One of the reasons for a steady rise in the number of U.S. children diagnosed with ADHD is the broad definition of the condition.  Clinical psychologist Dr. Laurence Abrams says the symptoms which lead to the diagnoses can be based on almost anything.

“Very often you find stress in the home, you find other problems, you find kids having trouble at school,” Dr. Abrams says, “and a whole raft of reasons for the symptoms that don't involve using medication.”

There are a lot of symptoms used to make the diagnoses.

“Being distracted, having poor attention, maybe a lack of memory,” he says, “and anything can cause that, from boredom, to brain damage, to Lord knows what else.”

Abrams says the often-used drug Ritalin actually does help in many cases.  About 6-point-4 million children, aged 4 to 17, have been diagnosed with ADHD.