Teens not getting treatment for psych disorders

November 25, 2013

Fewer than half of all adolescents with psychiatric disorders receive treatment, and many that do receive treatment in a setting where specialist mental health training is unlikely to exist.

 

Fewer than half of all adolescents with psychiatric disorders receive treatment, and many that do receive treatment in a setting where specialist mental health training is unlikely to exist.

Researchers recently found that a mere 45% of adolescents with a diagnosable psychiatric disorder received some form of service within the previous 12 months, and that the most common service providers were schools.

The findings come from data on approximately 6,500 teenagers aged 13 to 17 years from the National Comorbidity Survey: Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A), a survey of the prevalence, course, onset, and comorbidity of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-IV mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders and use of treatment services. The survey was conducted from 2001 to 2004, which is the most recent data available on the topic.

The investigators found that the conditions most likely to have received treatment in the previous year were attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder. Least likely to have received treatment were adolescents with specific phobias and any anxiety disorder.

Treatment settings included schools (23.6%), specialty mental health settings (22.8%), general medical settings (10.1%), juvenile justice settings (4.5%), and complementary and alternative medicine settings (5.3%).

White participants were significantly more likely than blacks to receive treatment in a specialty mental health or general medical settings. Girls were less likely to receive treatment than boys.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 21% of 9- to 17-year-olds have a diagnosable mental or addictive disorder that causes at least minimal impairment at home, at school, or with peers. Consequences of untreated disorders include suicide, school failure, juvenile and criminal justice involvement, and higher health care utilization.

 

 

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