1 in 7 children under 9 are prone to psychological disorders: Study

A chirpy kid whose very essence lies in his innocence, his ability to bring light to the otherwise boring day, his charming smile and his benevolent warmth can also show signs of psychological and emotional distress. A recent study, published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report in March 2016, found that one in every seven American kids under nine years of age suffers from a mental, behavioral or a developmental problem.

It was observed that socio-demographic, healthcare, family and community attributes can cause increased risk for mental, behavioral, and developmental disorders (MBDDs) in children.

Children living in poverty at a highest risk

As part of the study, the researchers examined 35,121 children aged 2–8 years, based on the data supplied by parents in the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health, indicating problems, like learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder, anxiety and others.

Among these children, nearly 15.4 percent were found to have, at least, one diagnosed MBDD. The factors that contributed to these disorders in early childhood were poor parental mental health, lack of medical access, family’s financial income, improper childcare, and living in a poor neighborhood.

The findings revealed that California had the lowest prevalence of disorder rate at 10.6 percent, while the figure was more than double in Arkansas and Kentucky.

While Arizona led the pack with 52.2 percent in lacking a medical home, income difficulties were the lowest in North Dakota at 18.5 percent. Childcare problems were the lowest in Nevada at 2.6 percent, whereas fair or poor parental mental health prevalence was the highest in the District of Columbia at 19.1 percent and the lowest in Kansas at 6.9 percent.

In addition, lack of childcare and prevalence of difficulties in family’s income was the highest in Arizona, pegged at 21.8 percent and 34.9 percent, respectively. On the other hand, inadequate insurance was the highest in South Carolina at 26.5 percent.

States can ‘improve the health’ of kids

Lead researcher Jennifer Kaminski, team leader for child development studies at the CDC, said, “Incidence of disorders varied widely by state, which suggests that there are things states can do to improve the health of these kids.”

She also added that children living in poverty, or in homes where English is not spoken, were at the highest risk for these problems. “Speaking English is either an indicator of assimilation into the culture and/or a sign of better access to health care,” she said. If other healthcare factors are considered, poor mental health condition of the parents or related family members and lack of proper medical care can be significantly associated with MBDD.

However, further study is needed to identify the most powerful factors that need to be targeted to promote children’s health.

Though the researchers were not able to exactly determine if these risk factors were actually responsible for causing such disorders, all the factors needed to be addressed to maintain a sound mental health of a child.

Way to recovery

It is important to identify the causal factors of mental disorders in a child because such problems seem to persist even during adulthood. Some children might outgrow a particular mental health condition, but this does not rule out the possibility of the occurrence of some other mental problems. What is needed is a clear determination of causes and identification of right treatments that can cure a child from a debilitating mental disease.

If your child is a victim of any mental disorder, call the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline at 855-653-8178 to know more about mental health illnesses and their effective treatments. You can also chat with our mental health professionals who can recommend one of the best mental health facilities in the U.S., which can offer customized treatment to your child.