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Youth With Chronic Physical Ailments More Prone to Mental Illness

June 21, 2019
By Lisa Rapaport
Psychiatry & Behavioral Health Learning Network

Children and young adults with chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be more likely to develop mental illness than youth who don’t have physical health problems, a U.S. study suggests.

Researchers followed more than 48,000 youth without any diagnosed mental health disorders for two years, starting when they were between 6 and 25 years old. Overall, 14.7% had a chronic physical health problem that either limited their ability to navigate daily life or required ongoing treatment.

Overall, 7.8% of the study participants developed a mental health problem over the course of the study. Children and young adults with a chronic physical health problem were 51% more likely to be diagnosed with a mental illness than youth without issues like asthma, diabetes, and ADHD.

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