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CDC Reports Sharp Increase in A.D.H.D. Diagnosis in Children

The New York Times recently reported on new data from the Center of Disease Control (CDC) which reveals that nearly one in five high school age boys in the United States have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (A.D.H.D.).

A.D.H.D. is a result of abnormal chemical levels in the brain that impair a person's impulse control and attention skills. About two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis receive prescriptions for stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, which have been shown to lead to addiction, anxiety and occasionally psychosis.

The CDC also reports that an estimated 6.4 million children, between the ages 4 through 17, have been diagnosed with A.D.H.D., an increase of 16 percent since 2007 and 41 percent over the past ten years.

Medical experts predict the numbers will increase even more dramatically as the American Psychiatric Association plans to change the definition of A.D.H.D. which will allow more people to receive the diagnosis and treatment. There is growing concern in the medical community that the diagnosis and medications used for treatment are being overused in children.

Dr. William Graf, a pediatric neurologist in New Haven and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine, told the N.Y. Times he was stunned by the data. “Mild symptoms are being diagnosed so readily, which goes well beyond the disorder and beyond the zone of ambiguity to pure enhancement of children who are otherwise healthy,” he said.

There is no definitive test to test for the disorder. The procedure to diagnosis involves speaking with parents, teachers and patients about possible symptoms, while ruling out other medical explanations. When a patient is put on medication, it's important that they are closely monitored by their physician because of the powerful side effects associated with the medications used for treatment.

If your child has been diagnosed with A.D.H.D and has suffered serious side effects from medications, contact a Chicago medical malpractice attorney today to see what legal options your family may have for any pain and loss suffered.

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