More ADHD Diagnoses, Less Treatment?

More children are being diagnosed, and at an increasingly younger age, but the CDC wonders if they are receiving all the services they need to manage the condition.
ADHD News Feed | posted by Wayne Kalyn

A new study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) found that an estimated 2 million more children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) between 2003-04 and 2011-12. One million more U.S. children were taking medication for ADHD between 2003-04 and 2011-12.

According to CDC scientists, children are commonly being diagnosed at a young age. Parents report that half of children diagnosed with ADHD were diagnosed by six years of age, but children with more severe ADHD tended to be diagnosed earlier, about half of them by four.

"This finding suggests that there are a large number of young children who could benefit from the early initiation of behavioral therapy, which is recommended as the first-line treatment for preschool children with ADHD," says Susanna Visser, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lead author of the study.

Nearly 1 in 5, or 18 percent, of children with ADHD did not receive mental health counseling or medication in 2011-2012. Of these children, one-third were reported to have moderate or severe ADHD.

"This finding raises concerns about whether these children and their families are receiving needed services," says Dr. Michael Lu, of the Health Resources and Service Administration.

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