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Rise in ADHD diagnoses cause of concern for some

AMARILLO - New data is causing concern that American children may be over-diagnosed and over-medicated for Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.

The Centers for Disease Control now estimates 11 percent of school age children are diagnosed with ADHD. The new data shows one in five high school age boys are diagnosed with the disorder.

Those numbers have increased 41 percent from 10 years ago and 16 percent since 2007.

Many attribute the increase to better recognition and appreciation of ADHD by doctors, but others fear children are being unnecessarily prescribed drugs that can be addictive and harmful.

"There is pressure from parents and schools to get [children] on some medicine. I've had kids come and the school tells the parents 'get on some medicine so your kid can learn.' So everybody who's involved with this child on all fronts needs to be professional and conscientious," said Texas Tech Health Science Center Pediatric Professor Marita Sheehan.

Sheehan says there will be new guidelines out by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders on how to diagnose ADHD this month. But many fear the new guidelines will only expand the criteria for people to get a diagnosis and abuse the stimulant drugs.

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