Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common chronic childhood disorders, and its prevalence is on the rise. National survey data from 2016 indicate that 9.4 percent of children in the United States ages 2 to 17 have had an ADHD diagnosis, including 2.4 percent of children 2 to 5 years of age. In that national survey, 8.4 percent of children ages 2 to 17 currently had ADHD, representing 5.4 million children. Among children and adolescents with current ADHD, almost two-thirds were taking medication, and approximately half had received behavioral treatment for ADHD in the past year. Nearly one quarter had received neither type of treatment of ADHD.
Symptoms of ADHD occur in childhood, and most children with ADHD will continue to have symptoms and impairment through adolescence and into adulthood. Children with ADHD may have difficulty controlling their behavior in school and social settings and often fail to achieve their full academic potential. Additionally, ADHD is frequently present with other psychiatric disorders.
The key to effective long-term management of the child with ADHD is continuity of care with clinicians experienced in the treatment of ADHD. The frequency and duration of follow-up sessions should be individualized for each family and child, depending on the severity of ADHD symptoms; the degree of co-morbidity of other psychiatric illness; the response to treatment; and the degree of impairment in home, school, work, or peer-related activities.
Guidelines for Diagnosis and Treatment
- American Academy of Pediatrics ADHD Guideline
- American Academy of Pediatrics Guideline Supplement-Algorithm
- American Academy of Pediatrics Guideline Supplement-Barriers
- ADHD Medication Treatment Algorithm
Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®)1 Tip Sheets
- Adult ADHD Assessment Tool
- Child ADHD Screening Tools:
1 HEDIS is a registered trademark of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).