HealthDay News — More than one in 10 children and adolescents had an attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis in 2011, an increase of 42% in less than a decade, according to the CDC.

This equates to approximately 2 million more children who were diagnosed with the disorder in 2011 than in 2003, Stephan J. Blumberg, PhD, of the CDC’s division of health interview statistics, and colleagues reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

They analyzed data from the 2011 National Survey of Children’s Health to estimate prevalence of parent-reported ADHD diagnosis, current ADHD, current medication treatment, ADHD severity and mean age of ADHD diagnosis for U.S. children/adolescents aged 4 to 17 years.They then compared the findings to historical data from surveys conducted from 2003 to 2007.

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In 2011, a total of 6.4 million children/adolescents (11%) had ever received an ADHD diagnosis, the researchers found, 69% of whom (3.5 million) were taking medication for the condition.

This represents a 42% increase in parent-reported history of ADHD from 2003 to 2011. Furthermore, prevlance of ADHD history, current ADHD, medicated ADHD and moderate-to-severe ADHD also increased significantly during this time period, according to the researchers. From 2007 to 2011, the prevalence of medicated ADHD cases increased 28%.

“Efforts to further understand ADHD diagnostic and treatment patterns are warranted,” the researchers concluded.


  1. Visser SN et al. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2013; doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2013.09.001.