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Number of Children Diagnosed with Psychiatric Diseases on the Rise

Drugs have become increasingly popular for treating the seven to 12 million American youth suffering from mental, behavioral, or developmental disorders. Full Focus explores the current treatments in

Talk about pill-popping grownups -- it looks as though kids are catching up. According to some reports, there’s been a staggering jump in the percentage of children diagnosed with a mental illness and treated with psychiatric medications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 20 percent of visits to the pediatrician were for psychological reasons in 2002. Almost 11 million prescriptions were for children that year.

Why this increase in childhood psychiatric diseases? Are pills being over-prescribed and what might be their long term effects? This week in San Diego, some 4,000 psychiatrists are discussing these issues with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Host Gloria Penner asked two distinguished members of the Academy about child psychiatry.



  • Dr. Adelaide Robb , child and adolescent psychiatrist with the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
  • Dr. Steven R. Pliszka , chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.