A look at ADHD in Louisiana

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - 12:40am

If you ask parents in Louisiana, many will tell you their children suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. According to the Centers for Disease Control's, "Parent-Reported Diagnosis of ADHD by a Health Care Provider and Medication Treatment Among Children 4-17 Years: National Survey of Children's Health - 2003 to 2011," Louisiana ranks on top for children on ADHD medicine.

The CDC's state profile report for Louisiana also listed that in 2011 Louisiana had approximately 16 percent of respondent's said their child had been diagnosed with ADHD. The number went up from 10.3 percent in 2003.

"ADHD is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and there are two main forms of ADHD," Doctor Shaun Kemmerly, Interim Medical Director for Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital, said.

Dr. Kemmerly says some kids with ADHD have lots of energy and trouble sitting still. Others have issues paying attention.

"That child doesn't have difficulty sitting still but the mind wanders and they have difficulty focusing and staying on task."

Dr. Kemmerly questions the report's findings.

"I'm not sure the validity of this report, so I question how much emphasis do we really need to put on this since it's based on parents recall of a diagnosis. Did parents really understand the question? How many parents were questioned? I would like to see more evidence to really, before I would become alarmed," Dr. Kemmerly stated.

Dr. Kemmerly did note in general over the years the number of kids diagnosed with ADHD has gone up.

"I think in general we are doing a better job at identifying children that do have ADHD that need to be treated appropriately," she said.

Dr. Kemmerly said doctors are very particular when it comes to writting a prescription for ADHD medications.

"These medicines are a controlled substance so it's not something that is prescribed lightly," She stated. "...Pediatricians are seeing the children back quite frequently when they are on these medicines to measure weight and heart rate and other side effects that you could have from the medication."

She said there are multiple ways to treat ADHD.

"Not everyone with ADHD is on medication," She said. "Sometimes there are behavior modifications that you can do to control the symptoms."

She said patients shouldn't rely on medicine alone.

"The medicine is a small piece. It's not you have a problem take this medicine you are fixed. It's not treated that way. It's a much more holistic approach to treating these symptoms," Dr. Kemmerly said.

If you think you're child may have ADHD Dr. Kemmerly suggest you discuss the matter with your regular pediatrician. 

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