Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is one of the most common chronic childhood disorders, with prevalence on the rise. National survey data from 2016 to 2019 estimated that the number of children aged 3 to 17 years who were ever diagnosed with ADHD is 6 million (9.8%).1 This number includes:

  • 3–5 years: 265,000 (2%)
  • 6–11 years: 2.4 million (10%)
  • 12–17 years: 3.3 million (13%)

A national parent survey from 2016 reported on medication and behavior treatment for children 2–17 years of age with current ADHD:2

  • 62% were taking ADHD medication
  • 47% received behavior treatment
  • Approximately 23% were not receiving medication or behavioral treatment

Among children and adolescents with current ADHD, almost two-thirds were taking medication, and approximately half had received behavioral treatment for ADHD in the past year. Nearly 25% had received neither type of treatment for ADHD.

Symptoms of ADHD occur in childhood, and most children with ADHD will continue to have symptoms and impairment through adolescence and into adulthood. Children with ADHD may have difficulty controlling their behavior in school and social settings and often fail to achieve their full academic potential.

Many children with ADHD also have other disorders. According to a national 2016 parent survey, six in 10 children with ADHD had at least one other mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder:3 Approximately half of the children with ADHD had a behavior or conduct problem, and about three in 10 children with ADHD had anxiety.

The key to effective long-term management of ADHD sypmtoms is continuity of care with clinicians experienced in the treatment of ADHD. The frequency and duration of follow-up sessions should be individualized for each family and child, depending on the severity of ADHD symptoms; the degree of comorbidity of other psychiatric illnesses; the response to treatment; and the degree of impairment in home, school, work, or peer-related activities.

ADHD resources

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1-3 Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Data and Statistics About ADHD, (accessed December 2022):