Study Examines Delivery of Outpatient Mental Health Treatment

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: 3 P.M. (CT), WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2013

Media Advisory: To contact author Mark Olfson, M.D., M.P.H., call Dacia Morris at 646-774-8724 or email morrisd@pi.cpmc.columbia.edu.

 

JAMA Psychiatry Study Highlights

 

Visits to physicians that resulted in a mental health diagnosis increased at a faster rate for young people than adults in a study examining the outpatient delivery of mental health treatment by Mark Olfson, M.D., M.P.H., of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York, and colleagues.

 

The use of psychotropic medications to manage mental health diagnoses is increasing but little is known about changes in the delivery of mental health treatment, according to the study.

 

Researchers gathered data on outpatient visits to physicians in office-based practices in 1995-2010 from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys (N=446,542).

 

Between 1995-1998 and 2007-2010, visits resulting in mental disorder diagnoses  per 100 population increased faster for youths (< 21 years) than for adults. Visits to psychiatrists also increased faster for youths than for adults. Nonpsychiatrist physicians making mental health diagnoses included pediatricians, general practitioners, internists and other specialists. In the study, psychotropic medication visits increased at comparable rates for youths and adults.

 

“Over the last several years, there has been an expansion in mental health care to children and adolescents in office-based medical practice. This growth, which coincided with an increase in the number of prescriptions of psychotropic medications, offers new clinical opportunities to relieve the psychological distress associated with the common childhood and adolescent psychiatric disorders,” the study concludes. “Yet, it also poses risks related to adverse medication effects, delivery of non-evidence-based care, and poorly coordinated services.”

(JAMA Psychiatry. Published online November 27, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.3074. Available pre-embargo to the media at http://media.jamanetwork.com.)

 

Editor’s Note: An author made conflict of interest disclosures. This research was funded by grants from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Mental Health. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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