Study: 12% of US Kids Diagnosed With ADHD
But some experts say that's not a bad thing
By Michael Harthorne, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2015 5:11 PM CST
Study finds more girls and minority children are being diagnosed with ADHD, which means we need some new stock photography.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – More than one in 10 US children between the ages of 5 and 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. That means about 5.8 million kids have the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder for US children. The study looked at surveys of more than 190,000 kids between 2003 and 2011, Reuters reports. It found diagnosis rates rose 43% over that time to the point 12% of US children were diagnosed with ADHD in 2011. But that's a "good thing," according to Healthline. "Some people would look at that and say we’re just diagnosing too many kids,” an American Academy of Pediatrics spokesperson says. “I see that some of it is encouraging in many kids who have been under-diagnosed in the past may now be getting diagnosed.”

ADHD was historically mostly diagnosed in white boys, Reuters reports. But the study found diagnosis rates for girls rose 55% between 2003 and 2011. “It is possible that female adolescents may have different forms of verbal aggression than male adolescents," study co-author Sean Clearly explains to Healthline. “It’s not particularly surprising if you have teenagers." Similarly, diagnosis rates rose for older teens (52%), Hispanic children (83%), and black children (58%). Researchers don't believe more kids actually have ADHD than they did in 2003 and are less worried about possible over-diagnosis than children who need help not getting it. According to Healthline, increases in diagnosis rates mean more kids who need medication have access to it, allowing them to do better in school.