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CDC Report: Record Number of ADHD Diagnoses
posted by: Ruthie | April 01, 2013, 08:28 PM   

All teachers have had that student – the teenage boy whose eyes constantly dart around the classroom, pencil constantly tapping, foot bouncing incessantly under his desk. These cases seem to be business as usual for most educators. While it may be simple for doctors to diagnose these antsy students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), its exponential growth rate warrants further investigation into this growing medical trend.

Since 2007, ADHD diagnoses have increased by 16% nationwide. Currently, one in five school-aged boys receive a medical diagnosis of ADHD. Similarly, 7% of girls are diagnosed as ADHD.

"Those are astronomical numbers. I'm floored," said Dr. William Graf, a pediatric neurologist in New Haven, Connecticut and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine. He added, "Mild symptoms are being diagnosed so readily, which goes well beyond the disorder and beyond the zone of ambiguity to pure enhancement of children who are otherwise healthy."

Parents and teachers who notice a child's grades slipping or an inability to pay attention in school, often immediately blame ADHD. With pharmaceutical ads endorsing ADHD and ADD medications constantly bombarding adults, this diagnosis is at the forefront of both parents', doctors', and teachers' minds when they notice "abnormal" behavior in students. While medication can be helpful to students with severe cases of ADD and ADHD, students often disregard the health risks and dangers of chemical dependence. Unfortunately, medications are often sold to other students, increasing the danger medical prescriptions.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) DirectorDr. Thomas R. Frieden likened the rising rates of stimulant prescriptions among children to the overuse of pain medications and antibiotics in adults. "We need to ensure balance," Dr. Frieden said. "The right medications for ADHD, given to the right people, can make a huge difference. Unfortunately, misuse appears to be growing at an alarming rate."

Teachers, if you are interested in learning more consider these tips from the American Association of Pediatrics or these tips by Dr. Hallowell.

What do you think about the CDC's report?

Comment below.

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