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National study shows 1 in 5 children meet criteria for a mental disorder across their lifetime

Mental disorders in children are often difficult to identify due to the myriad of changes that occur during the normal course of maturation. For the first time, researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health have reported on the prevalence data on a broad range of mental disorders in a nationally representative sample of U.S. adolescents, which show that approximately one in five children in the U.S. meet the criteria for a mental disorder severe enough to disrupt their daily lives.

The prevalence of the mental health disorders as well as the notable link between parental mental health issues and their teen’s disorders are the subject of the article by Merikangas and colleagues in the October 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP).1

In the article titled “Lifetime Prevalence of Mental Disorders in U.S. Adolescents : Results from the National Comorbidity Study‚ÄďAdolescent Supplement (NCS-A).,” Dr. Merikangas and colleagues examined the lifetime prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of DSM-IV mental health disorders across broad classes of disorders. The NCS-A is a nationally representative, face-to-face survey of 10,123 adolescents aged 13 to 18 years in the continental United States.2 Diagnostic assessment of DSM-IV mental disorders were measured using a modified version of the World Health Organization (WHO) Composite International Diagnostic Interview.

The researchers found that anxiety disorders were the most common condition (31.9%),followed by behavior disorders (19.1%), mood disorders (14.3%), and substance use disorders (11.4%), with approximately 40% of participants with one class of disorder also meeting criteria for another class of lifetime disorder.

Read more here: National study shows 1 in 5 children meet criteria for a mental disorder across their lifetime.

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