Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

One-Fifth of Children on Medicaid Receive Mental Health Diagnoses

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

One-Fifth of Children on Medicaid Receive Mental Health Diagnoses

Article excerpt

TWENTY PERCENT OF CHILDREN insured by Medicaid received a psychiatric diagnosis before 8 years of age, suggests data from more than 35,000 Medicaid-insured children in a mid-Atlantic state.

Previous cross-sectional studies have addressed trends in psychiatric treatment of children. "However, little is known about the longitudinal patterns of pediatric use of psychiatric services," wrote Dinci Pennap, MPH, of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and her colleagues.

In a review published in JAMA Pediatrics, the researchers used ICD-9-CM codes in 2007 to examine patterns of psychiatric diagnosis and medication use among 35,244 children born in a mid-Atlantic state.

By the age of 8 years, 20% of the children had received a psychiatric diagnosis; 58% of these diagnoses were behavioral. The most common psychiatric diagnoses were ADHD (44%) and learning disorder (32%). In addition, 10% (2,196) of children had received psychotropic medications. Of those receiving psychotropic medications, 81% received a single medication, 16% received two medications, and 4% received three medications for 60 days or more, the researchers said. Girls were significantly more likely than boys to be diagnosed with adjustment disorder (22% vs. …

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