CDC Says 20 Percent of Children Have Mental Disorder; Why the Increase?

By:  Raven Clabough
05/23/2013
       
CDC Says 20 Percent of Children Have Mental Disorder; Why the Increase?

Though the CDC claims 20 percent of U.S. children may have a mental disorder, critics have pointed out several other reasons for the allegedly higher numbers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 percent of American children may have a mental disorder, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression, and autism. Such a report would have some believing that rates of mental disease have increased. However, much of the increase in rates can be attributed to a number of other items, including the wildly expanded definition of these conditions, the increasingly powerful pharmaceutical industry, and a general lack of understanding in the medical community of the effects of improper nutrition.

CBS News reports, “The CDC data was collected between 1994 and 2011, and it shows that the number of children being diagnosed with mental disorders has been steadily growing. The study did not conclude exactly why the numbers are increasing.”

Dr. Ruth Perou, the lead author of this the CDC's first study of children aged three to 17, stated,

This is a deliberate effort by CDC to show mental health is a health issue. As with any health concern, the more attention we give to it, the better. It’s parents becoming aware of the facts and talking to a health-care provider about how their child is learning, behaving and playing with other kids,” said Dr. Ruth Perou, the study’s lead author.

But what some are calling a growth in the rate of mental health issues may in fact be nothing more than a misdiagnosis of health disorders as a result of expanded medical terms and definitions.

Slate.com reported in April:

Beware the DSM-5, the soon-to-be-released fifth edition of the “psychiatric bible,” the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. The odds will probably be greater than 50 percent, according to the new manual, that you’ll have a mental disorder in your lifetime.

Although fewer than 6 percent of American adults will have a severe mental illness in a given year, according to a 2005 study, many more—more than a quarter each year—will have some diagnosable mental disorder. That’s a lot of people. Almost 50 percent of Americans (46.4 percent to be exact) will have a diagnosable mental illness in their lifetimes, based on the previous edition, the DSM-IV. And the new manual will likely make it even "easier" to get a diagnosis.

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