One in 10 children in Turkey suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), higher than the worldwide average, according to new research conducted by the Turkish Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
“The percentage of depression among children aged 8-10 in our country is 1.6 percent. The number suffering from ADHD stands at 12.4 percent. Anxiety disorders are at 6 percent and behavioral disorders are at 2.5 percent,” Gül Karaçetin, the general secretary of the association, was quoted as saying at the Istanbul launch of the report by state-run Anadolu Agency on May 10.
Although there is no global consensus, individual studies have indicated the worldwide ADHD prevalence at between 5.2 percent and 7.5 in children and adolescents. The prevalence estimate for Europe is under 5 percent.
The research, titled “Turkey Children Mental Health Epidemiology,” was undertaken under the coordination of the association’s president Eyüp Sabri Ercan with the participation of 162 children and adolescent psychiatrists.
“Children participated [in the research] from seven regions of our country, from 29 provinces. A total of 5,842 children attending second, third, and fourth grades were evaluated. This is the first research looking at the frequency of mental disorders country-wide,” Karaçetin said.
She highlighted the importance of the research in generating awareness on the issue of early diagnosis and treatment of child-related mental illnesses.
“This finding shows the importance of mothers being included in the works of preventive mental healthcare. The risk factors for anxiety disorders being formed in children, on the other hand, are if the mother has a physical or psychological illness of if the mother or father have a low education level,” Karaçetin added.
The research’s coordinator for the Aegean region, Ülkü Akyol Ardıç, also took the floor at the meeting, noting that ADHD is a “biological disorder with a high genetic transition.”
“The correct treatment of this illness is important for losses in academic, social, and business lives to not occur. Use of medicine can give positive results in treatment of ADHD. And the medicine used for the treatment do not lead to addiction,” said Ülkü Akyol Ardıç.