Number of children diagnosed with ADHD jumps, according to UI research

Iowa Now – Research

The rise was most pronounced in minority groups, suggesting that better access to health insurance and mental health treatment through the Affordable Care Act might have played some role in the increase. The rate of diagnosis during that time period doubled in girls, although it was still much lower than in boys.But the researchers say they found no evidence confirming frequent complaints that the condition is overdiagnosed or misdiagnosed. The U.S. has significantly more instances of ADHD than other developed countries, which researchers said has led some to think Americans are overdiagnosing children. Dr. Wei Bao, the lead author of the study, said in an interview that a review of studies around the world doesn’t support that. “I don’t think overdiagnosis is the main issue,” he said.Nonetheless, those doubts persist. Dr. Stephen Hinshaw, who co-authored a 2014 book called “The ADHD Explosion: Myths, Medication, Money, and Today’s Push for Performance,” compared ADHD to depression. He said in an interview that neither condition has unequivocal biological markers, so it makes it hard to determine if a patient truly has the condition without lengthy psychological evaluations. Symptoms of ADHD can include inattention, fidgety behavior and impulsivity.”It’s probably not a true epidemic of ADHD,” said Hinshaw, a professor of psychology at the University of California-Berkeley and a professor of psychiatry at UC-San Francisco. “It might be an epidemic of diagnosing it.” In interpreting their results, however, the study’s authors tied the higher numbers to better understanding of the condition by doctors and the public, new standards for diagnosis and an increase in access to health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Because of the ACA, “some low-income families have improved access to services and referrals,” said Bao, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, used data from …

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