ADHD Varies Across the Country

Health Writer

Approximately four percent of adults in the United States have Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (Kessler, et al., 2010). However, this number is only an average throughout our nation. The actual number of ADHD diagnoses and those receiving treatment varies across the states and in different geographical regions. There is also variation between rural areas and cities.

For example, according to the Society of Biological Psychiatry (2013), there is even a relationship between the solar intensity of a region and the prevalence of ADHD. In other words, where the sun is strongest, like in the southwest U.S., there is a smaller rate of ADHD cases compared to other regions. In a different study, researchers found that Michigan’s rates of ADHD were the highest while Vermont, Nebraska, and South Dakota were relatively low (Fulton, 2015).

ADHD treatment also varies across the U.S. For example, ADHD medication treatment ranged from 33 percent in Nevada to 79 percent in Mississippi. The three states with the lowest medication use for ADHD were Nevada, California and Alaska. The highest treatment states were Iowa, Missouri and Mississippi (Visser et al., 2013). According to a different study by Brown University (2013), Alaska has the smallest number of adults taking ADHD medications and the highest rates are in Delaware.

There are many possible explanations for differences in ADHD diagnoses and treatments across the U.S. But whatever the reasons, there are several things you can do to make sure you are getting the best care no matter where you live:

  • If you live in a rural area with few medical doctors and no psychiatrists, you may need to travel to a city for care.
  • Looking into a national ADHD support group may be helpful. Members of the group may have a broader perspective on different treatments that are available in different areas.
  • Consider getting help outside of your region even if only for a second opinion. From the studies, it appears that different parts of the country have different views of ADHD diagnosis and treatment.

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