The nationwide registry study examined the use of specialized medical care by all 0-17-year-olds living in Finland from January 2017 to September 2021. The researchers analyzed diagnoses of psychiatric and neurocognitive disorders in specialized medical care according to gender, age, and place of residence. . In the study, the number of diagnoses received by children and young people was compared to the prediction models of previous years, and the number of diagnoses was approximately 18.5% higher than predicted.
According to the assistant professor David GyllenbergThe 3,821 patients who led the study were found to have more psychiatric disorders than expected from June 2020 to September 2021. During this period, psychiatric diagnoses were made more often, especially among young women and teenagers. However, the number of child diagnoses did not increase significantly from the expected number.
The study found that psychiatric diagnoses increased more than expected in areas with the highest incidence of COVID-19 and the strictest restrictions, especially in the capital region and other large cities. The researchers suggested that further research is needed to determine the role of the prevalence and limitations of COVID-19 in the increase in diagnoses.
The study also analyzed the prevalence of different diagnostic groups in special psychiatric treatment diagnoses. The results revealed that diagnoses related to eating disorders (33.4%), depression and anxiety disorders (21%) and neurocognitive disorders increased the most. However, there were no significant differences in diagnoses related to psychotic or bipolar disorders. In addition, diagnoses related to self-harm and substance use disorders were found to be less than predicted.
The rapid increase in diagnoses in the first three months after the pandemic highlights the importance of monitoring young people’s mental health in times of crisis. The results of this study may help develop targeted interventions to mitigate the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth mental health.
Source: The Nordic Page