In CDC Study, Rate of ADHD Diagnoses Skyrocket Among High School Students

ADHD2.1 million teenagers in the United States are diagnosed with ADHD, a 40 percent increase since 2002, says a recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

However the drastic rise in the diagnosis has spurred a debate over the legitimacy of these numbers.

“ADHD is a serious issue and requires some type of intervention from a professional,” said Wilde Lake’s psychologist Mr. Channel. “But we should always be weary about this kind of information. When [these numbers] are so exaggerated, it takes away from the legitimacy of people who are really affected by the disorder.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released new, broader guidelines for diagnosing ADHD, one of which is the expansion of the diagnosis to children as young as four and five years old.

“Any four or five year old kid is going to be naturally hyper and constantly distracted,” said Freshman Benjamin Drgon. “I don’t really see how you can diagnose these kids as having a real problem at such a young age.”

Other students see the rise in diagnosis as being a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

“The way I see it, people aren’t really becoming more impacted by ADHD,” said Sophomore Danylo Cybik. “We’re convincing ourselves that ADHD is a universal disorder, when really it’s something that impacts a very concentrated group of people. It’s not a self-declared disorder. People have lost their jobs, education, and family members because of this disorder, and it’s not something that a bunch of exaggerated numbers can effectively portray.”

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a psychological disorder predominantly affecting children and teenagers below the age of 20, and is estimated to affect over 11 percent of all children, making it one of the most common disorders in the world today.

“If there is something that is interfering with a person’s quality of life, it doesn’t matter if they have ADHD or something less severe,” says Mr. Channel. “They need some type of intervention to help diagnose and solve the problem.”

Wilde Lake’s Mr. Channel believes that the rapid increase in ADHD over the last decade may be linked to something that has increased just as rapidly over the same period of time: technology.

“I can get on Google right now and answer any question you ask me in under ten seconds,” said Mr. Channel. “It is very possible that our minds are evolving to constantly expect this kind of immediate response, because technology makes everything move so much faster. If you put a student in a classroom setting where he doesn’t have access to this kind of technology, you’re going to see some kind of negative response. It is possible that to some extent, everyone may have varying levels of ADHD.”