The Statistics of ADD


Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a specific medical condition. It is a phsysiological developmental disorder describing specific behavioral difficulties. ADD is characterized by multiple symptoms of persistent and dysfunctional patterns of overactivity or underactivity, motivation, impulsiveness, inattention, and distractibility (Murphy, Cowan& Sederer, 2001).


  • ADD affects an estimated 4.1% of youths age 9 to 17 in a six-month period.
  • About 2 to 3 times more boys that girls have ADD.
  • There are 1 to 3 children with ADD in every classroom of 30 students.
  • Children with untreated ADHD have higher than normal rates of injury.
  • ADD, WHEN UN OR UNDERTREATED, often co-occurs with other problems, such as depressive and anxiety disorders, conduct disorder, drug abuse, or antisocial behavior.
  • Symptoms of ADD usually become evident in preschool or early elementary year, though not always detectedso early.
  • The condition often persists into adulthood, requiring lifelong treatment.
  • Sixty to seventy percent of children with ADD grow up to have active Adult ADD,

People with ADD experience harmful consequences as a result of their behavior. They frequently experience peer rejection, as well as academic, employment, relationship and social difficulties which may long-term effects. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) children with ADD may also have conduct disorder, experience drug abuse, exhibit antisocial behavior, and incur injuries of all sorts. For many individuals the impact of ADD continues into adulthood (NIMH, 2000)

 ADD frequently occurs in conjunction with other conditions, which can often cloud the diagnostic issue. It can be difficult to separate the ADD symptoms from those of the co-occurring conditions, as there can be significant symptom overlay with Learning Disabilities, Language Disorders, Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorder.

Difficulties with memory, cognitive processing, sequencing, motor skills, social skills, modulation of emotional response, and response to discipline are commonly associated with ADD Sleep disorders are also more prevalent in children who suffer from ADD. (NIMH, 2000).

At its most harmless, adult ADHD is a disadvantage, both personally and professionally. At its worst, it can actually be dangerous. Research shows that adults with ADHD have much higher risk for certain problems than adults who don't have ADHD. Adults with ADHD are:

~ 2x more likely to rarely or never use BIRTH CONTROL  

~ 4x more likely to contract a SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE 

~ 3x more likely to be UNEMPLOYED

 ~ 2x more likely to have PROBLEMS keeping friends

 ~ 47% more likely to have trouble PAYING BILLS

~ Over 75% of people with ADD get divorced 

~ Over 50% of children with ADD stay behind a grade in school

~ Over 46% of ADD children are suspended at least once

~ Over 10% of ADD children are expelled at least once

~ Over 2 ½ million school children are considered to have ADD



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  • Barkley, R. ADHD Fact Sheet. (2001).
  • Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders (CHADD). (2001). The Disorder Named
  • AD/HD – CHADD Fact Sheet #1. 2001.
  • National Institute of Mental Health. (1998). Diagnosis and Treatment of Attention Deficit
  • Hyperactivity Disorder. NIH Consensus Statement Online 1998 Nov 16-18.16(2):1-37. [Online].
  • Available:[November 2002].
  • National Institute of Mental Health. (2000). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Questions and
  • Answers. [Online]. Available: [June 2002].
  • MediFocus. (2002). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder [Online]. Available:
  • [June 2002].
  • Murphy, M. J., Cowan R. L., and Sederer, L.L. (2001). Disorders of Childhood and Adolescence.
  • Second Edition. Blueprints in Psychiatry. (pp. 40-41). Malden, Mass: Blackwell Science, Inc.
  • Available:
  • Available:



*Data compiled from a study comparing the young adult adaptive outcomes of nearly 140 children (ADHD and non-ADHD control) followed concurrently for at least 13 years.


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