Attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder that most often occurs in children.
Symptoms of ADHD include trouble concentrating, paying attention, staying
organized, and remembering details.
It can be a difficult condition to
diagnose. Children with untreated ADHD are sometimes mislabeled as
troublemakers or problem children. Make sure you know the basic facts and
symptoms of ADHD.
5 Fast Facts
- Males are almost three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than
- During their lifetimes, 12.9 percent of men will be diagnosed with the
attention disorder. Just 4.9 percent of women will be diagnosed.
- The average age of ADHD diagnosis is 7 years old.
- Symptoms of ADHD typically first
appear between the ages of 3 and 6.
- ADHD isn’t just a childhood
disorder. Today, about 4 percent of American adults over the age of 18 deal with
ADHD on a daily basis.
There are demographic factors
that impact the risks of being diagnosed with ADHD. Children living in
households where English is the main language are more than four times as likely to be diagnosed as children
living in households where English is the second language. And children living
in households that make less than two times the federal poverty
have a higher risk than children from higher-income households.
Certain conditions might affect
certain races in different ways, but ADHD impacts children of all races. From
2001 to 2010, the rate of ADHD among non-Hispanic black girls increased 90 percent.
ADHD affects children of all races, including:
- whites: 9.8%
- blacks: 9.5%
- Latinos: 5.5%
are also diagnosed at different ages. Detecting symptoms differs from case to
case, and the more severe, the earlier the diagnosis.
- 8 years old: average age of diagnosis for children with mild ADHD
- 7 years old: average age of diagnosis for children with moderate ADHD
- 5 years old: average age of diagnosis for children with severe ADHD
On The Rise
Cases and diagnoses of ADHD have
been increasing dramatically in the past few years. The American Psychiatric
Association (APA) says that 5 percent of American children have ADHD. But the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) puts the number at more than double the APA’s
number. The CDC says that 11 percent of American children, ages 4 to 17, have the
attention disorder. That’s an increase
of 42 percent in just eight years.
Increase in Diagnoses:
- 2003: 7.8%
- 2007: 9.5%
- 2011: 11 %
An estimated 6.4 million American children ages 4-17 have been diagnosed
with ADHD. The incidence of ADHD is higher in some states than others. Generally,
states in the Western parts of the United States have the lowest rates of ADHD.
Nevada has the lowest rates. States in the Midwest seem to have the highest
rates. Kentucky has the highest rates.
- Nevada: 4.2%
- New Jersey: 5.5%
- Colorado, 5.6%
- Utah: 5.8%
- California: 5.9%
- Kentucky: 14.8%
- Arkansas: 14.6%
- Louisiana: 13.3%
- Indiana: 13.0%
- Delaware and South Carolina:
Currently, 6.1 percent of all American
being treated for ADHD with medication. Some states have higher rates of
treatment with medication than others. One in five American children who has been diagnosed with ADHD
is not receiving medicine or mental health counseling for their disorder.
Lowest Rate of Treatment
- Nevada: 2%
- Hawaii: 3.2%
- California: 3.3%
- Alaska, New Jersey, and Utah:
- Colorado: 3.6%
Highest Rate of Treatment
- Louisiana: 10.4%
- Kentucky: 10.1%
- Indiana and Arkansas: 9.9%
- North Carolina: 9.4%
- Iowa: 9.2%
ADHD & Other Conditions
ADHD doesn’t increase a person’s
risk for other conditions or diseases. But some people with ADHD — especially
children — are more likely to experience a range of co-existing conditions. They
can sometimes make social situations more difficult or school more challenging.
Some co-existing conditions
- learning disabilities
- conduct disorders and
difficulties, including antisocial behavior, fighting, and oppositional defiant
- anxiety disorder
- bipolar disorder
- Tourette’s syndrome
- substance abuse
- bed-wetting problems
- sleep disorders
Cost is a major factor when it
comes to how a condition affects someone. Treatment plans and medications can
be expensive, and planning around payment can be stressful. A study from 2007 claimed
that the “cost of illness” for a person with ADHD is $14,576 each year. That
means ADHD costs Americans $42.5 billion dollars each year — and that’s on the
conservative side of ADHD prevalence estimates.
Medicines and treatments aren’t
the only costs to consider when dealing with an ADHD diagnosis. Other factors that
can make a dent in your pocketbook include:
- education expenses
- loss of work
- juvenile justice
- healthcare costs
Boys and girls display very
different ADHD symptoms, and boys are much more likely to be diagnosed with the
attention disorder. Why? It’s possible the nature of ADHD symptoms in boys
makes their condition more noticeable than it is in girls.
Boys tend to display externalized
symptoms that most people think of when they think of ADHD behavior, for
- impulsivity or “acting out”
- hyperactivity, such as running
- lack of focus, including
- physical aggression
ADHD in girls is often easy to
overlook because it’s not “typical” ADHD behavior. The symptoms aren’t as
obvious as they are in boys. They can include:
- being withdrawn
- low self-esteem and anxiety
- impairment in attention that may lead to difficulty with academic achievement
- inattentiveness or a tendency to
- verbal aggression: teasing,
taunting, or name-calling