Nearly 1 million more children had an ADHD diagnosis in 2022 than in 2016

May 29, 2024, 1:21 PM | Updated: 2:06 pm

Adderall, used to treat ADHD shown - adhd diagnosis in children up...

FILE - Adderall XR capsules are displayed on Feb. 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

(AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — A new study from the Centers for Disease Control found that almost 1 million more children got an ADHD diagnosis in 2022 than in 2016. The study results come amid the ADHD medication shortage in the U.S.

The CDC study looked at ADHD diagnoses for children between 3-17 years of age. Their parents reported their symptoms.

Based on parent reports, the study found that 11.4% of children in that age range had an ADHD diagnosis. That’s 7.1 million children.

Of those 7.1 million, the study found that 6.5 million of them had currently active ADHD in 2022.

In 2016, that number was 5.4 million.

Why more ADHD diagnoses?

Braun Tueller, a physician’s assistant at the Hunstman Mental Health Institute, said the growing number of diagnoses could be from heightened awareness.

Related: Teens using social media to diagnose ADHD, autism and more

According to Tueller, social media influencers could have been a factor. Some of them have encouraged people to seek an ADHD diagnosis.

Tueller said he often has patients coming in for an evaluation because they see a post on social media.

Getting an ADHD diagnosis amid shortages

According to the CDC study, almost 54% of the children who had current ADHD were taking medication to treat it.

There’s been a shortage of ADHD medication in the U.S. since late 2022. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a shortage of Adderall in October of 2022.

Last week, the FDA told NBC News that most of the shortages had been resolved. The FDA told the outlet that it expected more supply to become availiable over the coming months.

In the meantime, pharmacies are still struggling with the shortage.

What’s causing the ADHD medication shortage?

Pharmacy Director for the Huntsman Mental Health Institute Anthony May said the shortage may be a combination of a few things.

“There’s a lot of suspicion that those increased telehealth visits and more flexible prescribing patterns lead to a lot more demand for these stimulant medications,” May said.

Even if the shortage is easing up, May said you should communicate with your doctor for alternative medications before running out.

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Nearly 1 million more children had an ADHD diagnosis in 2022 than in 2016