The NHS spent more than £17 million on drugs to treat hyperactivity in children in 2007 alone, figures have revealed.
According to data obtained by the Conservatives, the number of prescriptions written for under 16-year-olds in 2007 rose to 420,000 - up 33% from the 2005 figures.
The figures for prescriptions written for 16 to 18-year-olds has also risen since 2005 by 51% to 40,000.
The data also showed a rise in the number of prescriptions written for antidepressants and antipsychotics for under 16-year-olds.
In 2007 more than 113,000 prescriptions were given to children under 16 and 108,000 to 16 to 18-year-olds.
The figure for teenagers aged 16 to 18 has not changed since 2005 but is up 6% among those under 16.
Shadow health minister, Anne Milton, said: "Increasingly, health professionals are prescribing drugs to treat child mental health problems, when evidence suggests that talking therapies can have an equal, if not better effect."
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "Treatment with prescribed drugs should only be started after a specialist in ADHD has thoroughly assessed the child or adolescent and confirmed the diagnosis."
"It is to easy to rely on drugs as the cure for all ills. Pressure from parents I believe for a quick fix is a factor in the high prescribing of drugs to parents. Other therapies should be tried including challenging parents on their own contributing relationship to the problem/s presented" - V Henry, London