A recent article published in the New York Times has drawn concern to parents nationwide. The article stated that with statistics taken from the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 6.4 million children ages 4-through-17 have received a diagnosis for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) during some point in their lives. That represents a 16 percent increase since the year 2007, and a 41 percent rise in the past decade alone. The disorder is now seen in 11% of the nation’s children.
“I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was just five,” said an anonymous high school graduate. “But the prescribed meds just made me feel out of it. It was harder to concentrate in school without them, but worth it so that I could feel like myself.”
Causes of ADHD remain elusive to researchers. Professionals have suggested a number of things, from environmental factors to tobacco and alcohol use during pregnancy. Whatever the cause, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder seems to be on the rise in America’s children. Or at least, the diagnosis of it.
In March of this year, the American Academy of Neurology warned of the dangers involved with prescribing these medications to healthy children, particularly because while most of these medications can improve the lives of those with ADHD, they can also lead to anxiety, addiction, and more severe mental disorders (cbsnews.com).
Whether false positives, increased screening or the actual disorder itself is on the rise, it is important now more than ever that parents and children alike communicate their needs with their teachers and doctors. Help is always out there.