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Prevalence statistics of four disorders

It's common for a parent to ask, "How common is my child's illness?" Discussions about illnesses being over-diagnosed or under-diagnosed often ensue - particularly after some of the surprising statistics below are shared. The following figures are available at the website of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists, and the data is sourced from national governmental agencies as indicated. The www.aacap.org site offers a wide range of fact sheets and resources for parents who might be doing research regarding their child's challenges.

Therapists, nurses and psychiatrists at West Yavapai Guidance Clinic routinely work with local children and their families who seek to manage and/or overcome the following diagnoses:

• Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that becomes apparent in some children in the preschool and early school years. It is hard for these children to control their behavior and/or pay attention. It is estimated that between 3 and 5 percent of children have ADHD or approximately 2 million children in the U.S. (Source: NIMH, www.nimh.nih.gov, accessed 02/11/09.)

• Autism Spectrum Disorder, also known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDDs), cause severe and pervasive impairment in thinking, feeling, language, and the ability to relate to others. A recent study of a U.S. metropolitan area estimated that 3.4 of every 1,000 children 3-10 years old had autism. (Source: NIMH, www.nimh.nih.gov, accessed 02/11/09.)

• Conduct disorder, also known as disruptive behavior disorder, is a disorder that involves chronic behavior problems during childhood and adolescence including stealing, fighting, or bullying others. Conduct disorder affects 1 to 4 percent of 9- to 17-year-olds, depending on exactly how the disorder is defined. (Source: SAMHSA, www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov, accessed 03/18/09.)

• Depression is a treatable illness that affects a young person's ability to think, feel and behave in a normal manner. Major depression can lead to school failure, alcohol and drug use, and even suicide. At any point in time, 1 in every 10 children and adolescents is affected by serious emotional disturbances. (Source: SAMHSA, www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov, accessed 03/18/09.)

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