PRESCRIPTION levels for ADHD are on the rise in Warrington.

The drug, which is given to children and teenagers diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, has been handed out almost double the number of times since 2010 according to latest figures.

The statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre has led to some parents in national reports fearing the drug is being ‘over-diagnosed’ and handed to youngsters ‘needlessly’.

But health chiefs in the town have argued advances in research mean under 18s are being diagnosed earlier.

Dr Andy Davies, chairman of Warrington CCG, said: “Common symptoms of ADHD include a short attention span, restlessness or constant fidgeting and a child being easily distracted.

“This can be scary for patients to accept and it is our job as GPs to ensure the child receives the best treatment they can in a timely manner.”

Figures for Cheshire, Warrington and Wirral leapt from 26 per cent per 1,000 population of under 18s in January 2010 to 46 per cent in December 2012.

NHS Warrington CCG commission 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to provide expert treatment for ADHD to Warrington residents.

A spokesman added: “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a group of behavioural symptoms that include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

“When dealing with a relatively small geographical location any shift even a small number of additional patients can have a significant impact on the overall percentage.

“The Royal College of Psychiatrists say that about two to five per cent of school age children can suffer from ADHD.

“In addition to prescribing, our child and adolescent mental health services also help children learn how to deal with the condition.”