(HealthDay News) — An average 6.1 million clinician visits in 2012 to 2013 were made by children aged 4 to 17 with a primary diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a January data brief published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
The number represents 6% of all children’s visits to a clinician in 2013, senior author Jill Ashman, PhD, a statistician with the NCHS, told HealthDay. The percentage has increased from a decade earlier, when 4% of clinician visits were related to ADHD, she said.
The ADHD visit rate was more than twice as high for boys as for girls. Boys visited a clinician at a rate of 147 per 1,000, compared with 62 per 1,000 for girls. Forty-eight percent of visits for ADHD by children were with pediatricians. Thirty-six percent were with psychiatrists and 12% were with family clinicians. The authors note that 29% of ADHD visits also included diagnosis of an additional mental health disorder. These included episodic mood disorder and anxiety.
Eight out of 10 clinician visits for ADHD resulted in a prescription for a central nervous system stimulant drug, including methylphenidate, dexmethylphenidate, and amphetamine/dextroamphetamine. The study was intended to assess the amount of child health care directed to ADHD, and does not speak to whether the disorder is being overtreated or undertreated, Ashman said.
- Albert M, Rui P, Ashman JJ. Physician office visits for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents aged 4-17 years: United States, 2012-2013. NCHS Data Brief, no 269. 2017.