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

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

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Emotional Issues Hurt Children's Health Care

Emotional and Behavioral Problems Have Ripple Effect on Children's Health and Families

WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 7, 2005 -- Emotional or behavioral problems may make it more difficult for children to get the health care they need. The consequences may have disrupting effects on the entire family, according to a new report.

CDC researchers found that children with chronic emotional, behavioral, or developmental problems, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning disabilities, have more difficulty finding and receiving the health care they need than children with chronic medical conditions like diabetes with reported emotional, behavioral, or developmental problems.

Researchers say overall about 13% of American children have special health care needs. Of those included in this study, about 4% of all children were reported by parents as suffering from emotional, behavioral, or developmental problems compared with about 29% of children with special health care needs.

Compared with children with other chronic medical conditions, the study shows that children with emotional or behavioral health issues were more than twice as likely to be affected by their conditions and these conditions often created financial problems at home.

Children's Mental Health Problems Have Wide Effect

In the study, researchers analyzed information from a 2001 survey of the parents or guardians of nearly 40,000 children with special health care needs.

Of children with reported emotional, behavioral, or developmental problems, the most commonly reported conditions were attention deficit disorder (ADD) or ADHD (53.5%), a learning disability (51.7%), anxiety or depression problems (43.5%), and autism (6.8%).

The study showed that compared with other children with special health care needs, children with these problems were more likely to have:

  • Health conditions that affected their daily activities
  • Missed 11 or more days of school in the last year
  • No or inadequate health insurance
  • Unmet needs for health care services
  • Difficulty getting health care referrals
  • More than $1,000 in annual out-of-pocket medical expenses

In addition, family members of children with emotional, behavioral, and developmental problems were more likely to have:

  • Experienced financial problems related to the child's health
  • Reduced work hours or stopped working to care for the child
  • Spent 11 or more hours per week providing or coordinating health care for the child

Researchers say the results show that a child's mental health problems can have a ripple effect on the health and welfare of the child and his or her family.

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
mother and daughter talking
child brushing his teeth
Sipping hot tea
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
rl with friends
tissue box
Child with adhd