Severe Mental Health Disorders Untreated in Many U.S.
FRIDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Among American teens, many
with severe mental disorders never receive treatment, the results
of a new study suggest.
Researchers examined data from a nationally representative
sample of 6,483 adolescents, aged 13 to 18, and found that only
36.2 percent of those with any mental disorder received
While the severity of the disorder was significantly associated
with the likelihood of receiving mental health treatment, only
about half of the teens with severe mental disorders ever received
such treatment, according to the report published in the January
issue of the
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent
The disorders most likely to be treated were
attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (59.8 percent) and
behavior disorders, such as oppositional defiant disorder and
conduct disorder (combined 45.4 percent), study author Kathleen
Ries Merikangas, of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health,
and colleagues found.
On the other hand, only about one in five teens with anxiety,
eating or substance abuse disorders received treatment. In
addition, Hispanic and black adolescents were less likely than
whites to receive treatment for mood and anxiety disorders, even
when the disorders caused severe impairment, the researchers
"National shortages of mental health specialists for children remain widely prevalent," the researchers wrote in a news release from the journal's publisher. "Recruitment, training, and promotion of child and adolescent mental health professionals remain leading priorities. Strains on available treatment resources are likely to grow as coverage is extended to large groups of currently uninsured American young people."
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about
child and adolescent mental health.
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