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Mental Disorders In Children Rising

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First Posted: May 17, 2013 07:56 AM EDT
Matthew Kolen, who was diagnosed at age eight with Asperger's syndrome, puts his hand over his head while doing his homework in Long Island, New York.

Matthew Kolen, who was diagnosed at age eight with Asperger's syndrome, puts his hand over his head while doing his homework in Long Island, New York. Credit:Reuters

 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a shocking report; around one-fifth of the children in America suffer from a mental disorder. Mental disorders like anxiety and depression are more common than others, the study said.

"A total of 13 percent to 20 percent of children living in the United States experience a mental disorder in a given year," said the study.

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This data, which was recorded in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, emphasized the importance of awareness of these mental disorders, mostly due to a high increase in their prevalence rates in children and teens in the United States.

They are an important public issue because of their prevalence, their impact on the child and the family, their early onset, and the estimated cost of $247 arising as a result of it.

According to the study, the most prevalent mental health condition is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, making up 6.8%, followed by anxiety (3%), behavioral and conduct problems (3.5%), depression (2.1%), autism (1.1%) and Tourette syndrome (0.2%).

This particular data was put together between the years 2005-2011, revealing that suicide was the second leading cause of death among teenagers.

Boys in general, were more likely to suffer from these mental illnesses than girls, especially attention deficit hyperactivity syndrome, anxiety, dependence on cigarettes. They were also at a greater risk of dying of suicide than girls, the study showed.

On the other hand, girls were more likely to be affected by depression and alcohol dependence.

"Our current health care system does not meet the needs of these children," Dr. Martin J. Drell, the group's president, explained.

Of the children suffering from these mental disorders, an estimated mere 21 percent actually get access to the right treatment for their condition, the study enlightened.

Early diagnosis and treatment is essential to stop these conditions right in their tracks, before it is too late. Children in the rural and urban areas are less likely to get the right care and support, making awareness spread all the more important.

"Children with serious medical conditions should not have where they live determine what kind of health care services they receive," Dr. Thomas K. McInerny, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said.

Initiatives should be taken to avoid the occurrences of these disorders in kids and teens, especially since they play a role in shaping the future world.  

 

 

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