The proportion of children with psychiatric disorders treated in primary care is not known in most developing countries.
In a two-stage epidemiological study, 990 children aged between 7 and 14 years were screened with the parents' version of the Rutter scale. Of these, a stratified sample of 227 was interviewed jointly with their mothers, using the children's version of the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (K-SADS).
We obtained a weighted prevalence of 19.6 ± 2.5% for the presence of one or more DSM-III-R disorders. Depressive disorders were present in 6.0%, anxiety-related disorders in 4.7%, and conduct disorders in 6.1%.
Psychiatric disorders in children are common in primary care. Doctors working at this level of care need the skills to detect and treat them.
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