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21 Surprising ADHD Statistics and Facts

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ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. 

It’s a common neurodevelopmental disorder that is mostly diagnosed in children. It can be a bit difficult to diagnose because kids are perceived as mere troublemakers. Moreover, ADHD can affect people of all ages.

It’s normal for children to be adventurous and fidgety, but if they grow up and still have problems concentrating and controlling their behavior, that’s a sign that they might have ADHD. The only way to determine if someone has this disorder is by observing them. 

Knowing more about it can help you understand other people better, so check out these ADHD statistics. There are many astonishing facts about ADHD that you probably don’t know because this disorder is quite complex. 

We’ll talk about its prevalence, treatment, medications, and more. 

So, let’s begin!

Top ADHD Stats and Facts (Editor’s Choice)

  • In the US, the percentage of people with ADHD over the age of 18 is 4.4%.
  • Some surveys have found that 11% of children in Australia have been diagnosed with ADHD, compared to less than 3% in the United Kingdom.
  • The average global prevalence of childhood ADHD is 2.2%.
  • In the US, 6.1 million children aged 2–17 have been diagnosed with ADHD.
  • Currently, 6.1% of American children are being treated for ADHD with medication. 
  • Adderall abuse can easily cause addiction, apart from other side effects.
  • There is no cure for ADHD, but there are many treatments for it, apart from behavioral therapies and medications.
  • 64% of children with ADHD also have other mental disorders.

ADHD Statistics Worldwide ー Prevalence, Rates, and Demographics

1. Between 2015 and 2016, the estimated prevalence of ADHD in the US was 10.2% in children and adolescents aged 4–17.

(Chadd)

A study done based on the data from the National Health Interview Surveys showed a significant increase in the ADHD prevalence among teenagers and children. The prevalence in boys was 14% and 6.3% in girls. Between 1997 and 2016, the prevalence of ADHD increased by 4.1%. 

2. In the US, 6.1 million children aged 2–17 have been diagnosed with ADHD.

(CDC)

As stats on ADHD based on the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) show, 388,000 children aged 2 to 5 years, 4 million children aged 6 to 11 years, and 3 million children aged 12 to 17 years have been diagnosed with ADHD. 

3. In 2018, around 9.8% of children in the US were diagnosed with ADHD, regardless of gender or ethnicity.

(Statista)

In the ADHD statistics 2018 published by a research expert John Elflein on Statista, among children diagnosed with ADHD, 12.8% were African-American, 9.6% were white, 6.9% were Hispanic or Latino, and 3.2% were Asian. 13% of them were male, while 6.6% were female. 

4. Some surveys have found that 11% of children in Australia have been diagnosed with ADHD, compared to less than 3% in the United Kingdom.

(WebMD)

ADHD demographics show vast differences in diagnosed cases around the world. Still, many cultural differences can affect these numbers. What’s considered normal varies in every country. Also, doctors might diagnose children with ADHD, even if they have different mental problems. The opposite is also possible. There are some kids with ADHD who aren’t diagnosed at all. Therefore, ADHD diagnosis statistics can be a bit misleading. Anyway, the current worldwide prevalence of ADHD in adults is approximately 2.5%. 

5. The average global prevalence of childhood ADHD is 2.2%.

(AdhdInstitute)

Statistics and diagnosis may vary, but let’s see what worldwide ADHD statistics can tell us. There are countries in which the rates of ADHD cases are below 3%, like Iraq (0.1%), Belgium (2.9%), Poland (0.2%), Romania (0.4%), Peru (0.8%), China (0.7%), and Germany (1.8%). France is at 4.7%, but no country can match the prevalence of ADHD in the US. Still, scientists think that ADHD in America could be overdiagnosed, but no evidence supports that statement. 

Interestingly, children who live in households where English is the native language are more than four times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than children who speak English as a second language. Around 7.2% of children around the world were diagnosed with ADHD in 2015. 

6. The US states with the highest ADHD rates are Kentucky (14.8%), Arkansas (14.6%), and Louisiana (13.3%).

(Addrc) 

Even in the US, there are major differences in adults and children diagnosed with ADHD among states. For example, more than 13% are diagnosed in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, or Ohio, while California, Colorado, and Nevada rates are less than 7%. If we look at ADHD rates by country, we can conclude that Midwestern states have the highest rates. Nevada has the lowest rate in the US (4.1%).

7. In 2009–2010, the prevalence rate of ADHD was 9.0% in children aged 4–17.

(Chadd)

ADHD increase since 2010 is obvious. The only time when the prevalence rate dropped compared to the previous year was in 2014. It decreased from 9.6% to 9.4% but grew considerably in 2016. 

If we look at ADHD statistics 2019, we can conclude that the prevalence rate is increasing because of technological advancement and treatments that are more affordable to all races and nationalities.

ADHD Stats ー Diagnosis, Causes, Age, and Gender Differences

8. The average age of ADHD diagnosis is seven.

(Healthline)

The first symptoms appear between the age of three and six. As mentioned before, it’s not easy to determine whether a child is just very active or has ADHD. Children living in poverty have a higher risk of developing ADHD. 

9. Genes are probably the main cause of ADHD, combined with eating habits and environmental factors.

(Verywellmind)

Researchers still don’t know a single cause of ADHD. There is no clear explanation of why ADHD occurs, especially in children. Since ADHD is usually diagnosed at a young age, the most probable cause of ADHD is genes. Having a family member with ADHD can increase the chance of developing it as well. Furthermore, three out of four children with ADHD have a relative who also has the same disorder.

According to the ADHD statistics from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 33% of fathers who have or had ADHD will have children diagnosed with ADHD. It’s important to note that chemical imbalances, brain injuries, and smoking or drinking alcohol during pregnancy can contribute to the development of ADHD in children. 

10. In the US, the percentage of people with ADHD over the age of 18 is 4.4%.

(Additudemag)

ADHD in adults can be a real problem. It can trigger dangerous behaviors such as gambling and alcohol or drug abuse. These people are prone to rash decisions or problems with communicating with their peers. Adult ADHD statistics have shown that more adults are diagnosed with ADHD. Unfortunately, children and young adults have a problem regarding education, and the ADHD college dropout rate is around 32-35%. 

11. ADHD in boys and girls is displayed in a completely different way.

(Addrc)

Males are more prone to ADHD than females. They are almost three times more likely to be diagnosed. There are three types of ADHD: inattentive, impulsive, and a combined type. However, the symptoms that male children have are impulsivity, hyperactivity (such as running around too much), inattentiveness, lack of focus, and physical aggression. ADHD in girls is less obvious and more internal. The symptoms are being withdrawn, daydreaming a lot, anxiety, low self-esteem, impaired attention, and verbal aggression, such as teasing, taunting, or name-calling. It’s much more difficult to diagnose this disorder in girls because they don’t have the “typical” symptoms. 

ADHD Facts Regarding Treatments

12. ADHD treatment statistics show that currently, 6.1% of American children are treated for ADHD with medication.

(Addrc)

Nine out of ten children with ADHD received some kind of medication, and only two out of ten received behavioral therapy. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends both therapies, or even combining behavioral therapy with proper medications. They also recommend that professors get included and help children struggling with this problem. The percentage of children with ADHD treated with medication is much greater than those who receive any kind of behavioral therapy, even though experts recommend both therapies. 

13. The ADHD percentage of adults who receive treatment is 10.9%.

(Additudemag)

The prevalence of ADHD in adults has increased by 123% since 2007, but not many people receive treatment. Seeking help is of the utmost importance because not treating ADHD can lead to mental disorders, academic or occupational failure, risky behavior, etc. Stephen V. Faraone, a distinguished professor of psychiatry, neuroscience, and physiology, claims that ADHD shouldn’t be taken lightly as it can become a serious condition if left untreated.  

14. There is no cure for ADHD, but there are many treatments for it, apart from behavioral therapies and medications.

(Healthline)

Social skill therapy is also available. It’s about helping children develop social skills, such as dealing with teasing, waiting for their turn, sharing toys, and asking for help. Parenting skills training and social groups can be helpful for parents. They could learn to understand their child better and share experiences with others in a similar situation. Some techniques included in the parenting skills training are immediate rewards for good behavior, timeouts (pulling children out of stressful situations in time), and stress management (using meditation and other techniques).

Facts About ADHD Medication and Use

15. The two main types of ADHD medications are stimulants and non-stimulants, and the most commonly prescribed ones are Adderall, Ritalin, and Dexedrine.

(Helpguide)

The first group is called the central nervous system (CNS) stimulants, such as Adderall, Dexedrine, Dextrostat, Concerta, Daytrana, Metadate, Ritalin, Desoxyn, and Focalin. They increase the level of dopamine and norepinephrine. However, if these medications don’t work for some reason, non-stimulants can help. Some of them increase the level of norepinephrine (Strattera, Pamelor). The other types of non-stimulants are Intuniv and Kapvay, but it’s unexplored how they work. There are mild and severe side effects of these medications, such as headache, insomnia, nervousness, weight loss, but also seizures, hallucinations, and even suicidal thoughts. The growth of ADHD medication use in children and adolescents across the US has increased by 60%, especially unnecessary or accidental use. 

16. As Adderall abuse statistics show, this medication can easily cause addiction, apart from other side effects.

(Recovery)

According to the survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.4% of college students admitted using Adderall for fun and mixing it with alcohol. They also abuse it so they can study more and focus better. Still, if Adderall is not prescribed, there is a high risk of addiction, not to mention that abusing this medication can lead to developing tolerance and dependence. Unfortunately, Adderall statistics show that its abuse is on the rise. 

17. Adderall withdrawal symptoms can last from 48 hours to even 60 days.

(Addictionhope)

Adderall withdrawal isn’t a pleasant experience. During this period, a person can experience chills, irregular heartbeat, flu-like symptoms, panic attacks, paranoia, trouble sleeping, seizures, depression, and other symptoms. One of the Adderall facts everyone should remember is that a possible side effect of abusing Adderall is sudden death, and that’s why addicts should seek help as soon as possible. 

18. Aside from Adderall, people also misuse Ritalin. 

(Statista)

According to Ritalin statistics published on Statista by John Elflein, out of approximately 50,000 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students, 9% admitted consuming Ritalin in 2019. Ritalin should be used under strict medical supervision, but like Adderall, people often abuse it. Ritalin can cause severe aggression, psychosis, and an irregular heartbeat, which can sometimes lead to death.  

Other Interesting and Significant ADHD Facts and Statistics

19. 64% of children with ADHD have other mental disorders.

(Additudemag)

It’s not surprising that having one mental disorder can trigger another one. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), children with ADHD may also have problems with anxiety, depression, learning, and behavior. Statistics of ADHD published by CDC also show that, in 2016, 52% of diagnosed children had conduct problems, 33% had anxiety, 14% had depression, 14% had autism, and 1% had Tourette syndrome. 

20. People with ADHD don’t actually have problems with paying attention.

(Wbur)

This is one of the ADHD facts you probably didn’t know. People with ADHD just can’t control what they will focus on. If they want to do something else rather than, for example, study, they won’t be able to do that. They can spend hours doing something, but they really have a hard time focusing on something they have no interest in. 

21. Playing video games and watching TV don’t cause ADHD.

(Verywellmind)

As Dr. Natalie Weder explains, “there is no evidence whatsoever that TV or video games cause ADHD.” Anyone who has ADHD loves video games because they can completely immerse themselves in them. Nothing is predictable, so they constantly pay attention to what will happen next. They have no time to think about something else. One of the interesting mental disorder facts regarding video games is that they can be helpful when coping with some disorders, such as substance abuse disorder.

Conclusion

ADHD has become very common, especially in the US. ADHD in children statistics show that this disorder is mostly diagnosed when the child is seven years old, but It doesn’t only affect children. Many adults also struggle with ADHD. 

No one should take this mental disorder lightly, because it can lead to severe consequences if not treated.

The cause of ADHD is unknown, but experts mostly connect it to genes. ADHD isn’t curable, but there are many ways to deal with it, such as receiving treatments like behavioral therapy or medications.

For some reason, the prevalence of ADHD in the US is considerably higher than in other countries. Some researchers claim that it’s because it’s overdiagnosed, but no evidence supports such statements.

Parents should know that they don’t have to treat their kids with medication, and it should be their last option, especially if kids are very young. That’s because the long-term use of medication can trigger all kinds of side effects and health issues.

There is another problem with medication for ADHD—abuse. College students use it so they can focus better, trigger euphoric sensations, or even lose weight. It’s incredibly easy to become addicted to medications like Adderall or Ritalin.

Looking at ADHD statistics, we can say that this mental disorder has become a part of our society. If diagnosed and treated properly, people can live happy lives even though they have ADHD, but they need to follow their doctors’ advice.

FAQ

What percent of the population has ADHD?

The global prevalence of childhood ADHD is approximately 2.2%, and the current worldwide prevalence of ADHD in adults is approximately 2.5%.

How common is ADHD 2019?

In 2018, around 9.8% of children in the US were diagnosed with ADHD. If we look at the statistics for 2019, we can conclude that the prevalence rate is increasing.

What state has the highest rate of ADHD?

The US state with the highest rate of ADHD cases is Kentucky (14.8%).

Why is ADHD on the rise?

ADHD is on the rise because of the increased treatment affordability for all people around the world and technological advancements.

Who is mostly affected by ADHD?

Children are mostly affected by ADHD, but adolescents and adults can have ADHD as well.

What is the prevalence rate of ADHD in the US?

In the US, the percentage of people with ADHD over the age of 18 is 4.4%. 6.1 million children aged 2–17 have been diagnosed with ADHD.

How is ADHD caused?

Since ADHD is usually diagnosed at a young age, the most probable cause of ADHD is genes. Chemical imbalances, brain injuries, and smoking or drinking alcohol during pregnancy can contribute to the development of ADHD. 

Is ADHD serious?

If untreated, ADHD may have severe consequences, including academic failure, depression, problems maintaining relationships, substance abuse, delinquency, etc. 

Is ADHD neurological or psychological?

It’s a neurological disorder.

Is ADHD overdiagnosed in America?

Some experts claim that ADHD may be overdiagnosed, but there is no evidence for such statements.

Sources: 

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