Health Discoveries in General Health News

Mental disorders in teens often not treated

January 24, 2011
A study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that many American teens with severe mental conditions such as anxiety or eating disorders never receive treatment.

The study by researchers at the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health found that of nearly 6,500 cases they reviewed involving adolescents aged 13 to 18, only about 36 percent receive treatment.

Those with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and behavior disorders such as conduct problems make up the vast majority of those who receive treatment. But only one in five teens are treated for anxiety, eating disorders or substance abuse problems. In addition, Hispanic and black adolescents are less likely to be treated for mood and anxiety disorders than white teens.

"National shortages of mental health specialists for children remain widely prevalent," the researchers wrote. "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."

Within the North Shore-LIJ Health System, the Cohen Children's Medical Center offers comprehensive care for infants to young adults. Research at the hospital includes such areas as depression, hyperactivity, cancer, eating disorders and congenital malformations.
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