ADHD In Children Reach 'Astronomical' Numbers: Are Kids Being Misdiagnosed?

Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is on the rise. Overall, the number of school-age boys that have been diagnosed with A.D.H.D is 11 percent. It's estimated that one in every five high-school-age boys has been diagnosed with the disorder.

Prescription drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall are taken by about two-thirds of children diagnosed with ADHD. This medication, administered to help improve the lives of the kids, can also lead to side effects such as anxiety and psychosis is some cases. It's not uncommon for those taking the drugs to become addicted.

Some medical experts believe that the diagnosis of ADHD in children is overused in the U.S., and overprescribed for. As the New York Times reported, "Mild symptoms are being diagnosed so readily, which goes well beyond the disorder and beyond the zone of ambiguity to pure enhancement of children who are otherwise healthy," New Haven pediatric neurologist and Yale School of Medicine professor Dr. William Graf said.

Data obtained about ADHD diagnosis rates estimated that during their lives, 6.4 million children between ages 4 through 17 were diagnosed with ADHD. This new rate is a 53 percent hike in the past ten years and an increase of 16 percent since 2007.

"Those are astronomical numbers. I'm floored," Graf said.

Many physicians and patient advocates view the rising rates as proof that there is better acceptance and recognition of ADHD. On the other hand, the new rates also suggest that millions of children may be misdiagnosed with ADHD and are being prescribed medication to modify their behavior in school. 

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