Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that most often occurs in children, but can also be diagnosed in adulthood. Symptoms of ADHD include:

  • having trouble concentrating or focusing
  • having difficulty staying organized
  • being forgetful about completing tasks
  • having difficulty sitting still

It can be a difficult condition to diagnose. Many symptoms of ADHD can be typical childhood behaviors, so it can be hard to know what’s ADHD-related and what’s not. Here are the basic facts and symptoms of ADHD.

5 fast facts

  • Males are almost three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than females.
  • During their lifetimes, 13 percent of men will be diagnosed with ADHD. Just 4.2 percent of women will be diagnosed.
  • The average ageTrusted Source of ADHD diagnosis is 7 years old.
  • Symptoms of ADHD typically first appear between the ages of 3 and 6.
  • ADHD isn’t just a childhood disorder. About 4 percent of American adults over the age of 18 deal with ADHD on a daily basis.

Demographic factors of ADHD

There are demographic factors that impact the risks of being diagnosed with ADHD. Children living in households where English is the main language are more than four times as likelyTrusted Source to be diagnosed as children living in households where English is the second language. And children living in households that make less than two times the federal poverty levelTrusted Source have a higher risk than children from higher-income households.

Certain conditions might affect certain races in different ways, but ADHD impacts children of all races. From 2001 to 2010, the rate of ADHD among non-Hispanic black girls increased over 90 percent trusted Source.

ADHD affects children of all racesTrusted Source, including:

  • Whites: 9.8%
  • Blacks: 9.5%
  • Latinos: 5.5%

Children are also diagnosed at different agesTrusted Source. Detecting symptoms differs from case to case, and the more severe the symptoms, the earlier the diagnosis.

  • 8 years old: average age of diagnosis for children with mild ADHD
  • 7 years old: average age of diagnosis for children with moderate ADHD
  • 5 years old: average age of diagnosis for children with severe ADHD

On the rise

Cases and diagnoses of ADHD have been increasing dramatically in the past several years. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) says that 5 percent of American children have ADHD. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts the number at more than double that. The CDC says that 11 percent of American children trusted Source, ages 4 to 17, had the attention disorder as of 2011. That’s an increase of 42 percent trusted Source between 2003 and 2011.

Increase in diagnoses:

  • 2003: 7.8%
  • 2007: 9.5%
  • 2011: 11%
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