Follow us:

Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: ADHD

You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.

May 29, 2013 at 6:30 AM

CDC: One in 5 American kids has mental disorder

(Donna Grethen/Tribune Media Services)

(Donna Grethen/Tribune Media Services)

One in five U.S.  kids  currently has a mental disorder.  That is a lot of kids and the number has been rising for more than a  decade, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report,  “Mental Health Surveillance Among Children.”

Even scarier, only 21 percent of these children are getting treatment because of a shortage of pediatric sub-specialists and child and adolescent psychiatrists, reports The Washington Post. The Post article points to troubled children living in rural and urban areas as the most likely to be under served because of the shortage and because few new doctors are specializing in pediatric mental health.

It should go without saying that 20 percent of people ages 3-17 undoubtedly places some of them here, making this a local issue that would benefit from attention by local schools, county and state governments.

The CDC relied on federal studies, medical insurance claims, public health reports, telephone surveys and other research from 2005 to 2011 for its first comprehensive look at the mental health status of children.  One CDC-cited study found that from 1997 to 2010, mood disorders were among the main causes of hospital stays among children. The analysis of insurance claims found a 24 percent increase in children hospitalized for  mental health and/or substance abuse between 2007 to 2010. Psychotropic drug use by teens increased over the same period.

This is a major public health issue and its prevalence, early onset, and impact on the child, family, and community is costly. The CDC estimates annual costs of $247 billion spent on health care, on services such as special education and juvenile justice, and for decreased productivity. Families without medical insurance often turn to public schools and community health organizations for help, underscoring the challenges faced by those institutions. Broadening access to mental health services is a clear need but the Washington Post story points out the difficulty of doing that with so few doctors and mental health professionals available. resources.


Comments | Topics: ADHD, Autism, centers for disease control and prevention

April 1, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Are school kids being overdiagnosed with ADHD?

The headline’s question is explored in a New York Times report that one in five high-school-age boys in the U.S. and 11 percent of all school-aged children have been diagnosed with attention deficity hyperactivity disorder. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study was a broader one about children’s health but noted the marked rise with some concern…


Comments | Topics: ADHD, children, children's health