There has been a sharp rise in the number of young children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in Singapore, local media reported on Tuesday.
Last year, more than 840 new patients with the learning and behavioral disorder showed up at the country’s Institute of Mental Health (IMH) Child Guidance Clinic, according to local newspaper the Straits Times.
This quadrupled the number of patients the clinic treated in 2000.
ADHD, which is characterized by hyperactivity, impulsiveness and inattention, is now the most common condition seen in the clinic, which sees patients up to 19 years of age, making up a quarter of all patients.
Psychiatrists interviewed attribute the sharp rise to a greaterawareness of the condition and to parents’ greater concern and willingness to seek help for children displaying ADHD’s telltale signs.
IMH’s chief of child and adolescent psychiatry Daniel Fung said that the higher numbers did not mean more children are feeling the effects of stress.
Instead, he said that it reflects a concerted effect by IMH to partner schools and other groups to spot children with problems and send them for treatment, in line with a national push to fight mental illness.