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Trends in the Parent-report of Health Care Provider Diagnosed and Medicated ADHD: United States, 2003—2011
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  • Alternative Title:
    J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry
  • Description:

    Data from the 2003 and 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) reflect the increasing prevalence of parent-reported ADHD diagnosis and treatment by health care providers. This report updates these prevalence estimates for 2011 and describes temporal trends.


    Weighted analyses were conducted with 2011 NSCH data to estimate prevalence of a parent-reported ADHD diagnosis, current ADHD, current medication treatment, ADHD severity, and mean age of diagnosis for US children aged 4–17 years and among demographic subgroups. A history of ADHD diagnosis (2003—2011) as well as current ADHD and medication treatment prevalence (2007–2011) were compared using prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals.


    In 2011, 11% of children aged 4–17 years had ever received an ADHD diagnosis (6.4 million children). Among those with a history of ADHD diagnosis, 83% were reported as currently having ADHD (8.8%); 69% of children with current ADHD were taking medication for ADHD (6.1%, 3.5 million children). A parent-reported history of ADHD increased by 42% from 2003—2011. Prevalence of a history of ADHD, current ADHD, medicated ADHD and moderate/severe ADHD increased significantly from 2007 estimates. Prevalence of medicated ADHD increased by 28% from 2007—2011.


    An estimated two million more US children aged 4–17 years had been diagnosed with ADHD in 2011, compared to 2003. More than two-thirds of those with current ADHD were taking medication for treatment in 2011. This suggests an increasing burden of ADHD in the US. Efforts to further understand ADHD diagnostic and treatment patterns are warranted.

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