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Science of Health: Why Are So Many Kids Being Diagnosed with ADHD?

GUEST: Dr. Deborah Budding is a board certified neuropsychologist who works with children, adolescents, and adults in the greater Los Angeles area. She has co-authored multiple publications emphasizing habit formation and non-conscious subcortical brain contributions to function, and is a supervising faculty member at Harbor-UCLA’s neuropsychology training program.

*This story was originally broadcast on July 13, 2015.

It’s the diagnosis that most parents dread: ‘your child has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).’ Today increasing numbers of parents are facing the prospect of dealing with developmental diagnoses such as ADHD, administering drugs like Ritalin or Adderall, and, whether or not they decide to medicate their kids, of helping them manage educational and social expectations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in 2003, 7.8 percent of 4- to 17-year-olds had been diagnosed with ADHD. Four years later it was 9.5%. In 2011, that number jumped to 11% of school aged children.

There is on-going debate about what is behind these increasing rates and whether it is simply a matter of over-diagnosis, mis-diagnosis, or the global push for academic performance.

Read more at DeborahBudding.com or TheoryinPracticeNow.com.