Why Are So Many Kids Diagnosed with ADHD?

I was recently interviewed for a story in the Yuma Sun, in which the reporter (Chris McDaniel) sought to answer the question:

Why are so many kids diagnosed with ADHD these days? 

I thought the story turned out great, and did a nice job providing some answers to this question that I have heard so many times.  Hint: we are more aware of the ADHD, its symptoms, and how to diagnose and treat it effectively.

The story also describes the various treatments for ADHD – which don’t just include medication! Check it out:

Yuma Sun: ADHD Vigilance Leading to More Diagonses, Doc Says

Yuma Sun: ADHD Vigilance Leading to More Diagonses, Doc Says

Helping Kids with ADHD…Without Giving Them Meds

This article was recently released by the American Psychological Association.  Reading it brought a smile to my face and relief to my brain.  Finally, a well-written, well-researched, easily-readable article about non-pharmacological treatments for ADHD.Screen shot 2013-02-26 at 8.56.56 AM

Don’t get me wrong,  I am not against psychiatric medication – in fact I often work collaboratively with psychiatrists, and understand and appreciate what they bring to mental health treatment.  However, my area of expertise is behavior change and family dynamics.  This article does a fantastic job outlining how those things can be used to help kids (and families!) struggling with attention issues and ADHD.

Here are a few highlights from the article:

  • Programs and education for parents and teachers can be highly effective in helping kids maintain better attention
  • Physical activity, including therapeutic recreation could be a treatment of choice for ADHD
  • Extra sleep can be helpful – in our fast-paced world it can be easy to overlook that some kids who exhibit hyperactivity may in fact be over-tired

If you or someone you know is affected by ADHD, hyperactivity, or trouble maintaining attention you might want to take a look at APA’s article.  ADHD is a complicated condition and there are surely no easy answers when it comes to treatment.  But addressing the basics (sleep, exercise, home environment) is a good place to start.