The prevalence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, has continued to climb significantly among adults in the United States within the past decade, a new study suggests.
The study, published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open on Friday, found increasing rates of adults diagnosed with ADHD within the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health system between 2007 and 2016, regardless of whether they were first diagnosed as a child or adult.
Specifically, there was “a 43% increase in the rate of adults being newly diagnosed over the 10-year period,” said Dr. Michael Milham, vice president of research at the Child Mind Institute in New York, who was senior author of the study. He added that the rise might be the result of ADHD being diagnosed more frequently.
“In short, I believe the clinical community is recognizing that ADHD is not just a disorder of childhood and we cannot turn a blind eye to its negative outcomes,” Milham said.
“I was encouraged by the fact that the recognition of ADHD in adults is increasing and disparities decreasing, though alarmed by the substantial work still needed to remove such disparities,” he said. “Our findings offer hope that ADHD is increasingly being recognized and treated in adults, and will motivate future population studies to further assess diagnosis rates and trends.”
The study included diagnostic data from the electronic medical records of more than 5.2 million adults who received care at Kaiser Permanente Northern California between 2007 and 2016.