College Students Undertreated for Psychiatric Conditions
According to a recent study published in the Dec. 1 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, college students with psychiatric conditions are less likely to seek help than those in the same age group who are not in college. The study, which was a large national interview of more than 5,000 people, found that 45.8% of student enrolled and 47.7% of non-students in the same age group had some form of mental illness. However, only 18.5% of students 19 to 25 sought treatment as apposed to 21.5% of the non-student group. Even more alarming was the fact that students were only half as likely to seek help for drug and alcohol problems as their non-student counterparts. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews the findings:
The two groups differed significantly when it came to treatment of alcoholism and substance use disorders.
The researchers found that college students were only half as likely to seek treatment for these conditions, compared to their non-student peers (adjusted OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.28 to 0.87).
Barely 5% of students with alcohol or drug problems sought treatment, compared with about 10% of non-students.
“The prevalence of psychiatric disorders is high in this population at a particularly vulnerable time of development,” wrote Dr. Olfson and colleagues.
“As these young people represent our nation’s future, urgent action is needed to increase detection and treatment of psychiatric disorders among college students and their non-college-attending peers.”
The findings emerged from the National Epidemiologic Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions, conducted in 2001 and 2002 with 43,093 people. Included in the sample were 2,188 college students and 2,904 others ages 19 to 25.
Structured interviews conducted as part of the survey were detailed enough to allow diagnoses of psychiatric conditions by DSM-IV criteria.