Super Guest Post on ADHD Issues by Melissa Hathaway

The Statistics and the Research

  • In America, more than 10% of children – 6.4 million between the ages of 4 and 17 – have been diagnosed with ADHD. This is a stratospheric jump in diagnoses (a 16% increase since 2007 and an astonishing 54% increase since 2003), but an argument could be made that it doesn’t represent over-diagnosis. After all, ADHD has only recently become socially acceptable, and children of different ethnicities are diagnosed at different rates; it’s theoretically possible that the statistics are only evening out after years of under-diagnosis.
  • However, some factors just don’t add up. For instance, only 0.5% of children in France – where the problem is seen as situational, rather than biological – are diagnosed with ADHD. If this were a legitimate, biological epidemic, the rates in developed countries would not be so dissimilar. Research is also backing up this concern, and researchers from the University of British Columbia have released a paper, which raises alarming questions about the diagnosis. Since the cut-off birth-date for kindergarten entry in Canada is December 31st, some children are 5 years old (rather than 6) when they enter school, nearly a full year younger than their peers. According to the UBC researchers, boys born in December are 30% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than those born in January; the trend was even more pronounced in December girls, who are 70% more likely to be diagnosed. Something is clearly not right.
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