ADHD Diagnoses on the Rise

Attention deficient-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a serious behavioral illness that impedes one’s ability to focus and concentrate. A person who suffers from ADHD may also suffer from an inability to plan, memory problems, anxiety, anger problems, and difficulty maintaining employment.

According to a recent report, the number of children who suffer from the disorder is on the rise. The report shows that currently 11% of children aged 4 to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD – which marks a 16% increase since 2007, the last time that researchers at Centers for Disease Control (CDC) did a comprehensive survey regarding ADHD. The information shows that the rise in ADHD diagnoses has been most significant for boys, with an estimated 1 in 5 high school boys diagnosed with ADHD.

Why has the number of ADHD diagnoses increased?

The increase in ADHD diagnoses seems dramatic, which has caused many to wonder what has caused the increase. But some experts suggest that the increase in ADHD diagnoses may not be as significant as it seems for a couple of reasons. First, the information was obtained from parents reporting on ADHD diagnoses during telephone interviews, which are not as reliable as information provided from medical or school records. Second, data that was collected from medical and school records suggests that ADHD rates among children are actually somewhere between 7.5% and 9.5%, rather than the 11% as indicated by the recent report.

What is the appropriate treatment of ADHD?

Some experts have expressed concerns about possible misdiagnosis of ADHD. According to Dr. William Barbaresi, director of the developmental medicine center at Boston Children’s Hospital, “By definition, ADHD requires that symptoms have to have a significant effect on life [and to] say that a tenth of all children have a biologic condition that affects their life enough to call it a disorder just does not make sense.”

The study also raises concerns about the proper treatment of ADHD, since about two-thirds of the children diagnosed were treated with stimulant medications that can improve attention but also come with side effects. If it turns out that these children didn’t actually have ADHD, it could result in overuse of medications, according to Dr. Thomas Power, director of the center for management of ADHD at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Overmedication can have significant implications for a child’s long-term mental and physical health, especially since ADHD drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall have been linked to dramatic weight loss and suppressed growth. Other experts fear that overmedication could alter the “natural arc of children’s social and creative development.”

Am I entitled to disability benefits for ADHD?

For some patients, medication may be the only option to treat ADHD and, in some cases, a patient’s ADHD may be so serious that the person is unable to work as a result of the condition. If this is the case, you may be entitled to receive Social Security disability benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability, either for yourself or on behalf of your child.

The Chicago disability attorneys at Ankin Law Offices, LLC are dedicated to protecting the rights of persons with disabilities and medical disorders. Contact the Chicago disability lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC at (800) 442-6546 to learn more about obtaining Social Security disability benefits as a result of ADHD.