ADHD diagnosis rates are up 31 percent since 2010, according to new Health of America report

March 28, 2019
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By Regence

ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is the second most impactful condition on children’s health, and one of the most common behavioral health conditions affecting children in the U.S.*   

According to a new Health of America report released by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), ADHD diagnosis rates have increased 31 percent over the last eight years (2010-2017), impacting more than 2.4 million American children in 2017, alone.

The report also explores trends in diagnosis rates across the country and treatment, finding: 

Diagnosis rates vary by age, gender and geography

  • ADHD is most prevalent among middle-school-aged children (ages 11-13)
  • Boys have a diagnosis rate twice that of girls
  • The Southern part of the U.S cites higher diagnosis rates than the Western states, with a nearly three-fold difference between the rates of the highest and lowest states
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Children with ADHD are likely to be diagnosed with other behavioral health conditions

  • About 4 in 10 children with ADHD are also diagnosed with at least one other behavioral health disorder, such as anxiety, depression, Autism Spectrum Disorder, or another disruptive behavior or learning disorder
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Treatment options vary

ADHD can be treated through a variety of medications, behavioral therapy, or a combination of the two.

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends treating ADHD with a combination of medication and behavioral therapy, as the preferable clinical approach.**
  • The FDA has approved two types of medications – stimulants and non-stimulants – to help reduce and manage the symptoms of ADHD.***
  • Given the variety of treatment options available, parents should work closely with health care providers, therapists and teachers to identify and maintain a treatment plan that will best address their child’s needs.  

Low-cost medication options and convenient behavioral therapy are available to Regence members

As ADHD diagnosis rates continue to rise, Regence is working to connect our members to more effective diagnosis tools and treatment options.

This starts with the online medication comparison service, MedSavvy****. MedSavvy’s team of licensed pharmacists keeps members in the know about the effectiveness, safety and cost of their medications. Safety and cost-saving alerts allow members to conveniently compare ADHD medication options side-by-side, offering the potential to discover lower-cost, equally effective alternative treatments.

Members can also connect with MedSavvy pharmacists for advice and support to ensure they are making the most informed, cost-effective health decisions for themselves and their families.   

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Example of ADHD treatment options based on MedSavvy’s evidence-based grading system

In addition, Regence makes it easy for children with ADHD to access behavioral therapy, without even setting foot in the doctor’s office.

A more convenient and cost-effective option, telehealth can be used to treat many conditions affecting the mind and body – beyond coughs and colds. Increasingly, members are turning to telehealth for behavioral health treatment, citing its convenience, cost savings and privacy. For Regence members, mental health concerns (including ADHD, depression and anxiety) tops the list of telehealth use cases – nearly double that of coughs and influenza – for those under the age of 18.

Sign in to learn more about your telehealth benefits as a Regence member.

*As measured by the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Health Index

** https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/treatment.html

*** https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm269188.htm

**** MedSavvy is a separate and independent company that provides prescription comparison services; it does not provide Blue Cross and Blue Shield products or services and is solely responsible for its products or services.

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