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ADHD affects 1 in 9 children in the United States, new report finds: shame and stigma

ADHD affects 1 in 9 children in the United States, new report finds: shame and stigma


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ADHD diagnoses continue to rise among American youth, affecting one in nine American children.

About 11.4% of American children (7.1 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD at some point, and 10.5% (6.5 million) currently have the disorder, according to a study by 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 children ages 3 to 17.


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

“Pediatric ADHD remains an ongoing and growing public health problem, with approximately one million more children diagnosed with ADHD in 2022 compared to 2016,” the researchers wrote.

ADHD diagnoses continue to rise among American youth, affecting one in nine American children, a new report found. (iStock)

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

About half of children take some form of medication for their ADHD, and nearly 45 percent have received behavioral treatment in the past year.


Just over 30% had received no treatment for ADHD, according to the study.

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

“This is more common among boys, children living in low-income households, children with public health insurance, and children living in rural areas.”

Why the rise of ADHD?

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

“There's so much more discussion around mental health and what ADHD symptoms look like,” Brown, who was not involved in the study, told Fox News Digital.

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

“As a result, I think parents and guardians are more aware of what to look for and are turning to providers for answers and diagnosis as soon as possible.”

There are also many other factors affecting children's mental health, Brown said, “especially when it comes to the pandemic's impact on schooling, activities and friendships. As a result, we are seeing more and more children with hyperactivity, attention and impulsivity.


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 surrounding these diagnoses, which has empowered parents to become more informed and seek help,” said Sheinhouse, who also did not participate in the study, at Fox News Digital.

What can parents and families do?

For parents who have children with ADHD, it's important to think about how their child's ADHD symptoms affect their overall functioning, Brown said.

“For many children, symptoms of impulsivity, inattention and/or hyperactivity have a significant impact on their functioning in school,” she noted.

For parents who have children with ADHD, it's important to think about how their child's ADHD symptoms affect their overall functioning, an expert said. (iStock)

“Therefore, I advise parents to check with teachers to ensure their child is receiving appropriate accommodations in the classroom.”

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

“Pediatric ADHD remains a current and growing public health problem.”

“This is important because a child with ADHD can be triggered by a sudden change in their plans, especially without explanation,” she told Fox News Digital.

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


Medication is not always necessary and should not be the first solution, according to Sheinhouse.

“However, never say never, as sometimes it is something to consider to allow your child to function better. Medication is another tool in the toolbox and should be a personal decision based on the child.”

Medication isn't always necessary and shouldn't be the first solution, one expert says, but it is “something to consider to help your child function better.” (iStock)

Although medication management can be a “game changer” for some children with ADHD, Brown noted, it can be a “difficult decision” for parents.

“We know that research clearly shows that medication management, combined with mental health treatment, is most effective,” she said.

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


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

“If parents think their child is suffering from attention difficulties, it is crucial that they seek help,” she said.

Fox News Digital has contacted the study authors for additional comment.

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