Up to 20 percent of U.S. youth experience a mental disorder

May 18, 2013 at 11:18 PM
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ATLANTA, May 18 (UPI) -- Thirteen percent to 20 percent of U.S. youth experience a mental disorder in a given year, researchers say.

Corresponding author of the study Ruth Perou of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, part of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, said mental disorders among children were described as "serious deviations from expected cognitive, social and emotional development."

These disorders are an important U.S. public health issue in the United States because of their prevalence and impact on the child, family and community, with an estimated total annual cost of $247 billion, Perou and colleagues said.

Suicide, which can result from the interaction of mental disorders and other factors, was the second leading cause of death among children ages 12-17 in 2010, the report said.

Almost 7 percent had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder -- the most prevalent parent-reported current diagnosis among children ages 3-17 -- followed by 3.5 percent with behavioral or conduct problems, 3 percent with anxiety, 2.1 percent with depression, 1.1 percent with autism spectrum disorders and .2 percent with Tourette syndrome among children ages 6-17.

An estimated 4.7 percent of adolescents ages 12-17 reported an illicit drug use disorder in the past year, 4.2 percent had an alcohol abuse disorder in the past year and 2.8 percent had cigarette dependence in the past month, the report said.

The findings were published in a supplement of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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