Up to 20% of US Kids Have Mental Disorder

Prevalence has been increasing for years

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted May 17, 2013 6:46 AM CDT

(Newser) – The CDC is out with its first report on mental disorders and kids, and the bottom line is a pretty heavy one: 13% to 20% of kids between ages 3 and 17 now suffer from a mental disorder, per the AFP. And that has costly implications: The disorders spur $247 billion in medical, special ed, and juvenile justice costs every year, says the report, which defines said disorders as "serious deviations from expected cognitive, social, and emotional development." The report noted such diagnoses are on the rise, a determination made after reviewing data spanning from 1994 to 2011.

Authors didn't offer a definitive explanation for the increase in prevalence, but said improved diagnosis and "public perception" could be part of it, reports Reuters. ADHD was the most common disorder, affecting 6.8% of kids. Also on the list:

  • behavioral conduct problems: 3.5%
  • anxiety/phobias: 3%
  • depression: 2.1%
  • autism spectrum disorders: 1.1%
  • Tourette syndrome: 0.2%

Up to 20% of US kids have mental disorders, the CDC finds.
Up to 20% of US kids have mental disorders, the CDC finds.   (AP Photo/Greg Wahl-Stephens)
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