Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

1 in 5 U.S. Kids Has a Mental Health Disorder: CDC

ADHD is most common current diagnosis in children aged 3 to 17

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Brenda Goodman

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 16 (HealthDay News) -- As many as one in five American children under the age of 17 has a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, according to a new federal report.

Released Thursday, the report represents the government's first comprehensive look at mental disorders in children. It focuses on diagnoses in six areas: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), behavioral or conduct disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorders, substance abuse, and Tourette syndrome.

The most common mental disorder among children aged 3 through 17 is ADHD. Nearly 7 percent -- about one in 15 children -- in that age group have a current diagnosis, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For other disorders, 3.5 percent of children currently have behavioral or conduct problems, 3 percent suffer from anxiety, about 2 percent have depression and about 1 percent have autism. About two children out of 1,000 aged 6 to 17 have Tourette Syndrome.

Among teens, about 5 percent had abused or were dependent on illegal drugs within the past year. More than 4 percent were abusers of alcohol, and nearly 3 percent reported being regular cigarette smokers.

The report, which supplements the May 17 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, also noted gender differences in mental disorders.

"Boys are more likely than girls to have most of the disorders overall," said Ruth Perou, the team leader for child development studies at the CDC.

Boys specifically are more prone to ADHD, behavioral or conduct problems, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety and Tourette syndrome, and are more likely to be smokers than girls, Perou said. They're also more likely to die by suicide.

"On the other hand, girls are more likely to have depression or an alcohol-use disorder," she said.

Although this is the first time the CDC has tried to compile prevalence estimates for some of the most common mental disorders in a single report, the agency has long tracked rates of many of these illnesses through population surveys.

"We are seeing increases across the board in a lot of mental disorders," Perou said. Some of the biggest jumps have been in ADHD and autism. "We don't know if it's due to greater awareness, or if these conditions actually are going up," she said.

Perou said that is a question they will try to answer as they continue to track children's mental disorders going forward.

"The good news is that mental disorders are diagnosable and treatable," she said. "If we act early, we can really make a huge difference in children's live and in families' lives overall."

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.

worried kid
jennifer aniston
Measles virus
sick child

Child with adhd
rl with friends
Syringes and graph illustration