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CDC report: ADHD diagnosis on the rise in the United States

According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, close to one in five high school age boys and 11 percent of all school-age children in the United States have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The findings were part of the Centers' study of children and health, in which the agency interviewed more than 76,000 parents across the country.

As The New York Times reports:

The figures showed that an estimated 6.4 million children ages 4 through 17 had received an A.D.H.D. diagnosis at some point in their lives, a 16 percent increase since 2007 and a 53 percent rise in the past decade. About two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis receive prescriptions for stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, which can drastically improve the lives of those with A.D.H.D. but can also lead to addiction, anxiety and occasionally psychosis.

And as the Times notes, these numbers are likely to grow as the American Psychiatric Association prepares to expand the definition of the disorder, opening up the possibility of medicating many who wouldn't have previously qualified for the diagnosis.

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