ADHD diagnoses rise to 11% of kids
November 22nd, 2013
05:54 PM ET

ADHD diagnoses rise to 11% of kids

The number of children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) continues to climb, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There has been a 42% increase in the number of reported cases of ADHD since 2003, according to a CDC-led study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Today, 6.4 million children between the ages of 4 and 17 - 11% of kids in this age group - have received an ADHD diagnosis, according to the study, which is based on a survey of parents. That's 2 million more children than in 2007.

The number of children using medications to treat ADHD is also rising. Since the last survey taken in 2007, there has been a 28% increase in children taking drugs to manage the disorder. More than 3.5 million children in the 4 to 17 age group, or 6%, are taking ADHD medications, the survey found.

These data are part of the CDC's National Survey of Children's Health, a national cross-sectional, randomized telephone survey. The survey is conducted every four years, and questions about ADHD diagnosis have been included since 2003. The latest data are from interviews conducted via telephone from February 2011 and June 2012, with 95,677 interviews completed and an overall response rate of 23%.

But while rising rates of ADHD diagnosis may be an alarming headline, Dr. John Walkup, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, found some positive news when looking at rates of prevalence and treatment. In his view, the data suggest that the increasing diagnosis rate of ADHD is getting closer to the true prevalence of ADHD, which is even higher.

"We've been working so hard for so long to improve treatment," Walkup said. "If the prevalence rate is 9 to 11% and we're getting 8% currently diagnosed, it suggests that the public advocacy for treatment is paying off."

Walkup, who wrote an editorial in the same edition of the journal but was not involved in the study, pointed out that the survey found that only 70% of diagnosed children were getting treated. "It's hard to argue that we're overtreating."

But Dr. Allen Frances, former chairman of the psychiatry department at Duke University, is wary.

"The numbers shouldn't be taken at face value. The history of psychiatry is a history of fads, and we are now suffering from a fad of ADHD," Frances said. He says the rates have tripled over the past 15 years because of sales pressure from pharmaceutical companies selling stimulants to treat ADHD.

"We are medicalizing immaturity and turning childhood into a disease," Frances said.

Susanna Visser, lead author of the study, says she understands Frances' concern. She pointed out that according to the survey, more than half of ADHD diagnosis were done by age 6.

"A lot of symptoms of ADHD, like hyperactivity, can also be appropriate developmental markers of age," she said. "You have to see a more 'wait and see' approach. Can they better be attributed to other things: sleep, divorce, trauma? A lot of things can look like ADHD, and once those symptoms aren't appropriate for a child's age, then we need to get treatment."

Visser, an epidemiologist with the CDC, added, "I don't think we have our doctors out there labeling children irresponsibly. In general, physicians are trying to help children with their needs."

soundoff (164 Responses)
  1. Island Shadow

    I'm thinking the reason for the increase is due to surveillance being far superior than before. ADHD as a diagnosis only came about around 1989, which is not that long ago.

    November 22, 2013 at 18:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Senor Hombre

      There can't be that many sick kids, sounds like someone is making a bundle.

      November 25, 2013 at 14:11 | Report abuse |
    • MoodyFoodie

      The answer in a nutshell: "He says the rates have tripled over the past 15 years because of sales pressure from pharmaceutical companies selling stimulants to treat ADHD."

      That and parents wanting a quick fix.

      November 25, 2013 at 15:25 | Report abuse |
    • Artria

      Too many kids per teacher. Especially in the early years when they are still learning independence in learning and doing their work properly. I took my "ODD – Oppositional Defiant Disorder" 6 year old son out of school and from the first couple of months of schooling (and seeing the work he brought home) to only a month with me, he has progressed a lot. He no longer draws all over his school work, but gets it done with assurance that he won't be waiting long for me to come back to him and move on to something else. He gets time to draw as he wants, cut, paste, and tape his artwork daily. It costs around $700 a year to home school (LifePac Bible based is what we chose), and requires a parent to become the teacher, but it is worth it if he can continue learning without all the teacher notes, meetings, and stress. He misses the playground and kids, but he has siblings, neighbor kids, and other family kids to make up for it. We got him a Nabi jr. and he loves it. He really only had a "self control" issue and we have worked on it over the years as he becomes more aware of his choices and how they affect others. There really are other factors that can torment kids and make their behavior worse. Kids are not dumb. They hear your tone, how other kids talk, and how adults talk about them. I teach him that I know he is smart, but he has to communicate or other people won't know just how smart he has become: It's not "I can't" it's "I can't because __"

      November 25, 2013 at 21:26 | Report abuse |
  2. Kay Cushing

    Since diagnosis gives students extra time on tests and quizzes, front row seats in class, special help for all assignments, opportunities to redo work or turn in assignments beyond the deadline, and behavior problems cannot be written up, of course it is rising. My goodness, you'd be a terrible parent if you didn't pay the fee to get your child these accommodations. In ten years of teaching, I have never had a student that went for testing that didn't get a learning difference diagnosis. Some of these students had already earned 5's on multiple AP exams, 4.0+ GPAs, and top 5% on PSAT and SAT. In psychology, you can meet all of the criteria for a disorder but if it doesn't impair normal daily functioning, it isn't diagnosed as such, that needs to be added to the learning difference diagnosis as well. If you can earn top scores without accommodations/modifications, than in my opinion, you don't have a true learning disorder.

    November 22, 2013 at 21:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • kb

      I couldn't have said it better....parents don't understand that their child's IEP (individualized education plan) is no longer individualized because EVERYONE has one now. We have a homeroom in my school with 29 students, 14 of them have accommodations for "testing in a small group". When 14 of them are sent out for testing, guess who actually gets the small group setting?
      This is not to say that there aren't legitimate cases of ADHD, I've seen the face of real ADHD and it's brutal. But the majority of kids are over-diagnosed and then drugged. At this point if your kid isn't on Adderol or Ritalin, they're at a disadvantage. Guess what some of the most commonly abused drugs on college campuses are?

      November 26, 2013 at 05:43 | Report abuse |
    • DP

      If you can't properly distinguish between the proper use of the words "than" and "then" after ten years of teaching, perhaps you shouldn't complain about students have issues learning in the classroom.

      November 26, 2013 at 08:27 | Report abuse |
    • DP

      Correction, "having issues"

      November 26, 2013 at 08:29 | Report abuse |
    • PianoJim

      You are right. The "extra time on tests" scam has been around for a while now. How about then having 2 kinds of tests, timed & untimed, but make each available for all?

      November 26, 2013 at 12:14 | Report abuse |
    • Heidi

      I am in agreement with you...to an extent. My son has ADHD...was diagnosed at a young age. He has an IQ of 156, yet due to his ADHD, it does not show in his test scores. He just cannot focus while testing for long periods of time. Though we have found that he seems to be able to manage on his own, without the meds for the last two years. A request that was brought up by him and agreed upon by the both of us after a long discussion. Sometimes the meds stifle who the child really is and makes them feel like a zombie. I don't agree that all children need to be on the meds. This is a life long issue and we as parents need to help our children learn how to cope so that they will be able to do so on their own once they are adults, with or without the meds.

      November 26, 2013 at 12:21 | Report abuse |
    • Heidi

      Also, please keep in mind that one thing which normally coincides with ADD and ADHD is IQ, most people that truly have it are normally rather brilliant, same as some mental health issues. ADD and ADHD run in my family. My father is ADD, has the IQ of a genius, Uncle, Cousin....all extremely bright. So please, do not judge the children on IEPs with special testing rules as you don't always know the background. And I agree that the meds are pushed way too much by doctors.

      November 26, 2013 at 12:27 | Report abuse |
  3. jdrch

    I might be the only person who thinks the reason for this is simply parents failing to parent and get their children to settle down and focus. Back in my day they sure straightened you out. Rarely see parents do that today, now kids are growing up relying on a bottle of pills to get through daily life. Sad.

    November 22, 2013 at 22:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KRG

      @ JDRCH Let me tell you..... You are flat out wrong. We have 2 of our 4 kids with ADHD. We make sure they swim 5 days a weeks doing laps for an hour and a half. We tried cutting out sugar, and our entire evenings were spent for getting our one son to "focus". He struggled in the classroom and at home to complete work just to get low B's. Within the week of putting him on medication, he was completing classwork right on time and homework went from 3 hours to 30 minutes. Considering our 1st and 3rd child are ADHD free, and our parenting skills have not changed, your theory on bad parenting is baseless and hurtful.

      November 23, 2013 at 16:48 | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      All kids don't fit in the same mold. Some of our greatest thinkers and innovators would have been diagnosed as ADHD. While there Are behavior problems that drugs may lessen they also may stymy creative and imaginative thought.

      November 23, 2013 at 19:46 | Report abuse |
    • jac

      i myself had trouble focusing in class room and studies. I think it is something to do with the brain and the chemical called dopa main. I would say free them from medication and let them figure this out by themselves. A strong support from family is required parents should not divorce. This is not disability..this is: nature designing us not to learn anymore because it is hurting the planet believe it or not. If nature can design human beings it knows how to fix it too and make a better one.

      November 23, 2013 at 22:22 | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Right on jdrch. Drag that kid to the wood shed with switch and we'll learn them something good.

      November 25, 2013 at 11:09 | Report abuse |
    • Daniela

      Right you old crank..."might makes right"....that will straighten them out for sure! People that use children as punching bags should be put away.

      November 25, 2013 at 14:41 | Report abuse |
    • justasportsnut

      Back in your day, child abuse wasn't a crime either.

      November 25, 2013 at 14:47 | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      I think it might be worth turning off all wireless devices at home and school (hardwire them instead) to see if there is a positive change in some of the children who suffer from ADHD. Think about it – the use of wifi, cellphones, laptops (on wifi) has increased at an incredible pace in recent years – almost a perfect correlation with the increase in ADHD. There are scientific studies that show a negative effect on memory in students exposed to wifi.

      This strategy might not be the answer for all kids, but it is worth a shot and does not involve medication. In addition to hardwiring technology, I would recommend limiting access to online gaming and social media. Physiological addiction to the internet/devices is also impacting the ability of some kids to focus in class when they are physically forced to separate from their devices for a short bit.

      November 25, 2013 at 20:06 | Report abuse |
    • Athena

      Do you have a child that has been diagnoisedwith ADHD? Do you know anyone who has ADHD? How dare you judge parents of these special children when you clearly have no idea what you are talking about. It is a terrible situation for both the kids and the parents. These children get judged as bad kids when in actual fact they cant help themselves. My son is a perfect example. He is branded by his pre school as a bad child and gets treated badly because he is over busy and cant focus. Not nice for him at all. When you talk to him about what he did and why he is in trouble he will tell you that he was trying not to do it but he couldn't help himself, his brain just wouldn't listen and he keep climbing up the roof or tree or what ever it is he is doing wrong. People like you make me very angry for judging when you obviously don't know what you are talking about.

      November 26, 2013 at 07:31 | Report abuse |
    • jdrch

      As I said, I'm pretty sure my opinion is in the minority. Thanks for you input 🙂

      November 27, 2013 at 21:44 | Report abuse |
  4. Aurthor

    Climate Change might be the answer.

    November 23, 2013 at 06:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Portland tony

    I was a hyper active kid before ADHD was even a diagnosed problem. But then again I had open space to roam and play until I was exhausted and organized/unorganized sports to keep my super active behavior under control. There was ALWAYS something to do during my adolescent and teenage years. The attempts at medication were a joke and just took the fun out of being young. In retrospect, every kid I knew was hyper-active to some degree. I'm sure glad they have found a cure for being young and active! LOL

    November 23, 2013 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Caroline

      My most successful friends were the ones with probably ADHD when they were young. Thanks God they did not get medicated, otherwise they would end up to be "average" people by now.

      November 25, 2013 at 13:14 | Report abuse |
  6. John30303

    Of course the number of cases is rising, from 0% in 1988 on towards 100%. As long as this "invented" disease keeps getting federal funding. (Somebody's got to make the greedy Drs. & Pill Co.'s presidents' house, car, boat, etc payments.)
    This is what happens when a group of self-serving – soft – scientists are allowed to create or eliminate "diseases" by ballot. And – soft headed – bureaucrats continually approve the new diseases for funding.

    November 23, 2013 at 14:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jill

      I keep seeing that this didn’t exist until 1988-89 but in 1979 I had a boy in my 1st grade class that was ‘hyperactive.’ We had a special talk about him and his disorder and were told to be patient with him. He would leave and go take meds at the nurse etc. Looking back it was classic ADHD today. It just wasn’t as common.

      November 24, 2013 at 07:58 | Report abuse |
    • pattysboi

      ADHD is NOT "an invented disease". It is REAL. Get compassion for others.

      November 25, 2013 at 21:38 | Report abuse |
  7. cdmar

    Perhaps this rise could be explained by too much unnecessary noise and children's lack of ability to find a place of peace and quiet? An unnamed state that I moved from several years ago had a noise problem of epidemic proportions and no noise control laws whatsoever beyond the minimum 10PM law. I remember thinking to myself how sorry I felt for the children living in the area and wondering what the long term effects would be on their brain development. I would be interested to find out specifically where these rises in AHDH are occurring: is it evenly rising in all types of environments or just in areas of increased population concentration.

    November 23, 2013 at 17:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MoodyFoodie

      Interesting. No one in America has probably heard of this as a concern. From the youngest age Americans are constantly over-stimulated. Walk into any average American home at any given time, the TV will be on. No one may be actually watching, it will just be there making noise. All baby toys have to flash and make noise. People give their toddlers iPads to play with instead of silent wooden toys or stuffed animals. I read about a study years ago contrasting the numbers of children in the US with NL and part of what they observed was that in the NL it was considered important for babies and young children to have quiet and not be over-stimulated. Dutch parents were much less likely to take a baby out shopping or to a noisy environment with them as much as an American would.

      November 25, 2013 at 15:30 | Report abuse |
    • Didi

      That is an interesting theory. Overstimulation of all kinds can have a negative effect on children, and as an adult I'm not too fond of it either. Realistically, noise pollution may be one of a number of possible triggers for the disorder. I am an adult diagnosed with ADHD in my early 30's. I grew up in a rural area relatively free of noise pollution but routinely coated in pesticides and herbicides (another potential trigger). As a child my parents noticed they could control my hyperactivity by giving me coffee, and most days I kept busy doing farm chores or playing outside. I succeeded in school without medication, not that it would have been available back then in any case, and I would consider myself fairly successful as an adult, too.

      I'm not a fan of medication for kids or adults except when necessary, but when my kids reached their teenage years I really struggled to support them in their chosen extracurriculars and study schedules. I kept forgetting things, and I felt like my kids were missing out on things they worked hard to enjoy. My doctor suggested a low dose stimulant, and it made a world of difference.

      That's just my case, and the next person over might not have the same experience. For me, medication wasn't necessary until the compensatory behaviors I developed over a lifetime ran into something they couldn't overcome. My doctor never suggested it, but I've made it a priority to continue improving my coping skills. I don't want to keep taking pills forever if I can adapt to a more hectic schedule or if things calm down once my kids head to college.

      November 25, 2013 at 23:17 | Report abuse |
  8. chrissy

    Hey @ Portland Tony, so very nice to see you again! As for ADHD, its much harder to deal with in an adult. However ive noticed diet does have a great affect on it. Glucose in high doses in your diet seems to make it more noticable. If you trim that down the ADHD is not so bad. Just sayin.

    November 24, 2013 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Amy

    I agree that ADHD is a true disorder; however, it is way overdiagnosed. Some kids just need to be kids and exercise and play. When we take away gym and recess, it is perfectly normal for kids to be hyper, and that is not a disorder. WE force young kids to sit still in a desk, which is not how kids learn at that age. Think about this before drugging your kid.

    November 24, 2013 at 09:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Robin

      Drugging my child? He is not drugged. He is medicated to help him think clearly, concentrate, and to function.

      November 26, 2013 at 08:08 | Report abuse |
  10. Matt

    Oh give it a rest. Over 6 million adults take these medications and they are life savers for people like me who are suffering from ADHD. People claim abuse.. HA. What happens if you take a huge amount? You don't go out partying like on molly all night. You sit down and write essays and do math homework all night. Leave the ADHD users alone, we're not bothering anyone.

    November 24, 2013 at 09:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Matt

    OH and someone please provide me ANY proof that these medications are killing people at alarming rates. Caffeine kills more per year. This isn't METH. That single methyl group makes a huge difference. This is a harmless drug used in appropriate and therapeutic doses.

    November 24, 2013 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. chrissy

    Agreed @ Matt, wish you could talk to my friend. He refuses to take the meds for it at all!!! Therefore he rarely finishes whatever task hes on before hes off tearing up the house to start another one! Its frustrating!

    November 24, 2013 at 11:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bill the Cat

      We call those "engineers"

      November 26, 2013 at 09:42 | Report abuse |
  13. chrissy

    Another observation ive made is he is extremely intelligent. That leads me to believe that his brain is working incredibly fast, hence before he finishes one project hes on to the next! And a perfectionist at every single one of them!!!

    November 24, 2013 at 13:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Portland tony

    @chrissy..good to see your posts..........I find it ironic that many ADHD diagnosed teens refuse to take their Adderall or Ritalin mainly because it makes them feel "stupid and dull"...Yet at the same time other teens crave them because of their stimulating effect and for better focus especially around finals. Somehow I'm reminded of the visual images of an old "Pink Floyd" video of "The Wall" where the chorus is singing "We don't need no education.......". If you want well behaved Zombies, give em all Adderall.....They won't even think out of turn! LOL

    November 24, 2013 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. chrissy

    Lol, oh my i hadnt even thought of that @ Pt but youre right, he had to be referring to ADHD when he wrote that song. Just proves my theory! ADHD is a brain on overtime!

    November 24, 2013 at 21:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. SuZieCoyote

    I grew up a dreamy and unfocused child in the 60's. We didn't have ADHD diagnoses so much. I sat in a classroom in Kansas where the teachers did everything they could to make me "normal." The problem was that they couldn't make me think about the things they wanted me to think about, when they wanted me to think them, and in the way they wanted me to think about them. In other words, they could not encourage, entrain or threaten my spirit into their mold. Now I am an adult making 3-6 times the salary they will ever see; paid to think – on my own terms. Now they have pills for their conditioning. I shudder to think what would have happened to me had I been drugged into submission. This isn't a rant against teachers (though I has some horrors), but is a rant against the way we "educate" in general, which doesn't fit all people and stifles creativity.

    November 25, 2013 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Jo

    What rubbish. There's something seriously wrong with our society when pharmaceutical companies are allowed to get away with convincing people to over-medicate perfectly normal children like this. History won't be kind on this fad.

    November 25, 2013 at 08:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Filioque

      Amen to that. Note that these diagnoses are mainly targeted toward boys who exhibit perfectly normal boy behavior.

      November 25, 2013 at 14:06 | Report abuse |
  18. Eddard

    To clarify some misinformation.
    ADHD is a diagnosis that has been in the DSM from DSM-III-R published in 1987. (Currently DSM-5). Previously, it was known as "Hyperkinetic Reaction of Childhood" in the DSM-II in 1968, and ADD (no H) in DSM-III in 1980.
    ADHD is not an overactive brain. It is the opposite. The frontal lobe is under-activated. ADHD comes from a deficit in what's called the executive functioning. The person in "Chrissy's" post sounds more like hypomania rather than ADHD.

    November 25, 2013 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. ThomasE

    My daughter was diagnosed at the age of 8, unfortunately my once artistic and creative daughter no longer wishes to paint and play her piano but her test scores have gone up. Looking back she was a "hyper" active child and her cravings for sweets didn't help. Looking back I wonder if I made the right choice placing her on "medicine" to placate her "hyperactivity" or was there some other way she could continue to maintain her high (B+) math scores while retaining that joy I saw in her eyes while she was painting and playing her piano.

    November 25, 2013 at 09:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Caroline

      :(( Very sad. I hope you get back your creative child.

      November 25, 2013 at 13:18 | Report abuse |
    • pattysboi

      You did indeed make the right choice for your child.

      November 25, 2013 at 21:41 | Report abuse |
  20. Carly Gravning

    Why is the first answer always medication? Giving kids amphetamine and cocaine-like (Ritalin) drugs should not be taken lightly. These are hard drugs that cause addiction and who know what other side effects we don't know of yet. Personally, I think diet plays a big part in the ADHD diagnosis increase. Most kids today eat a diet with virtually no fish-based omega 3; which inhibits proper brain function and development. People of Norwegian or German descent have been historically accustomed to eating a diet high in omega 3 fish; such as salmon, sardines and herring. Since most white Americans have German or Norwegian heritage (at least here in the midwest anyways), our present lack of omega 3 may play a significant part in the increase of childhood learning disorders.
    I was diagnosed with ADHD at a young age. After struggling with it my whole childhood and adult life and trying every medication under the sun, I have found my attention and memory to have drastically improved after changing my diet to include at least 8 ounces of fatty fish a week; with no other significant dietary or lifestyle changes. Since then, I have discontinued all medication and have never felt more focused and capable in my life. I now feed my daughter the same diet and she has never had any attention problems or otherwise at school.

    November 25, 2013 at 09:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pattysboi

      Not everyone can eat seafood, you know. My wife is HIGHLY allergic to seafood, and when a well-meaning elderly lady from our church started preaching about Omega-3, I had to sit her down and explain to her that fish oil could KILL my wife. She no longer preaches to us about it.

      November 25, 2013 at 21:43 | Report abuse |
    • Robin

      Nope. What might have worked for you doesn't work for everyone. And cocaine like drugs? Do some more research on ADHD, please.

      November 26, 2013 at 06:52 | Report abuse |
  21. mmmm.........shmeat!

    A nation of simpletons is getting even dumber. Outstanding! More psychotropic drugs for children. More processed, sugar-laden fast food crap for the tots. Big Pharma knows best!

    November 25, 2013 at 10:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. oldbones24

    After many years of working with these children I have formed a possible cause.... I would ask my parents, of the children, if they had any alcohol the night the child was conceived... 80% answered yes. 10% weren't sure, the rest can't remember.

    November 25, 2013 at 11:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Valerie

      Older moms, older eggs....that is the only difference today ...........sorry but the truth hurts. Babies are for the young, not 35+ year olds............

      November 25, 2013 at 13:03 | Report abuse |
    • Dawn

      This is total BS....Not only had I not consumed alcohol or any other type of illegal substance prior to, during or after the birth of my son he was still diagnosed at the age of 3. Do I believe it is over diagnosed....Absolutely, however, shame on you for your broad general statement that is ridiculous. And if you truly do work with adhd children....shame on you!!

      November 25, 2013 at 13:08 | Report abuse |
    • Robin


      I had a very normal pregnancy. No complaints whatsoever. Now what else have you got up your sleeve?

      Warning: Parents of ADHD children are going to be flooding this page very soon to help educate all of you!

      November 26, 2013 at 07:03 | Report abuse |
  23. aj

    Now we want our kids like machine- robot. Teachers and schools now want perfect kid in their class. Parents have little options but to follow school teacher continuous complaints. May be this is putting much more stress on parents and kids to adjust school behavioral requirement. Look around at other school system in world. They have many more kids in each classroom and doing far more better in our schools here. Drug companies, doctors & teachers have got together in perfect business.

    November 25, 2013 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Mom

    I don't think a lot of kids were MEANT to sit in a classroom all day. It's just not how humans evolved. Sadly this is what society expects, but kids with ADHD do very well in homeschool situations. They need to move, etc.
    I would never resort to medication just so the child could function in a classroom. Instead, I'd change the environment, be it Montessori, homeschool, etc.
    Kids used to work on farms most of the year...no time for ADHD! Keep kids moving and active.

    November 25, 2013 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lindsey

      Take them out of school and let kids be kids!

      November 25, 2013 at 15:51 | Report abuse |
  25. ConcernedMom

    There's a lot more to this than experts have yet to discover. My son has a formal diagnosis of ADHD from both a neurologist and a pediatric physchologist (he's 9). Frustrated from ADHD med side effects my son experienced (after much hesitation to put him on meds in the first place), I had his pediatrician run a series of blood tests. What did we discover? In addition to being anemic among other metabolic imbalances, he has severe type 2 delayed immune response allergies to many foods, mostly wheat and milk. After correcting his diet and vitamin defiencies (too long to post), he no longer displays ADHD typical behaviors and is no longer on medication.

    November 25, 2013 at 12:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Victor

    Here's an idea...kids are little spazes, and not precious little treasures, they always have been and always will be. Get over it.

    November 25, 2013 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jessie

      Until you know any thing about ADHD keep your yap shut and get over it.

      November 29, 2013 at 22:16 | Report abuse |
  27. Valerie

    Older new moms, older eggs they are fertilizing. It is really as simple as that.

    November 25, 2013 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kelly

      That's crap... I'm older than my friends were when they had their kids and it's their kids diagnosed with ADHD... not mine...

      November 25, 2013 at 13:46 | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      You're an idiot.

      November 25, 2013 at 20:59 | Report abuse |
  28. Fill

    Related, I found this to be very interesting:


    He touches on ADHD and surprisingly, ADHD diagnosis is very muck linked to where you live, which really makes no sense. The implication is that ADHD is more of a social and cultural declaration than a real clinical disease.

    November 25, 2013 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sanjay

      You idiot,medicine is evidence base, if you how to read , do some research. May be you have ADHD and need some help! All hyperactive kids are not ADHD. They have definite diagnostic criteria!
      Educate yourself. CDC is not funded by pharmaceutical co.!!!!!!!

      November 25, 2013 at 20:20 | Report abuse |
    • IndianaGreg

      "CDC is not funded by pharmaceutical co.!!!!!!!"
      –Keep telling yourself that

      November 26, 2013 at 13:21 | Report abuse |
  29. RN

    I am parent of a child diagnosed with ADHD, inattentive type, meaning that he is not hyper, just has a hard time focusing. I thought like many of you for years and delayed having him tested/treated. I learned the hard way that not treating ADD as a real medical condition and not wanting my son on meds only hurt him. After years of struggling, failing a grade, and coming close to failing again I gave in and had him tested and treated. I tried everything: various punishments, rewards, even hired a tutor to help him. Nothing worked. He came home one day (at 12 years old) and cried to me that he couldn't focus and that he was trying so hard. I finally caved in and now he is medicated. Guess what? He went from struggling to pass to being a B and C student! He feels confident in himself, and got into the Talented Art program at his school. I now feel terrible for not helping him sooner. I let him struggle for years, and punished him for something that was beyond his control. All because I was afraid of the stigma that comes from medicating a child. People who judge parents for trying to help their child have obviously never dealt with this issue. Every child is different, and how they are treated will vary, but I can say 100% that by me changing my thoughts and agreeing to medicate my son, I have greatly improved his life.

    November 25, 2013 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • llynn49

      Reading all these comments is aggravating. I too had the same experience as you did. My daughter struggled for years. Once she was diagnosed, I had a hard time choosing to use a stimulant and SO many people remarked how inappropriate it was. My daughter (14 years old) has improved tremendously since she's been taking medication. She has the inattentive type also. It turns out, not treating this causes much more serious problems, especially in females. Thanks for sharing your story. Hopefully, situations like ours will shed some light. Most feel the need to be judgemental without knowing any of the real facts.

      November 26, 2013 at 08:17 | Report abuse |
  30. Lindsey

    Take them out of school and let kids be kids!

    November 25, 2013 at 15:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. BC

    My thoughts echo RN's post. Until you are dealing with an ADHD child, you have absolutely no idea. We finally had our daughter diagnosed and put on medication - and it has completely opened up her world. She now has friends, is learning in school, and is mastering fine motor skills like art (which she lacked before, because she didn't have the attention span to get through anything). Our home life is no longer a constant battle zone. She is absolutely not an overmedicated zombie - she's an extremely smart, witty, and happy child.

    November 25, 2013 at 16:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • llynn49

      Yes, we had the exact same experience. My daughter's social skills and creativy skyrocketed since she's been treated.Her grades have also improved. Girls who are not treated tend to engage in risky behavior as they get older. It's aggravates me that so many people judge parents like us without having the experience we have! My daugther's condition got much worse with anxiety, then depression and the medication has defintely helped. She's no longer zombie-like, since part of her brain that wasn't working, now is!!!

      November 26, 2013 at 08:24 | Report abuse |
  32. joy

    I call BS. My daughter was not put on medication until one day at 12 she came home and was in tears because she felt she couldn't cope anymore on her own. So we put her on meds. She is still the same girl. She still loves dance and art, she can just focus better. The medication is not a cure all either. These children will always be ADHD. The medications are not zombie producing. If your child is zombie like then you need to adjust the dosage. These drugs are stimulants to anyone that is not truly ADHD. In other words, if a non ADHD child is put on them, they will have the opposite effect the drug should have.

    November 25, 2013 at 16:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. T.rex

    Simply put... children are not hard-wired to sit in a chair, in a classroom for 8 hours a day and listen to lecture... Their ancestors were out hunting woolly mammoths. I'll go as far as to say the supposed "ADHD" kids are actually the normal ones.

    November 25, 2013 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Educated mom

    For all the people out there who think ADHD, ADD, Depression, etc. are not "real" medical diseases, you are wrong. It is people like you that actually makes it even harder for people with those illnesses to improve thier illnesses. My son is now 16 and has been on medications since he was 12. I knew when he was 8 that he had ADD. He is not hyper, he just struggles to foucs. He couldn't even sit at the table and do simple homework if the window was open, because a bird chirpping would cause him to zone out and lose where he was. We tried therapy and tudors, but neither helped. It took me 4 years to break down and try medicine. I finally decided to try because his ADD/depression had gotten to the point that he was suffering socially and was diving into deep depression. Do you know what it is like to have a 12 year old tell you they think about killing themselves and don't know why or how to make it stop? To have your child cry because other kids do not understand why he can't concentrate in class. I do. It's one of the most devastation things a parent can deal with. As for meds, It takes allot of trial and error with these, and when they are balanced, he is a very happy, healthy, and positive teenager. Sure, he has teenager issues, but they don't make him want to hurt himself. He is old enough now to know when his meds start to stop owkring and we get right in and change them. For people with ADD or ADHD, stimulant drugs do not act as an "upper. But for normal people, it does. So, for all those people out there who want it because it keeps them going, it is just a legal form of cocaine for them. People shouldn't judge or speak on things they know nothing about.

    November 25, 2013 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • llynn49

      Thanks for sharing your experience. Our experience mirrors yours to a T. I too resisted the meds but gave in out of desperation and I'm so thankful I did. We have a different child now, noticing changes daily.

      November 26, 2013 at 08:34 | Report abuse |
  35. gardengirl

    Yale University did a study on the babies of pregnant mice that had a cell phone on their cages throughout their pregnancy. The babies had a huge rate of ADHD. Scary stuff.

    November 25, 2013 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Ken McGarrity

    I think a lot of diagnosis of ADHD is BS. When you were a kid, weren't you a little hyper?

    But while I think a lot of kids are misdiagnosed, perhaps we should seriously start looking into what we're feeding our kids. The most shocking things I've found recently is the fact that food coloring increased ADHD behavior. The EU has banned a slew of artificial food colorings because of its adverse affects, yet the US continues to hold onto the belief that it's harmless. I'm really starting to wonder now if big companies and the FDA really are really looking out for our health, as well as our children's health.

    November 25, 2013 at 19:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Justjoe

    Why is DenCare, aka Obamacare, aka ACA put in the 'Politics' Section and not the 'Health' Section on CNN, the state run news agency?

    November 25, 2013 at 21:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Doctors & Pharmas need to make money, too, ya know!

    Profits are slipping – they need more "sick" people to keep up their standard of living.

    November 25, 2013 at 22:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. mac101

    There was no incentive to have a diagnosis until we had a way to treat it; once we had the drugs, voila! we had kids with ADHD. Not unlike the current explosion in the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, another over-diagnosed and over-treated mental health mess.

    I have seen real cases of bipolar disorder and ADHD, and their response to medication can be miraculous. But both are over diagnosed to the point of causing real damage.

    A lot of 'hyperactivity' in a classroom setting is in reality an unrealistic expectation that children can sit still for long periods of time – they can't. Back in the day when more kids walked to school, or had farm chores, or just plain played outside, kids had a way to work off some of their energy.

    November 25, 2013 at 22:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. chrissy

    Thank you so very very much for that info @ Eddard! Thats something i had never heard of but it definitely gives me a place to start! So again thank you! Eternally grateful!

    November 26, 2013 at 00:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. chrissy

    And @ ThomasE, if you are the same thomasE that used to post on "This Just In" site it was very nice seeing you again also!

    November 26, 2013 at 00:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Scadscask

    dSxkiJiegYrD [url=http://www.isdl-coaching.de/modules/moncler/]moncler jacken[/url] wWhsrAukfUxO [url=http://www.chickendancetrail.com/jordan-12.asp]Air Jordan 12 Taxi[/url] eLwbtOrvuQxJ [url=http://www.nofuel.no/templates/beez/canada_goose.html]canada goose[/url] aRmmtQrtjLcV [url=http://www.puvab.se/includes/moncler/]Moncler Rea[/url] oIyvjDkllIbE [url=http://www.samoffice.nl/libraries/uggs/]goedkope UGGs[/url] wGkarSwbnMaW [url=http://www.printpoint.nl/libraries/openid/canada_goose_outlet.html]Canada Goose Jassen[/url] aZbizSxxyOgS [url=http://lacais.aisnet.org/plugins/content/Jordan_12.html]Jordan 12 Taxi[/url] zOdjxPrvbQoZ [url=http://www.sunsetpictures.ca/cache/canada-goose/]canada goose outlet[/url] oEvlhYzbvRqU [url=http://www.communitychildrensmuseum.org/includes/domit/Jordan_11.html]Air Jordan 11 Bred[/url] hVisbVwrcLrC [url=http://www.plymouthvets.com/nikefreeshoes.php]Nike Free Shoes[/url]

    November 26, 2013 at 02:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Robin

    I am also a Mother to a child who was diagnosed with ADHD in March of 2012. I live in the third largest city in Kentucky and I have not found another child with ADHD. I keep reading posts about more and more children being diagnosed with it, yet I wait to meet other children like mine and to give parents assistance, support, and knowledge.

    My 7 year old is not a bad child. He is medicated because we tried other treatments first with no luck – dairy and gluten free, eliminating certain dyes, natural oils and supplements. My son was struggling to keep up socially and academically with his peers and was failing. After deciding to make him repeat Kindergarten and medicating him that year (Concerta), he improved tremendously.

    I guess he's your typical child of ADHD: intense hyperactivity, inattention, impulsiveness. He doesn't get invited to birthday parties although he's loving, funny, and curious. Medication has been a godsend. Without it (and therapy), he would still be crying in school and at home because of his inability to keep thoughts straight and many other things. Now he's able to process information easier and is a much happier little man.

    I'm blessed to have a great support system, too. My family, his school, therapists, and pediatrician – we all work so well together to help my son succeed. I'm still waiting to meet other parents of ADHD children!

    November 26, 2013 at 06:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Jennifer


    November 26, 2013 at 08:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alisha

      Agreed!! No real parent wants to put a label on their child!

      November 26, 2013 at 12:36 | Report abuse |
  45. Kim

    I am a 48 year old female with ADHD. I grew up being made to sit on my hands in class, told to go draw in the library during math class . yelled at for not paying attention or not finishing things. My childhood was a nightmare, I hated school and it was lucky I had a high IQ and was able to overcome all the abuse I put up with from nasty teachers and ignorant adults. I did not get a diagnosis until I was in my 20's. When I took meds for the first time it was like a curtain was lifted and I coudl focus and maintain attention on anything I wanted to. I suffered for all of my childhood becuase I had ADHD and no one knew about it then. IF there are children like me out there that are suffereing like I did and treated like they are special needs when in fact they are smarter then 99% of the other kids and just had ADHD, I hope they get the treatment they need and I hope that the ignorant people who think ADHD is not real can just zip thier mouths and leave the kids alone.

    November 26, 2013 at 09:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. PianoJim

    MoodyFoodie says it right. HUGE $$$ to drug companies, who ply the "Doctors" with free samples, free trips, etc.

    November 26, 2013 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • vgnsnr

      Let's maybe stop bashing the pharmaceutical companies for a second. This (mostly made up disease) is also heavily promoted by the self interests of all sort of "therapists", by teachers and parents playing "doctor" – and let's not forget the schools and school districts. There is money involved for each and every kid that gets some kind of "SPED" diag.
      The entire movement is an atrocity and a crime against those children. They suffer from inept and absent parents and a horrible evermore centralized government school system.

      How to fix it? Hard to say. Broken "modern" families play a role. The screwed up education system. The feminization of schools, work and communication as a whole plays a role (I have nothing against women, this is just an observation seeing that these "diseases" affect more boys than girls). Absent fathers, full-time working moms after drive-by deliveries, test-obsessed school systems, changing rules as to what is considered "appropriate" behavior. Folks getting "offended" all the time for nothing really. It all ads up.
      And then there is the moral hazard of monetary interests in this at all levels (parents, schools, "therapists" and doctors, pharma, etc).

      November 26, 2013 at 12:45 | Report abuse |
  47. Alisha

    How disgusting to see such rude, ignorant & judgmental comments being posted. I am the mother of an ADHD 7yr old. He has comes leaps & bounds since diagnosis. My son has NEVER gotten extra time to take test, if anything he's received extra time for classroom work, but do you know when that time is? During his recess!! But never for a test. My son has never been allowed to use his ADHD as an excuse & will never be allowed to. He is held to the same standards as everyone else in his class. Before I got him help he was bringing home D's & F's because he could not focus. He literally could not tell me what he had eaten for lunch because he could not focus on what he was doing! He is now all A's sometimes B's. When I asked him what he did at school I don't just get a blank stare anymore, I get stories, I get to know how my son's school life really is!! I was 21 at birth, I breastfed, & had a very healthy pregnancy. My son is extremely smart, but before he couldn't focus long enough to give an answer that he already knew. He used to get so upset & cry and tell me how stupid he was. How he was always in trouble & couldn't do things he knew he was supposed to. I was in the same spot a lot of you were. I though ADHD was b.s. an excuse, ect. But my son was my wake up call. I pray you get wise on the subject WITHOUT having to see someone you love more than life it's self struggle, to be made to feel like a bad person, to be made to feel stupid, or be made fun of for their fidgets. I've been there! We tried punishments, groundings, you name it! They do not work, and at the end of the day IF your child or you has ADHD it won't! Therapy helps, sometimes medicine helps, sometimes it can be as easy as teaching cooping skills. But they need your help! Not your criticism. If you were sick or someone you loved was sick... how mad would it make you to have someone try to tell you that your alignment isn't real, that its made up & that you just want the easy street so you didn't have to do this or that?? My heart goes out to all those who are struggling with ADHD whether its their own fight or a loved ones.

    November 26, 2013 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Matt Schwartz, MD

    How about insufficient sleep? How about two working parents? How about sugar toxicity? How about the cognitive effects of more and more GMO / pesticide / Persistent organic pollutant-laden foods? Get your kids in bed early. Cook them a good breakfast and send them to school with a healthy lunch every day (like I do) – and your kids will be fine. Without the psychostimulants!

    November 26, 2013 at 13:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Abby

      Matt, what sort of doctor are you? Certainly not one who practices EVIDENCE BASED medicine.

      December 3, 2013 at 15:56 | Report abuse |
  49. ThomasE

    I would like everyone to know that these diagnosis come from subjective testing (DSM). Currently there is no scientific biological method to determine amounts of brain chemicals. (ie. dopamine, seratonin,etc) The symptoms are "treated" with medications that alter existing brain chemistry. However, measuring brain chemicals are not as precise as say blood testing.

    In retrospect I think I took away my child's creativity and personality only to superimpose higher test scores and elicited societal behaviors. Fortunately after my divorce the issue of medicating our child can be fought in the courts. I doubt however the court will side in the best interest of the child and instead rely on subjective "psychologist" hyperbole. Well, good news is I can hire a psychologist to contradict the other psychologist's testimony. lol

    November 26, 2013 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Len

    The history of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder......http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3000907/

    November 26, 2013 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3

Leave a Reply to Crystal


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

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.