Screening for Teen Psychiatric Disorders

Recent studies published in the Archives of General Psychiatry show that eating disorders in teens are strongly connected to suicide. These eating disorders can be fatal, usually beginning during the ages of 12- 17, and are associated with numerous other psychiatric disorders.

The research was based on a survey of more than 10,000 teenagers between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. The study revealed that more than fifty percent of American adolescents have suffered an eating disorder. Most do not seek treatments for their issues; in fact, less than a quarter of all teens seek help for eating or weight problems. Psychiatric disorders are addressed more often.

Of those who participated in the survey, nearly 86% had suffered from at least one other psychiatric disorder, such as depression, anxiety disorder or social phobia. All eating disorders were associated with a certain level of suicidal risk, bulimia nervosa was the one found to be the most strongly tied to suicide. A third of the respondents who experienced bulimia admitted to attempting suicide at least once.

Health care professionals strongly encourage parents and youth organizations to pay careful attention to their children’s eating habits, as well as to their emotional and psychological health. Proper awareness, prevention and treatment can effectively reduce the risk of suicide in American teens today.