US Kids Hospitalized for Mental Illness Has Increased According to New Study

More children and adolescents are being admitted to the hospital today for mental problems a new study shows.

The study took data spanning ten years; from 1996 to 2007. It concluded that the rate of psychiatric hospital discharges rose by more than 80 percent for 5-13-year-olds and by 42 percent for older teens.

“This occurs despite numerous efforts to make outpatient services for the more vulnerable kids more widely available,” Joseph C. Blader of Stony Brook State University of New York told Reuters Health. His findings appear in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Blader also stated that hospitalization is the last resort, because it’s so disruptive for normal life.

“It’s a pretty traumatic thing for a family when your child is admitted to a psych unit,” he said.

Data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey showed that short-term hospital admissions for mental illness rose from 156 to 283 per 100,000 children per year over the ten-year study period.

The largest increase was for adolescents. The rate increased from 683 to 969 per 100,000. Most of these young kids were hospitalized for bipolar disorder and anxiety diagnoses dropped.

Are today’s teens being over diagnosed for bipolar disorder? A lot of people argue that this is the case. If your child has a mental illness how do you know for sure that it is something as serious as bipolar? I believe that it is important for parents to get a second opinion before they jump to conclusions about the mental condition of their child.

What the experts may tell you is a mental illness could very well only be a behavior issue that can be resolved by reducing your child’s stress and changing your parenting style. Ask yourself these questions:

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Is your child involved in too many extra curricular activities?
Are you giving your child too much responsibility and not enough space and time alone?
Do you yell at your child on a regular basis?

All of the above could lead to behavior problems that may appear to be a mental illness. Getting a second opinion, changing the way you treat your child and reducing the stress level in your home can change these statistics. What do you think is causing the increase in mental illness among US children today?

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  1. Kat from California August 5, 2011
  2. Cascia Talbert August 5, 2011
  3. Anonymous August 19, 2011
  4. SFJD August 26, 2011

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