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Most Teens With Psychiatric Disorders Don't Receive Care

Black youth less likely to get specialty mental health, general medical services for mental disorders

THURSDAY, Dec. 5, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Fewer than half of adolescents with psychiatric disorders receive any form of service, according to a study published online Nov. 15 in Psychiatric Services.

E. Jane Costello, Ph.D., from Duke University in Durham, N.C., and colleagues examined the rates of service use using data from the National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement, a survey of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders and service use.

The researchers found that 45.0 percent of adolescents with psychiatric disorders received some form of service in the previous 12 months. Adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, or oppositional defiant disorder were most likely to receive some form of service (73.8, 73.4, and 71.0 percent, respectively), while those with specific phobias and any anxiety disorder were least likely to receive service (40.7 and 41.4 percent, respectively). Services for any disorder were more likely to be received in a school setting or in a specialty mental health setting (23.6 and 22.8 percent, respectively) than in a general medical setting (10.1 percent). Specialty mental health or general medical services for mental disorders were significantly less likely to be received by black versus white youths.

"Much of this treatment was provided in service settings in which few providers were likely to have specialist mental health training," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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