Child psychiatry: limited research, evidence for cost-effectiveness of treatment
background Research into cost-effectiveness of treatment of child psychiatric disorders is extremely limited. There are two main reasons for this: it’s a new field and the type of research required is intrinsically complicated.
aim To review selected articles that reveal the prevalence of child psychiatric disorders, demonstrate the complexity of cost-efficiency research in child psychiatry and point to the possible benefits of appropriate treatment.
method We provide an overview of a selected number of articles dealing with the prevalence of child psychiatric disorders and the costs involved, we stress the diffulty of assessing whether current treatment is cost-effective and we describe the possible benefits of treatment.
results However, the limited number of articles that we located do indicate that the treatment of children with psychiatric disorders is cost-effective. Not only does it benefit the child, it also eases the burden on the parents and on society as a whole. Findings need to be interpreted in the light of the limited scope and shortcomings of the research done so far.
conclusion Although current research seems to be cost-effective, we stress the need for further investigations, particularly in the form of longer-term studies.