight for your life back.....I pity children who can't speak for themselves and parents foolishly give them this train wreck of a drug. I would not post this if I didn't who heartedly believe this.

    My prayers are with you.

    August 20, 2011 at 00:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe

      It's great to have beliefs and a desire to help people, but just because you believe something doesn't mean it's true. What people really should do is talk to their doctors about making sure they are properly treating any problem they may have, and always always always getting a second opinion or even third to make sure you're not talking to the doctor that graduated with the lowest GPA of their class and shouldn't be allowed to practice.

      August 20, 2011 at 01:57 | Report abuse |
  35. neuroMGH

    Highly over diagnosed, parents should seek any possible alternatives to medication because frankly the medication is a gamble and its after effects can be devastating, there is just a very high risk of side effects and it's not a good idea unless consulted a Medical Professional not an educator or anyone without an MD

    August 20, 2011 at 00:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Sage Nadjafinia

    We to not have a condition. We are simply more evolved then the rest. Don't let government put your children on meds stronger then a handful of cocaine. Allow these people to be better then the rest. ....as designed.

    August 20, 2011 at 00:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe

      Actually Sage, it's quite the opposite. ADHD comes about from the brain not developing key components that allow "normal" people to function in society. Instead, the brain of a person with ADHD has to rely upon areas of the brain that are overridden by people without the disorder. In other words, people with ADHD aren't an evolution, we have not evolved like everyone else and will continue to fall behind because ADHD has a strong tendency to be passed genetically.

      August 20, 2011 at 01:24 | Report abuse |
  37. Name*sarah

    Most of you do not realize how hard it is having ADHD. I had a very hard time growing up with it and paying the slightest bit of attention in school. To this day I am still like that and have a hard time socializing at the age of 26. Now with medication that is something I think can help if you and your child's pediatrician or psychiatrist find the right medication and find the right dosage I think it can help. But also you need to be on top of things going on in your child's life and seek other ways for helping too. Half of you most likely don't know what its like dealing with this do you??

    August 20, 2011 at 00:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. LastDinosaur

    As long as the meds don't cause health problems, I don't see overdiagnosis being much of a problem. If it stifles healthy impulses to engage in "play"-type behaviors, then this practice should be appropriately curbed. However, I don't know of any evidence of children becoming workaholic automatons just because (unlike most of us at that age) they are being stimulated to take an interest in what they are learning. Future generations should reap the benefits of artificially increased efficiency!

    August 20, 2011 at 00:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Zippy

    It's on the rise because we want our little boys to behave like little girls.

    August 20, 2011 at 00:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe

      This is the second idiotic post I've read from you Zippy. I'm staring to think you have nothing better to do and have fun being an Internet troll. I would normally type out a rational response commenting on how idiotic it is to assume girls all behave a certain way, only then also assume that boys could be forced into similar behaviors with medication that does anything but. Instead, I'm hoping you find something better to do with your obviously unfulfilling life.

      August 20, 2011 at 01:18 | Report abuse |
    • WithKindness :-)

      Glad we have medications that can help with ADHD. Too bad we don't have medications to help control ignorance.

      August 20, 2011 at 02:26 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Sure we do. It's call birth control.

      August 20, 2011 at 02:52 | Report abuse |
  40. DDC

    If you or your child do not have ADHD, ADD or ODD educate yourself before you make idiotic comments!

    August 20, 2011 at 00:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Adahy

    The drug reps are out in full force today. What did humanity do before big pharma? How did we manage to make it for THOUSANDS of years without behavior-modifying chemicals? At least we've learned that everyone should be forced to be the same... That's a good lesson for a kid: Got a problem? Drugs can probably fix it.
    Thank you mom for not falling for this insanity.

    August 20, 2011 at 00:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe

      We managed because we didn't have this ridiculous society and economic model we do today that says you need to grow up, get in the best college, find a profession, only to go sit in a cubicle all day long and perform some kind of service, and live with it. People used to be able to do jobs that allowed them to function and be successful despite their ADHD. Since our education system is designed as a production line to create workers for our economy, kids with ADHD start off at a disadvantage being forced into a model of education that does not tolerate their differences.

      Also, it's awful silly to thank your mother for raising you without drugs when she also clearly raised you without teaching you to make sure you're not being ignorant. ADHD is a real neurological disorder caused by the lack of development of specific parts of the brain. Medication designed to treat this disorder is very targeted and very helpful for those that really do need it.

      August 20, 2011 at 01:11 | Report abuse |
  42. Brian Dodge

    I just love all these ignorant "turn them into zombies" comments. Methyphenidate or amphetamines(Ritalin and Adderall) are stimulants; if you have a hyperactive kid and give him stimulants, it won't turn him into a zombie. If he has been diagnosed ADHD, 70% of the time it will have a surprisingly calming effect. If the kid is normal, or has been misdiagnosed, it will tend to make him more hyperactive. The drugs for ADHD are not at all like Thorazine, regardless of what some ignoramuses think.

    August 20, 2011 at 04:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Ben There

    Already did some minor research on this subject since I have a son on meds. Look up Red40 lake. It's in alot of foods, candy, and drinks as a dye to give color. Give my son some skittles or a drink with red 40 in it and in an hour or two he's off walls. No reason to have this junk in foods but yet it affects so many children.

    August 20, 2011 at 08:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Parent

    Were not talking about kids who in an hour or two are off the walls from food; were talking about children who are hyperactive all day! Get a clue

    August 20, 2011 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Sue

    PPl in America need to stop labeling everything...a child cries and he is depressed – needs meds...damn !!
    Let the kids be KIDS...sheesh !!!

    August 20, 2011 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Pat Remkus

    First of all, what do you call ADHD a "mental illness". Immediately, one thinks that these individuals are sick, psychologically unhinged, and above all, could be just like the rest of us if they only tried harder. None of this is true. I have a 25-year-old son who has ADHD and I could tell you horror stories of what we went through with the schools he attended. At one point, we had to retain an attorney just to make sure the high school provided our son with his right to a free education. Anyway, off point.
    We need to start seeing these guys differently. If we see that their brains are wired differently and that they see the world differently, they we might really be able to assist them in developing strategies and skills for living successfully in our non-ADHD world. Before one labels this condition as a mental illness, ask yourself, Was Albert Einstein mentally ill? Oh and what about Alexancer Graham Bell, Tommy Hilfiger, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Terry Bradshaw, Bruce Jenner, Ingvar Kamprad (IKEA founder) Will Smith, Robin Williams, Tom Cruise, Bill Cosby, Jim Carey, Steven Spielberg,Walt Disney, Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Thomas Edison, Orville & Wilber Wright, Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo Da Vinci, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Sir Issac Newton, Ansel Adams, Henry Ford, Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Virginia Woolf, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I think I've made my point. Yes, as children we must learn how to support, educate these individuals so that they know it's okay to think outside the box, to create, to let their minds, there creativity, their talents take our culture forward. Where would our society be without those who have ADHD?????

    August 20, 2011 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jeanne

      exactly! and ironically, many of these people may well be roll models for the non ADD/ADHD people out there! But what gives these people that edge is the spark that comes from their ADD/ADHD....the intelligence, the creativity, and the hyperfocus when it is something you really want to do, you can do it so well....but it's the daily life stuff that often gets in the way. Overcoming that part of the ADD/ADHD took these people to where they are today...whether they did it by sheer will power, with meds, therapy or something else....they still had to overcome the negatives and then they blossomed.

      August 20, 2011 at 19:59 | Report abuse |
  47. Jason

    Myself and my brother were diagnosed with ADHD back in the 80's. My parents decided on trying out Ritalin, but with my brother first, since he seemed to be a little more hyper than I was. Unfortunately, the doctor apparently prescribed a dosage that was too high, and it turned my brother into a zombie. Thus my parents had him stop taking it. We both have lived with our ADD (the hyperactivity went away as we got older) for years now. My brother went to college and graduated. I went into the Marines, amazingly enough. The ADD still gets me though. I have an extremely hard time concentrating on tasks, paying attention, or remembering things. I can get up from watching TV to go get a drink, and see something on the way that will remind me of something else. I will end up doing something else, than go back to watch TV, entirely forgetting that I got up to go get a drink. If I don't set my keys, work ID badge, and other stuff in the same place everyday, I will have a hard time finding them when I need them. I've done tons of research about ADD. What I found most interesting was doctors using SPECT imaging, showing the brain naturally, and after taking medication. It gives a visual of what happens when a person with ADD tries to think. Basically, the part of the brain that is trying to be accessed (dopamine transmitors for one) works in reverse of what it should, or slower than it should. The drugs for ADD help to keep this from happening, by "speeding up" the transmitors, or reversing the way they "fire." Hence the reason that a drug that would send an "ordinary" person into overdrive, calms a person with ADHA, down. I was in a clinical study for ADDERALL. The drug did wonders for me. When I take it, I'm able to actually able have a conversation with someone, and not be distracted. Without it, the slightest little things can distract me. I fight it sometimes, but not always successfully. Most of the time, I have to have people repeat what they said, which is aggravating for me and the person I am talking to.

    Looking back at my school years, I often wish I had Adderall back then. I was all over the place with my grades. I always had a hard time concentrating in school. I often wonder if I was taking Adderall back in school, would I have done better? I would like to think that, yes, I would have done better.

    Don't talk bad about a condition that you do not believe in for whatever reason you don't believe in it. It's real, no matter what you think. Yes, there are probably some parents out there who children are mis-diagnosed. But for those of us with ADD/ADHD, it's very real, and very aggravating. Medicine helps us a lot. All I ask, is for parents to their job. Research as much as you can. The information is out there. We're in the digital age, and it's just a matter of using a search engine to find what you are looking for. I found Daniel Amen when I was searching, which lead me to find out about SPECT imaging. Do some research before making negative comments. When you have a headache, I'm not standing there telling you that you're imaging it. Inform yourself, than post. Oh, and keep politics out of this. This is a medical condition, not a political event.

    August 20, 2011 at 13:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. us1776

    Industrialized food, with its growth hormones and genetic engineering allowing more and more powerful pesticides and herbicides to be used on crops, with its concentrating of animals and plants allowing bacteria and diseases to spread, is what is causing many of these types of problems such as ADHD and maybe autism.

    Industrialized food is killing us.

    .

    August 20, 2011 at 13:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Eva

    "Not necessarily bad news." LMAO. so mercury poisoning is not bad news. the author is uniformed.

    August 20, 2011 at 14:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Perception is reality

    Several years ago my wife and I were called to our daughters school to discuss "how the school year was progressing". Well, the principal went straight to the point – he felt that our daughter had ADD / ADHD. Even though we did not believe that she had an issue we thought we would check it out "just to make sure". We jumped through all the hoops to have her tested – even going as far as to have her go through an educational evaluation with a private child psychologist. The results were the same she did not have it and she tested at or above her grade level. At our next meeting – on a whim – I simply told the principal and teachers that although she was not diagnosed with ADD / ADHD we asked for medication "just to be on the safe side." Almost immediately we started receiving notes about her "wonderful improvement" that it was like "teaching a different child" that she was "excelling in areas in which she previously struggled." Well the truth of the matter was that she was NOT on medication, NEVER was on medication. So at the next meeting we listened to the glowing reports and then told them that she was not medicated and never was – gave them the doctors number for them to verify and then switched schools.

    August 20, 2011 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
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