The psychiatric profile of the U.S. patient population across age groups


Introduction: As the U.S. population undergoes continuous shifts the population’s health profile changes dynamically resulting in more or less expression of certain psychiatric disorders and utilization of health-care resources. In this paper, we analyze national data on the psychiatric morbidity of American patients and their summated cost in different age groups. Methods: The latest data (2009) on the number of hospital discharges and national bill (hospital charges) linked with psychiatric disorders were extracted from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS). Results: National data shows that mood disorders are the largest diagnostic category in terms of percentage of psychiatri-crelated discharges in the 1 - 17 years age group. The proportion decreases gradually as age progresses while delirium, dementia, amnestic and other cognitive disorders increase exponentially after 65 years of age. Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders as well as alcohol and substance-related disorders peak in the working age groups (18 - 64 years). From an economic point of view, mood disorders in the 18 - 44 age group has the highest national bill ($5.477 billion) followed by schizophrenic and other psychotic disorders in the same age group ($4.337 billion) and mood disorders in the 45 - 64 age group ($4.310 billion). On the third place come schizophrenic and other psychotic disorders in the 45 - 64 age group ($3.931 billion). Conclusion: This paper illustrates the high cost of psychiatric care in the U.S., especially the large fraction of healthcare money spent on working-age patients suffering from mood disorders. This underlines psychiatric cost-efficiency as a vital topic in the current healthcare debate.

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Sami Walid, M. , Zaytseva, N. and Perez, W. (2012) The psychiatric profile of the U.S. patient population across age groups. Open Journal of Epidemiology, 2, 37-43. doi: 10.4236/ojepi.2012.22006.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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