ADHD affects 1 in 9 kids in US, new report reveals: ‘Shame and stigma’

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One in nine kids in US diagnosed with ADHD

Clinical psychologist Dr. Kevin Gilliland on what is behind rising ADHD diagnosis on children.

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Diagnoses of ADHD continue to rise among U.S. youth, affecting one in every nine U.S. kids.

Approximately 11.4% of U.S. children (7.1 million) have received an ADHD diagnosis at some point, and 10.5% (6.5 million) currently have the disorder, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Researchers analyzed data from the 2022 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), which measured the prevalence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder diagnoses among kids between 3 and 17 years of age.

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The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology on May 22.

"Pediatric ADHD remains an ongoing and expanding public health concern, as approximately one million more children had ever received an ADHD diagnosis in 2022 than in 2016," the researchers wrote.

Child at computer

Diagnoses of ADHD continue to rise among U.S. youth, affecting one in every nine U.S. kids, a new report revealed. (iStock)

Among the children who currently have the disorder, more than 58% have moderate or severe ADHD, and nearly 78% have at least one other disorder, the study found.

Around half of the children are taking some form of medication for their ADHD, and nearly 45% have received behavioral treatment in the past year.

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Just over 30% had not received any treatment for ADHD, the study also found.

"The prevalence of diagnosed ADHD varies by sociodemographic factors," the researchers wrote.

"It is more common in boys, children living in lower-income households, children with public health insurance and children living in rural areas."

Why the rise in ADHD?

Dr. Tasha M. Brown, a New York child psychologist and owner and founder of TMB Psych Services, said the findings did not surprise her.

"There is so much more conversation around mental health and what symptoms of ADHD look like," Brown, who was not involved in the study, told Fox News Digital.

Kid ADHD

Among the children who currently have the disorder, more than 58% have moderate or severe ADHD, and nearly 78% have at least one other disorder, the new study found. (iStock)

"As a result, I think parents and caregivers are more aware of what to look for, and they are reaching out to providers for answers and a diagnosis sooner rather than later."

There are also many more factors affecting children’s mental health, Brown said — "especially dealing with the impact the pandemic has had on schooling, activities and friendships … As a result, we are seeing more children presenting with hyperactivity and attention and impulsivity."

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Dr. Lisa Sheinhouse, director of community programs at Ohel Children's Home and Family Services in New York, agreed that there is more awareness and education about neurodivergent disorders like ADHD and autism.

"Our society has learned to let go of the shame and stigma around these diagnoses, and that's empowered parents to become more informed and ask for help," Sheinhouse, who was also not involved in the study, told Fox News Digital.

What can parents and families do?

For parents who have children with ADHD, it is important to think about the ways in which their child’s ADHD symptoms are impacting their overall functioning, Brown said.

"For many children, symptoms of impulsivity, inattention and/or hyperactivity significantly impact their functioning in the school setting," she noted.

Young kids walk to school

For parents who have children with ADHD, it is important to think about the ways in which their child’s ADHD symptoms are impacting their overall functioning, an expert said. (iStock)

"Therefore, I advise parents to check in with teachers to make sure their child is receiving the appropriate accommodations in the classroom setting."

Parents should also focus on creating and maintaining structure in the home and supporting ongoing routines for a child with ADHD, Sheinhouse added.

"Pediatric ADHD remains an ongoing and expanding public health concern."

"This is important because a child with ADHD can be triggered by plans suddenly changing, especially without explanation," she told Fox News Digital.

"You can teach your child executive functional skills like time management and provide tools (like apps) to help them remember things, stay on time and feel independent."

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Medication isn't always necessary and shouldn't be the first solution, according to Sheinhouse.

"However, never say never, because sometimes it's something to consider to give your child better function. Medication is another tool in the toolbox and should be a personal decision based on the child."

Young girl taking medication

Medication isn't always necessary and shouldn't be the first solution, according to one expert, but is "something to consider to give your child better function." (iStock)

While medication management can be a "game changer" for some kids with ADHD, Brown noted, it can be a "hard decision" for parents.

"We do know that the research is clear that medication management in combination with mental health treatment is the most effective," she said.

"I advise parents to speak with a psychiatrist who specializes in working with children and adolescents about their medication management options."

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Overall, Brown said, early intervention is key to helping kids thrive.

"If parents think that their child is struggling with attentional difficulties, it is crucial that they reach out for support," she said.

Fox News Digital reached out to the study authors requesting further comment.

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.

Melissa Rudy is health editor and a member of the lifestyle team at Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to melissa.rudy@fox.com.

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