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Committee Opinion No 705 Summary: Mental Health Disorders In Adolescents

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doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000002153
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Recommendations and Conclusions

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists makes the following recommendations and conclusions:

  • At least one in five youth aged 9–17 years currently has a diagnosable mental health disorder that causes some degree of impairment; one in 10 has a disorder that causes significant impairment.
  • The most common mental illnesses in adolescents are anxiety, mood, attention, and behavior disorders.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people aged 15–24 years.
  • Obstetrician–gynecologists who see adolescent patients are highly likely to see adolescents and young women who have one or more mental health disorders.
  • Adolescents with mental illness often engage in acting-out behavior or substance use, which increase their risk of unsafe sexual behavior that may result in pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Adolescents with psychiatric disorders may be taking psychopharmacologic agents that can cause menstrual dysfunction and galactorrhea.
  • Pregnant adolescents who take psychopharmacologic agents present a special challenge in balancing the potential risks of fetal harm with the risks of inadequate treatment.
  • During preventive care visits, all adolescents should be screened for any mental health disorder in a confidential setting (if allowed by the laws of that locality).
  • The obstetrician–gynecologist has the opportunity to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with mental health disorders in adolescents by early identification, prompt referral, and care coordination.

© 2017 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.