Addiction to Drugs, Alcohol, Tobacco Most Common Mental Health Problem in Teens
Addiction to drugs, alcohol and tobacco are the most common mental health problems in teenagers, a new government report concludes. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed problem overall in youth ages 3 to 17, NBC News reports.
The findings, from a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found almost 7 percent of children under 18 are diagnosed with ADHD, while 3.5 percent have behavioral problems and 1.1 percent have autism.
An estimated one million teenagers abuse drugs or alcohol, and more than 695,000 are addicted to tobacco, the CDC found. The agency found during 2010-2011, a total of 4.2 percent of teens were dependent on or abused alcohol in the past year. An estimated 4.7 percent of teens had an illicit drug use disorder in the past year.
Use of illicit drugs during the past month varied by age. Among teens ages 12 to 13, 1.3 percent used marijuana, compared with 6.7 percent of 14- to 15-year-olds and 15.1 percent of 16- to 17-year-olds.
“This first report of its kind documents that millions of children are living with depression, substance use disorders, ADHD and other mental health conditions,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden. “No parent, grandparent, teacher or friend wants to see a child struggle with these issues. It concerns us all. We are working to both increase our understanding of these disorders and help scale up programs and strategies to prevent mental illness so that our children grow to lead productive, healthy lives.”