Children ages 4 to 17, who take ADHD medication, increased from 4.8 percent in 2007 to 6.1 percent in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In fact, a new study indicates that children are 30 percent more likely to take drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) during the school year than in the summer, USA Today reports. Findings that would imply that ADHD drugs, in many cases, are not taken to treat a disorder.
The study’s findings come from researchers at Yale, New York University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, according to the article.
The study showed that children from wealthier families who live in states with stricter academic standards are more likely to use ADHD drugs only for school. Whereas the children from lower-income families in states with less strict school standards were more likely to take the drugs year-round.
Higher-income families are more likely to follow their own judgment about medication decisions, filling prescriptions when they believed the medication was warranted. Lower-income families follow their doctors' recommendations and fill prescriptions for the medication all year long, according to the article.
“As schools become more academic, as a consequence we’re seeing an increase in school-based stimulant use,” said researcher Marissa King of the Yale School of Management. “Kids are actually just trying to manage a much broader shift in the way the school day is structured.”
“Kids are having more pressure on them to have more sustained attention,” she said.
It is worth pointing out that the research showed that even when children from either end of the socioeconomic spectrum were treated by the same doctor, children with wealthier parents were more likely to use ADHD drugs only during the school year.
The findings appear in the American Sociological Review.