redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most prevalent diagnosis amongst youngsters between the ages of three and 17, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention´s (CDC) first-ever comprehensive report on the mental health of American children.
The report, released as a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Supplement entitled “Mental Health Surveillance Among Children in the United States, 2005-2011,” is said to be the first report to describe federal efforts on monitoring mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and autism spectrum disorders.
The CDC discovered that boys were more likely than girls to have ADHD, behavioral or conduct problems, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety, Tourette syndrome, and cigarette dependence. Adolescent girls, on the other hand, were reportedly more likely than adolescent boys to have depression or an alcohol use disorder.
Furthermore, the study discovered that the number of children with a mental disorder increased with age — with the exception of autism spectrum disorders, which was highest amongst children between the ages of six and 11. The CDC also reported that 12-to-17-year-old boys were more likely than adolescent girls to die as a result of suicide.
The organization calls the report an important step to better understand mental health disorders in children, as well as identifying gaps in the data and developing strategies to help better promote and protect the mental health of youngsters. By doing so, they said, children will be able to reach their full potential in life.
“Millions of children in the U.S. have mental disorders that affect their overall health and present challenges for their loved ones. In addition, the financial costs of childhood mental disorders are at least an estimated $247 billion each year,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a statement. “We are working to both increase our understanding of these disorders, and help scale up programs and strategies to promote children´s mental health so that our children grow to lead productive, healthy lives.”
“Children of all ethnic backgrounds, races, genders and ages, in every area of the United States live with a mental disorder,” added Ruth Perou, Child Development Studies Team Leader at the CDC´s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. “We need surveys and data systems that provide the necessary mental health information to improve children´s health and wellbeing at home and in school. This will help children reach their full potential while reducing societal costs.”
According to the report´s findings, 6.8 percent of children between the ages of three and 17 had ADHD; 3.5 percent had behavioral or conduct problems; 3.0 percent had anxiety disorders; 2.1 percent were depressed; and 1.1 percent had autism spectrum disorders.
In addition, 0.2 percent of children between the ages of six and 17 had Tourette syndrome. Amongst 12-to-17-year-old adolescents, 4.7 percent had illicit drug use disorder in the past year, while 4.2 percent had alcohol use disorder in the same year, and 2.8 percent had cigarette dependence in the past month.