Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (cont.)
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Is ADHD in Children on the Increase? If So, Why?
No one knows for sure whether the prevalence of ADHD per se has risen, but it is very clear that the number of children identified with the disorder and who obtain treatment has risen over the past decade. Some of this increased identification and increased treatment-seeking is due in part to greater media interest, heightened consumer awareness, and the availability of effective treatments. Teachers are better trained to recognize the condition and suggest that the family seek help, especially in the more mild to moderate cases. The condition itself is so much more clearly defined and more concisely diagnosed now. The diagnosis of ADHD is also less of a social stigma than in the past. This more enlightened perspective reflects the understanding that ADHD is a biochemical disorder and not merely an "out of control child." As such, more parents are receptive to medical therapy for the condition rather than resorting to less effective home/school discipline techniques. Interestingly, the increase in prevalence of ADHD is not solely an American phenomenon but has been noted also in other countries. Whether the number of patients with ADHD has truly increased or rather our better recognition and acceptance of ADHD as a diagnosis has "increased," the number of patients remains to be further defined.
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