ADHD prevalence rates are increasing. According to a 2011 report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers found a 27% increase in the prevalence of ADHD compared to the prior ten year period.
Many debate the causes of this increase with theories ranging from genetics, diet, environmental factors, sedentary lifestyle, and other causes.
The authors of the report, however, state that the increase is likely due to better diagnostic screenings and a greater recognition of the condition among parents, teachers, and society in general.
So how common is ADHD in the general population? In their 2010-2011 report, the Centers for Disease Control reports the following statistics about ADHD in the United States:
ADHD Prevalence In Children
* 5 million children (9% of all children in the US) have ADHD.
* Boys (12.3%) continue to be more than twice as likely than girls (5.5%) to have ADHD.
* The incidence of ADHD diagnoses increased an average of 3% per year between 1997 and 2006.
* The average age of onset of ADHD is 7.
* Overall, the rate of ADHD in boys increased from 10 percent to 12.3 percent, and the rate of ADHD in girls increased from 3.6 percent to 5.5 percent.
* The rate of ADHD among African-Americans, while traditionally lower compared to whites, is now increasing and approaching parity. The rates of ADHD among Puerto Rican and Mexican children is the lowest of all groups.
* More than half of children diagnosed with ADHD receive medication treatment (56-66%).
* Children between 9 and 12 years of age have the highest rates of medication treatment.
* Poorer children have consistently higher rates of ADHD. Households with family incomes below the poverty line and families that receive Medicaid have higher rates of ADHD compared to the national average.
* Overall health is a factor. Children who have fair or poor health status are more than twice as likely to have ADHD.
* See Graph: In western states, the prevalence of ADHD is lower than the national average.
* 41% of children with ADHD also have Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD).
* 22% of children with ADHD display minor Depression (Dysthymia), and 22% have major Depression.
* 15% of children with ADHD have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
* The most common subtype of ADHD is Inattentive, followed by Combined type (Inattentive and Hyperactive-Impulsive), and Hyperactive-Impulsive type.
* Children with ADHD are more likely to have a parent with ADHD compared to the general population.
* In April 2006, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reported that the prevalence of ADHD among American adults is 4.4%.
* Adults with ADHD are at increased risk of other mental illnesses (depression, anxiety), substance abuse, addiction (gambling), and other conditions.
* Adults (and children) with ADHD are more likely to be involved in accidents and spend more time in hospital emergency rooms.
* In 2000, the estimated cost of ADHD was $31.6 billion, with most of that going to healthcare costs and $3.7 billion for lost work and productivity.
* ADHD creates burdensome healthcare costs for individuals, estimated to be between $12,005 and $17,458 annually per individual.