Nov 2, 2019

Study suggests increase in rate of ADHD diagnoses among adults

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Photo: Neil Godwin/Future via Getty Images)

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD, has become more common among U.S. adults, according to a study published in the JAMA Network Open medical journal.

Why it matters: The study reflects in part increasing awareness about ADHD in adulthood among clinicians and patients, Dr. Hanna Stevens, a University of Iowa professor who has previously conducted research on ADHD, told CNN.

  • "A trend we have seen in other research studies is that there is an increase in people seeking psychiatric care generally, which may also reflect a positive trend in reduced stigma to talking [about] psychiatric symptoms and seeking appropriate help for them," Stevens said to CNN.

By the numbers: There was "a 43% increase in the rate of adults being newly diagnosed over the 10-year period" from 2007 to 2016, the study's senior author Dr. Michael Milham told CNN.

  • The number of diagnoses rose from 9.43 per every 10,000 people in 2007 to 13.49 per 10,000 people in 2016, according to the study.
  • Prevalence of the disorder among adults increased from 0.43% in 2007 to 0.96% in 2016.

Yes, but: The study's limitations include that it only included adults seeking care within Kaiser Permanente North California, CNN reports.

  • The study falls short in "understanding of ADHD in patients who are not a part of a health system such as Kaiser Permanente, which includes very low income individuals," Stevens told CNN.
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