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ADHD Rates Soar in U.S. Kids: Study
Date:11/10/2010

The 53 percent increase in ADHD diagnosis since 2003 among Hispanics means providers are going to have to be sensitive to the needs of this group as well, Visser added.

Much of the increase may be driven by better screening programs and more awareness and diagnosis, Visser said.

The report is published in the Nov. 12 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

One expert isn't surprised by the numbers.

"I believe the findings are generally accurate and consistent with most research in detailing the rapid and rather disconcerting rise in the diagnosis of ADHD in U.S. children," said John D. Ranseen, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.

The rapid rise in diagnosis, which is not necessarily equivalent to a rise in the actual condition, must be due in part to cultural factors -- a willingness to label certain symptoms as indicating ADHD, increased cultural acceptance of doing so and increased dissemination of information labeling ADHD as a "condition," he said.

Other, more vague, cultural factors may also play a role, Ranseen pointed out.

"For instance, increased stress to complete as much schooling as possible within a lousy economy," he noted.

"Another very uncomfortable issue is the role of pharmacological companies in all of this since it is very much in their interest to increase the diagnosis and treatment of this condition. The last thing they have any interest in seeing is a drop in the diagnosis and treatment," Ranseen said.

"One would hope that such findings might give the mental health field pause to wonder and worry about why we are seeing increases in virtually all psychiatric conditions -- autism, depression, ADHD, bipolar in children -- for instance, what does this say about our society?" Ranseen added.

But another ADHD expert, Dr. Jeffrey Brosco, professor of pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Med
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