Lockdown consequences: Significantly more children and young people in psychiatric treatment
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Eating disorders, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts: In Thuringia’s clinics, the number of cases of young people with mental illness has increased significantly since Corona.
In Thuringia, more and more children and young people are being treated for mental and psychosomatic illnesses as a result of the corona pandemic.
As a study conducted by MDR Thüringen at the clinics in the Free State showed, the need for treatment has increased in all houses due to closures, closed schools and lack of social contacts. Exact figures are not registered statistically, according to the clinics, which, however, all report an increased need for treatments and therapies.
A quarter more cases than before Corona
alone in Südharz Clinic in Nordhausen on average, up to 25 percent more children and young people are currently being treated than in previous years. Also in children and Adolescent psychiatry in Stadtroda the number of inquiries for inpatient and day clinic treatments increased. in Ecumenical Hainich Clinic in Mühlhausen and in Helios Clinic in Hildburghausen almost all admissions places in child and adolescent psychiatry were already occupied last year. According to the clinics, this is also the case this year. The waiting times for outpatient and inpatient treatment will often be six months or longer.
Eating disorders, depression, suicidal thoughts
In addition to eating disorders and depression, children suffer primarily from anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The number of those who have suicidal thoughts has increased, according to Dr. Michael Kroll, chief physician in child and adolescent psychiatry at the specialist clinic Asklepios in Stadtroda.
More and more children and young people who no longer want to go to school are being treated. There are more and more psychosomatic diseases, such as abdominal pain, which have mental causes rather than physical ones.
Doctors report that the body mass index has risen rapidly, especially among young people. The biggest impact on children and young people would have been the restrictions on schooling.
More abuse and mistreatment
According to doctors, there were several threats to children’s welfare, ill-treatment and abuse during the shutdowns. Domestic violence and neglect have increased, and self-harming behaviors are also prevalent.
All age groups are affected by the consequences of the pandemic and the shutdowns, according to Prof. Dr. Philip Heiser, chief physician in child and adolescent psychiatry at the Südharz clinic in Nordhausen. “Especially from primary school age, mental stress has increased, and it is primarily children and young people who faced impending transitions during school closures,” says Heiser. Girls tend to be affected more often, as do children and young people from families with less financial means.
Long waits for doctor visits
It is still unclear how long it will take to improve the health of children and adolescents to the level before corona. “This will drag on for the next few years, if not decades,” said Daniel Busch, chief physician in child and adolescent psychiatry at the Ecumenical Hainich Clinic in Mühlhausen. The situation is exacerbated by the long waits.
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