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Increase in Swedish girls taking ADHD drugs

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Increase in Swedish girls taking ADHD drugs
07:58 CET+01:00
The number of Swedish girls given medicine to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has increased much more rapidly compared to their male peers.

In the past six years, there has been a 260-percent increase in the number of Swedish girls who are medicated for the disorder.

During the same period, the number of boys who are given drugs to help deal with their symptoms has gone up by 160 percent.

Some observers have welcomed the news that the number of girls being treated has more than doubled since 2006, believing it proves there is an increased awareness of the disorder among girls.

Doctors are becoming less likely to overlook ADHD symptoms in their young female patients.

Girls with ADHD don't act up as much and it is a well-known problem that they are underdiagnosed, explained pediatric psychiatrist Kerstin Malmberg to the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper on Thursday.

She thinks the increase will keep going as the girls catch up to the boys.

In total, Swedish girls still only make up one fourth of the total number of ADHD diagnoses in the country.

In June 2012, there were also reports that more young children were being diagnosed.

A review compared figures to 2006, when only 179 children under seven were prescribed drugs to treat ADHD.

But by 2011, that figure had ballooned to 551 children taking medication such as Ritalin, Concertina and Strattera, according to figures from Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

In Stockholm, the number of young children on ADHD drugs has increased five-fold in the past five years, from 11 to 53, making it the region in the country with the greatest increase.

TT/The Local/at

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