Mental disorders among children are a significant and common concern in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) it’s estimated that up to 1 in 5 children in the U.S. experience a mental disorder in a given year. This translates to millions of affected children and adolescents. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety, and behavior disorders are among the most common mental disorders in children. Depression and autism spectrum disorders are also commonly diagnosed.
These conditions can significantly impact a child’s daily life, affecting their ability to learn, socialize, and function effectively. They can also have long-term effects into adulthood, affecting educational attainment, employment, relationships, and overall health and well-being.
It’s crucial to improve the understanding and recognition of child mental health problems, increase access to services, and ensure children and families receive the support they need. Early identification, diagnosis, and treatment can help children reach their full potential.
The list of most common kids’ mental disorders in the USA
Children can experience a range of mental health conditions, many of which are often first diagnosed in childhood. The following are some of the most common mental disorders diagnosed in children in the United States in September 2021:
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): This is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors, or be overly active.
- Anxiety Disorders: This can include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. Children with these disorders experience fear, nervousness, and shyness, and they may start to avoid places and activities.
- Depression: This is more than just occasional sadness. It is a serious mood disorder that can cause severe symptoms affecting how a child feels, thinks, and handles daily activities.
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): ASD is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior. It can impact a child’s social interactions, communication skills, and learning.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Children with OCD experience unwanted and intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and feel compelled to repeatedly perform rituals and routines (compulsions) to try and ease their anxiety.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): This can develop after a child experiences a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety.
- Eating Disorders: These include conditions like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. These disorders involve serious problems with eating behavior, such as extreme reductions in food intake or severe overeating, as well as feelings of distress and concern about body shape or weight.
- Conduct Disorder: Children with this disorder exhibit a pattern of disruptive and violent behavior, have difficulties following rules, and behave in a manner that is unacceptable for their age.
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD): This involves frequent and persistent patterns of anger, irritability, arguing, defiance, or vindictiveness toward authority figures.
It’s important to note that early mental health support can significantly impact a child’s quality of life, academic achievement, and overall health.