For any physician, it is easy to think that the entire world is sick since that is what we see all day long. In a pediatric GI office, there are high rates of anxiety and depression. A recent study (RM Ghandour et al. J Pediatr 2019; 206: 256-67) shows that not everyone is afflicted. Using data from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health (children 3-17 years), which relies on self-administered surveys, the authors found the following:
- 7.1% had current anxiety problems
- 7.4% had a current behavioral problem
- 3.2% had current depression.
- Nearly 3 of 4 children with depression had concurrent anxiety, whereas 1 in 3 children with anxiety had concurrent depression.
The study includes detailed tables examining age, gender, ethnicity, region of country, rural/urban, insurance status, financial status, educational attainment, and health status. While this study relies on parent/caregiver reports, the authors note that “research has shown good agreement between parental report and clinical records.”
My take: Problems with anxiety, depression, and behavioral problems are common but not universal.
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