ADHD Is on the Rise – Why and What Can Be Done to Help?
Although the latest statistics compiled by the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University are now a few years old, there is every reason to believe that they are rising even faster than they were in 2015. In fact, the numbers are rising so rapidly that many of the largest research organizations and teaching universities are funding studies to follow this trend.
Not only are they seeking answers to why these numbers are rising so quickly but they are looking at treatments currently on the market and those in the process of being developed. This being said, if you as an adult, or a child in your care, may be suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, it is imperative that you see someone to help you find the right course of treatment for your particular diagnosis.
A Decade of Concern
In 2003, it was calculated that approximately 12% of teens and children had a diagnosis of ADHD and within just a decade that figure jumped significantly. By 2011 there had been a 43% increase in the number of young people diagnosed with this disorder and by all estimations, that rate is rising even faster. In 2015, it was estimated that just under 6 million children under the age of 17 had a definitive diagnosis and with the rapidity of further diagnoses, psychiatrists and physicians are becoming increasingly alarmed.
Living with ADHD
Anyone who has been diagnosed with ADHD understands what is meant by 'suffering from this condition.' No, it is not an illness or disease in the typical understanding of a medical condition, but it is a medical condition nonetheless. There are definite physiological factors which are the root cause of ADHD and although medication can help, there are other therapies that can be beneficial as well. In fact, some people rebel against controlling the disorder with medications and so it becomes all the more important to seek alternative treatments such as counseling and special educational opportunities.
Another Look at Those Statistics
Another way of looking at just how rapidly the number of people with this diagnosis is rising, it might help to compare percentages. In 2003, it was estimated that about 4.3% of children 17 and younger had a valid ADHD diagnosis but by 2011 that figure had jumped to a surprising 7.3%. That's three percentage points in just eight years! If the figures keep rising at this rate, it will not be long before one-quarter of the population is hyperactive with an extremely short attention span.
While there is no one theory on why this phenomenon is occurring, some thought is being given to the fact that we are expecting our youth (and adults!) to sit for inordinate amounts of time in front of a computer screen. In other words, we are simply not allowing for all that energy to be expended. At some point it just boils to the surface and erupts into almost uncontrollable movement. Unfortunately, there really isn't any evidence to substantiate that as it is just a theory as are those who believe it is additives in our water and food supplies. No matter what the underlying causes for such a significant rise in the number of those receiving this diagnosis, it is a condition that is hard to live with and should always be treated by experts in the ADD/ADHD arena.