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Is ADHD on the rise or is it easier to diagnose?

Readers of our Saint Louis Social Security Disability Law Blog have probably heard the warning that statistics can be as misleading as they are helpful. Statistics certainly help explain some very important phenomena and issues. They can also be manipulated or misinterpreted when the “why” behind some numbers is ignored.

Statistics show that over the past decade, the number of kids that have been diagnosed with the mental disorder commonly referred to by its acronym, ADHD, has significantly increased. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder affects an individual’s ability to control impulsive behaviors and can make it difficult to pay attention -- symptoms that affect learning now and could follow a child into their career.

According to recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are currently 6.4 million children that have been diagnosed with ADHD. That accounts for approximately 11 percent of the population of kids, defined as aged 4 to 17. That number was an increase of 1.5 percent from numbers in 2007 and a 3.2 percent total increase from 2003.

What do these statistics really show? Do they explain an increase in the prevalence of the disorder or show the improvements that have been made in the ability to recognize the disorder?

No matter what the answer is, statistics like these show that a large percentage of the population is affected by this disorder. In fact, these numbers show that it is one of the most prominent chronic conditions amongst children.

Statistics such as this one can help raise awareness and make changes, like prompting the addition of qualifying mental disorders to the Social Security disability listing of impairments.

Source: Disability Scoop, “More Than 1 In 10 Kids Diagnosed With ADHD,” Shaun Heasley, Nov. 25, 2013

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Alan E. DeWoskin, P.C.
225 South Meramec Avenue, Suite 426
St. Louis, MO 63105

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