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ABC News: Not really more ADHD; better diagnosing/expanded criteria credited

Aug 31, 2018, ABC NEWS: ADHD rates in kids have increased over the past 20 years, new study says https://abcnews.go.com/Health/adhd-rates-kids-increased-past-20-years-study/story?id=57526368 Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, has become more common in children over the past twenty years, according to a new study. The prevalence of ADHD in U.S. children and adolescents has increased from 6.1 percent in 1997 to 10.2 percent in 2016, the study published Friday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA, said. The way the disorder is evaluated likely plays a part. "The diagnosis and assessment for ADHD has evolved over the past few decades. The diagnostic criteria that we use is now a little more liberal and captures cases that the older criteria would have left out," said Dr. Neha Chaudhary, a child psychiatrist at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Stanford Brainstorm, in an interview with ABC news. ... The reasons for the increase in ADHD rates were not directly studied. But the researchers suggested that efforts to train physicians in the disorder, improved awareness in the public, improved access to mental health services and changes in the diagnostic criteria may have all led to an increased number of children being diagnosed with ADHD. ... Recent evidence also suggests that frequent use of digital media may be linked to an increase in symptoms that are typically associated with ADHD. But long-term study has not yet been possible. ...