ADHD Facts

  1. ADHD, its diagnosis, and its treatment have been controversial since the 1970s.
  2. Despite being the most commonly studied and diagnosed psychiatric disorder in children and adolescents, the cause in the majority of cases is unknown.
  3. ADHD is diagnosed approximately three times more in boys than in girls.
  4. The United States uses ADHD diagnoses criteria different from the diagnoses criteria used in Europe.  The United States diagnoses ADHD 20 times more often with this criteria than in France.
  5. The Drug Enforcement Agency has classified ADHD drugs Ritalin, Adderall and Dexedrine as Schedule II Stimulants.  This is the same drug classification as Cocaine.
  6. Sales of stimulant medication for ADHD in 2012 reached nearly $9 billion, more than five times the $1.7 billion a decade earlier.
  7. The number of children on medication for ADHD had soared from 600,000 in 1990 to 3.5 million in 2012.
  8. There has been a 42% increase in the number of reported cases of ADHD since 2003.
  9. In 2010 there were 31,244 Emergency Room visits related to persons taking ADHD medications, most of the cases were a result of overdose or acute side effects which can include mania and hallucinations.
  10. Based on the presenting symptom ADHD can be divided into three subtypes: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, and combined type.
  11. As ADHD is common, natural selection likely favored these traits, at least individually, and they may have provided a survival advantage. Genetic research supports this theory.
  12. Children exposed to lead, even low levels, or may develop problems which resemble ADHD and fulfill the diagnosis.
  13. There are children who may react negatively to synthetic food dyes or preservatives.
  14. The diagnosis of ADHD can represent family dysfunction or a poor educational system rather than an individual problem.
  15. Current models of ADHD suggest that it is associated with functional impairments in some of the brain's neurotransmitter systems, particularly those involving dopamine and and norepinephrine.



Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Controversies,

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,

Marilyn Wedge Ph.D. (Mar 2012). Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD.

Drug Scheduling,

Alan Schwarz (Dec 2014). The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder.

Key Findings: Trends in the Parent-Report of Health Care Provider-Diagnosis and Medication Treatment for ADHD: United States, 2003—2011.

Jeannette Y. Wick, RPh, MBA, FASCP (Apr 2013). Significant Increase in ER Visits Involving ADHD Medications.

Dan Eisenberg, PhD, and Benjamin Campbell. San Francisco Medicine (Oct 2011). The Evolution of ADHD.

Maryam Daneshparvar, MSc, Seyed-Ali Mostafavi, MSc, Maryam Zare Jeddi, MSc, Masud Yunesian, PhD, Alireza Mesdaghinia, PhD, Amir Hossein Mahvi, PhD, and Shahin Akhondzadeh, PhD The Role of Lead Exposure on Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder ‎in Children: A Systematic Review.

Lisa Y. Lefferts, M.S.P.H., edited by Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D., and Laura MacCleery, J.D. (2015). Seeing Red: Time for Action on Food Dyes

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