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Pediatric Anxiety Diagnoses and Hospitalizations

Depress Anxiety; ePub 2018 Oct 24; Bushnell, et al

Given the prevalence of anxiety disorders in children, a significant number of children are experiencing mental health-related hospitalizations, treated self‐harm, and emergency room (ER) visits. This according to a recent study that aimed to estimate 2‐year cumulative incidence of each aforementioned event in children newly diagnosed with anxiety disorders and, for context, in children without anxiety disorders. Researchers identified commercially insured treatment naïve children (3–17 years) with a new office‐based anxiety disorder diagnosis (ICD‐9‐CM) from 2005–2014 in a claims database. They followed children for up to 2 years after diagnosis for the first of each event. Children without anxiety diagnoses were included as comparators. They found:

  • From 2005–2014, 198,450 children with a new anxiety diagnosis were identified.
  • 1‐year after anxiety diagnosis, 2.0% of children had a mental health–related hospitalization, 0.08% inpatient, treated self‐harm, 1.4% anxiety‐related ER visit, and 20% any ER visit; incidence was highest in older children with baseline comorbid depression.
  • 1‐year cumulative incidence of each event was lower in the comparison cohort without anxiety (eg, mental health-related hospitalizations=0.5%, treated self‐harm=0.01%, and ER visits=13%).

Bushnell GA, Gaynes BN, Compton SN, Dusetzina SB, Brookhart MA, Stürmer T. Incidence of mental health hospitalizations, treated self‐harm, and emergency room visits following new anxiety disorder diagnoses in privately insured U.S. children. [Published online ahead of print October 24, 2018]. Depress Anxiety. doi:10.1002/da.22849.