Diagnoses of children with attention deficit and hyperactivity increase in the US.

A recent report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has raised concerns by revealing a significant increase in the number of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). According to the study, the diagnosis of this disorder has experienced a notable increase from 2016 to 2022, reaching the alarming figure of 1,000,000 cases.

This increase in diagnoses has generated debate among experts and the medical community. Although some attribute this trend to Increased public knowledge about ADHD and improved diagnostic techniquesothers express concern about the possibility of over- or under-diagnosis in certain cases.

Its cause is, at the moment, unknown; It is not known exactly, but we do know factors that increase the risk of a child suffering from ADHD,”genetic factors, a family member with the same diagnosis or similar symptomsenvironmental factors, smoking during pregnancy can cause its appearance,” he says. Pedro Javier Rodríguez HernándezDoctor of Medicine and Psychologist of the Psychiatry Service of the Ntra. Sra. de Candelaria University Hospital (Tenerife).

Research ensures that the brains of these children function differently and in some areas, their functioning is diminished.

In addition to attention problems, which are important and are mainly seen in school performance, This problem can also be associated with certain degrees of hyperactivity; Movement, the child's motor aspect, is accelerated, he moves more and is significantly more active.

“He can't sit down, his parents go to a restaurant and he doesn't let them eat, in class he gets up, interrupts, sits down again. It can also be associated, to a greater or lesser degree, with impulsive behaviors, those that come from thoughts or ideas that are not reflected; the child does not wait for you to finish the question and answers the first thing that comes to mind, he drags his parents down the street, he does not look when crossing, when playing soccer he does not pass the ball does not interact well with children and social rejection arises,” says Dr. Rodríguez Hernández.

ADHD and hyperactivity

Is not the same. Being hyperactive is being someone who moves a lot, but it is not a disorder. “The diagnosis of ADHD occurs when these characteristics of hyperactivity, impulsivity and attention deficit lead them to present clinically significant discomfort; when these characteristics produce problems in the family or school environment…”, says the doctor.

The difficulties in diagnosis are one of the reasons why the idea of ​​publishing the book “ADHD in Pediatrics” arose, the first in Spain specifically for pediatricians.

“ADHD in Pediatrics is a very useful and practical tool that will improve early diagnosis and therefore prognosis, and significantly reduce the problems associated with ADHD such as school failure and serious behavioral disorders,” says Dr. Rodríguez. Hernández, who has coordinated the book with the testimonies of 20 child psychiatrists from all over Spain, world experts in ADHD.

When does it manifest

Childhood hyperactivity is born with it, is not created by poor educational techniques, but the expression of the symptoms changes over those years. In the first years it goes more unnoticed because the requirements of the environment in a child, the social norms, are lower than in a child of seven or eight years; The diagnosis is made from the age of six.

“45% of children with ADHD are delayed in school and 40% have contact with drugs; “The child is being rejected by society and this impulsiveness invites him to live extreme situations, try drugs before anyone else and in 40% are accompanied by serious behavioral disorders, it leads him to create difficult situations,” says the psychologist.

People with ADHD can develop and manifest violent behaviors and behaviors In adolescence, it becomes oppositional defiant disorder or even conduct disorder if it is not diagnosed and treated in time.

It is necessary to frequently monitor attention and performance, which is common to all children with ADHD. “It takes us more years to diagnose a child with attention difficulties alone than a child with attention difficulties who have associated high levels of impulsivity and hyperactivity; The only child with attention difficulties is apparently a child who does not study, because he is lazy or because he does not want to, when what he has are attention difficulties. Whenever there is poor school performance, ADHD should be ruled out,” says the psychologist.


The main thing is that the treatment is coordinated and at the same time. One of the essential components is pharmacological. The medications administered are not relaxing but, paradoxically, stimulating: they increase the child's ability to pay attention.

Treatment with drugs improves up to 80% of casess but without the rest of the non-pharmacological treatment, the effectiveness would be low.

Psychological and educational treatment is necessary. Furthermore, it must be done in intervention with the family, all coordinated, teachers, parents, therapists, psychologists, doctors. In class you have to be seated as close to the teacher, allow him several breaks and more time on the exams; “The family has to reinforce the positive aspects a lot, try to make the punishments constructive and increase self-esteem since they usually have very low self-esteem.”

Pedro Javier Rodríguez Hernández

At home, it is essential to understand the problem. “We understand when a child needs a crutch due to a physical problem, but sometimes the crutches of the mind are much more difficult for us to see and we are more reactive to psychological difficulties because we do not understand that they cannot behave in an appropriate way,” says Rodríguez Hernández. .

Modify the perception, and understand that the child is not badbut you cannot behave in any other way, the degree of family stress decreases and the situation improves.

The child's good behaviors must be positively reinforced. “They do not learn from punishments but from positive reinforcements. If there is punishment, it has to be short and precise, they cannot be prolonged in time beyond the same day.”

(With information from EFE)