Study Finds More U.S. Children Struggling With ADHD; Warns of Misdiagnosis



Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia affects one in five children across the United States. Unfortunately, 48% of parents still believe — incorrectly — that their children will outgrow these cognitive difficulties.

According to CNBC, researchers from the University of Iowa found that 10.2% of U.S. children between the ages of 4 and 17 years old had been diagnosed with ADHD during a 2015-2016 survey, up from 6.1% from the late 1990s. ADHD was already considered one of the most common conditions among children, and this recent spike shows just how prevalent it really is.

“With the continued increase of this condition, it is very common now,” said Dr. Wei Bao, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa and one of the authors of the study published in JAMA Network Open.

In order to find the rampancy of ADHD, researchers took a look at data on 186,457 children collected in the National Health Interview Survey, an in-person annual survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“There might be multiple reasons [for the increase]. First, doctors and health professionals are better at knowing this condition than previously,” added Dr. Bao. “Second, the public is more aware of this condition, increasing the possibility of affected kids being screened and diagnosed. Third, biological factors may also play a role.”

Despite these findings, medical professionals suggest that some of these ADHD diagnoses could be incorrect. What the findings more accurately show, is that a lot of U.S. children are having general difficulties, which could be associated with ADHD, but could just be due to various circumstances.

“The increased rigor of kindergarten is leading to a lot of false identifications of ADHD,” added Amie Bettencourt, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. What the surveys are telling us, “is that a lot of children are struggling with social, emotional and behavioral difficulties.”

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