Just How Common Is ADHD?

Attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) -- in children and adults -- is more common than you might have thought.

AD/HD is more common than doctors may have previously believed, according to a new study from the Mayo Clinic.

The report, published in the March 2002 issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, shows that AD/HD affects up to 7.5 percent of school-aged children. The National Institute of Health, using information from previous studies, had estimated the number of children with AD/HD to be between 3% - 5% of the population.

"The 7.5 percent incidence of AD/HD from the current study includes subjects who met the most stringent research criteria and are likely to represent cases that most clinicians would regard as true cases of AD/HD," says William Barbaresi, M.D., a Mayo Clinic developmental and behavioral pediatric specialist and lead author of the study. "This study represents what we believe to be the largest population-based study of the occurrence (incidence) of AD/HD to date."

According to Barbaresi, the AD/HD cases in the Mayo study were identified on the basis of rigorous research criteria, including a clinical diagnosis and extensive supporting documentation. Researchers also obtained comprehensive information about study subjects from both medical and school records.

Although the results from the Mayo Clinic study are higher than the generally accepted 3% - 5% figure, AD/HD experts warn that many children and adults who could benefit from appropriate treatment still remain undiagnosed. Doctors in one study estimated that only one in eight children who qualify for diagnosis actually receive medication for their AD/HD.

 

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