ADHD on the rise? - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

ADHD on the rise?

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"Once you know you have a diagnosis then you can do something about it." Memorial Medical Group Dr. Keyna Martinez treats patients with ADHD. She says awareness of the disorder has changed over the years.

"30 years ago, nobody knew what ADHD was, they just said 'well that's a boy, he's just an active boy."

Symptoms of ADHD include trouble paying attention or controlling impulsive behaviors and the number of children affected seems to be skyrocketing.

The Centers for Disease Control says 11% of children ages 4 to 17 have been diagnosed with the disorder. That includes one in FIVE high school BOYS with ADHD.

Dr. Keyna Martinez says the numbers raise different questions. "Is it really a change in the diagnosis, a change in the number or is it just an increase in awareness?"

But some feel ADHD is over-diagnosed. Just talking about it can lead to heated discussions.

"I think people know what to look for and so you have parents who are more willing to acknowledge it with their kids, but I also think that it becomes a crutch," says parent Ivy Locey.  

Dr. Martinez believes some kids show strong improvement after they're diagnosed. "Some kids really benefit from a diagnosis because now that I know what's wrong, I know how to fix it." 

But sometimes, she says labeling a child with ADHD can backfire. "There are kids who walk around going 'well I've got ADHD so whatever, I can't do any better."

Which brings us back to those CDC numbers, suggesting a TENTH of all children in the US have ADHD. It's put the disorder back in the spotlight and it's once again causing doctors and parents to discuss the sometimes controversial diagnosis.

"It's good to get awareness out and get it diagnosed, but at the same time if the kid doesn't have it then help the kid in other ways," says Locey.

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