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More Than 6 Percent of U.S. Teens Take Psychiatric Meds: Survey

ADHD, depression most common conditions reported by those on medication

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Of those teens taking a single psychiatric medication in the survey, roughly one-half had seen a mental health professional during the past year, the findings showed. Saxe noted that many pediatricians are adept at handling common mental health problems in adolescents and children.

The survey showed that white teens were much more likely to be taking a psychiatric drug when compared to blacks or Mexican-Americans, 8.2 percent versus 3.1 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively. "I thought there would be differences, but I was surprised by the magnitude," study author Jonas said. This gap may be due to lack of access to health care or other economic issues.

Location may also play a role, another mental-health expert said.

"Where I practice, minority children are the majority because we are housed in a major urban area that is easily accessible by many types of transportation," said Dr. Rose Alvarez-Salvat, a child psychologist at Miami Children's Hospital.

She is hopeful that other cities and states will soon catch up and help bridge this divide. "Most parents will know when there is something going on with their child," Alvarez-Salvat said. "They just need to be vigilant and be proactive and seek out resources in their area."

The findings are published in the December issue of the CDC's NCHS Data Brief.

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