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The ADHD Book of Lists: A Practical Guide for Helping Children and Teens with Attention Deficit Disorders, 2nd Edition by Sandra F. Rief

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1.6 ADHD Statistics: Prevalence and Risk Factors

ADHD places those who have this disorder at risk for a host of serious consequences, which raises the urgency for early identification, diagnosis, and proper treatment. Numerous studies have shown the increased risk of negative outcomes associated with those who have ADHD. Compared with peers of the same age, youth with ADHD experience the following:

  • More serious accidents, hospitalizations, and significantly higher medical costs
  • More school failure and dropout
  • More delinquency and altercations with the law
  • More engagement in antisocial activities
  • More teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases
  • Earlier experimentation with and higher use of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs
  • More trouble socially and emotionally
  • More rejection, ridicule, and punishment
  • More underachievement and underperformance at school or work

Prevalence of ADHD

The number of people estimated to have ADHD varies, depending on the source, which can be confusing. Here are some of the reported prevalence rates:

  • The American Psychiatric Association states in the DSM-5 that 5 percent of children have ADHD (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). However, studies in the United States have estimated higher rates in community samples (CDC, n.d.; CHADD, n.d.-a, n.d.-b).
  • The prevalence of ADHD in children ranges from 5 to 11 percent, depending on the age group (CDC, n.d.-a; CHADD, n.d.-b).
  • Approximately 11 percent of children four to seventeen years of age (6.4 million) ...

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