Rates of ADHD among the US population are going up

The dominance of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or as known as ADHD, has continued to increase considerably among adults in the United States within the last several years, new research suggests. The study, published recently, found rapid growth rates of adults diagnosed with ADHD regardless of whether they were first diagnosed as an adult or child. Notably, there was “around 44% increase in the rate of adults being newly diagnosed over the 10-year period,” said Dr. Michael Milham, vice president of research at the Child Mind Institute in New York, who was a senior author for this research. He further added that this increase might be the result of ADHD being diagnosed more often. “In short, I believe the clinical community is recognizing that ADHD is not just a disorder of childhood, and we cannot turn a blind eye to its negative outcomes,” Milham stated. “I was encouraged by the fact that the recognition of ADHD in adults is increasing and disparities decreasing, though alarmed by the substantial work still needed to remove such disparities,” he further added. “Our study offer hopes that ADHD is increasingly being recognized and treated in adults and will motivate future population studies to further assess diagnosis rates and trends,” he added.

The research included diagnostic data from the electronic health records of more than 5.3 million adults who received care at Kaiser Permanente Northern California. The researchers took a close look at the statistics to anticipate annual prevalence rates for diagnosis of ADHD, as well as any racial differences. They found that whereas the yearly adult ADHD dominance increased for every race during the research period, there were lower rates of detection among ethnic minorities, and white adults consistently had the maximum prevalence. Overall, the rate of annual ADHD incidence among adults rose from 9.55 diagnoses per every 11,000 people in the year 2007 to 13.59 per 11,000 people in the year 2016, the researchers found. Prevalence rose from 0.45% in 2007 to 0.95% in 2016, according to the research.

However, the research had some limitations, including that it did not study what happened after diagnoses were made, for instance, which treatment approaches were utilized; and the research only involved adults seeking medical care within Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

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