According to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1 in 10 kids in the United States are diagnosed as having ADHD each year—and that number is continuing to rise. The one upside? Experts say it's at least leveling off.
ADHD is marked by a child's difficulty paying attention or controlling impulses, and the diagnosis has actually been rising steadily since the late 1990s; hence our growing familiarity with it. While it's commonly treated by either drugs, behavioral therapies or some combo of the two, the medical community has caught a lot of flack over the last decade or so about over-diagnosing and over-treating kids.
So what's behind the rise? Experts aren't really sure if doctors are just on the hunt for it more, or if it's all to do with heightened parental awareness. Either way, some 6.5 million children in the U.S. have currently been diagnosed with the behavioral disorder–which is 11 percent of kids between the ages of 4 and 17. And the majority of kids now being diagnosed with it are identified by age 6.
While ADHD diagnoses were increasing at a rate of 6 percent each year in the mid-2000s, that acceleration has started to slow a bit: It's now increasing at a rate of about 4 percent each year. But researchers are thinking this has something to do with the fact that the medical community has merely caught up a bit, and diagnosed many of the kids living with the disorder already.