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Gesundheitswesen. 2020 Feb;82(2):132-140. doi: 10.1055/a-0832-2066. Epub 2019 Feb 25.

[The Care of Intellectually Disabled Children and Adolescents with Psychiatric Disorders in Hospitals for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in Germany].

[Article in German; Abstract available in German from the publisher]

Author information

Tagesklinik Kinder-und Jugendpsychiatrie, GGP Gruppe, Rostock.
Klinik für Innere Medizin II, Sana Klinikum Lichtenberg, Berlin.
Klinik für Psychiatrie, Neurologie, Psychosomatik und Psychotherapie im Kindes- und Jugendalter, Universitatsmedizin Rostock, Rostock.


in English, German


This study explores the care situation of children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities (ID) suffering from mental problems in Germany in 2014. It complements the study of Hennicke, which was conducted a decade ago.


All clinics and departments of child and adolescent psychiatry in Germany (n=138) were contacted via mail or personally and requested to fill out a questionnaire. We received data from one-third (n=46) of all hospitals contacted.


Eight hospitals (17%) offered specialized services for this client base as either inpatient or outpatient treatment. Three hospitals (7%) provided both. Average proportions of children with ID treated were 6.6% for inpatient, 7.9% for day hospital, and 3% for outpatient services. More than half of responding institutions (54%) judged inpatient services as being defective. Slightly less (43%) reported their outpatient services as being defective or inadequate. For the treatment of mental disorders in young patients with ID, different treatments were used, according to the degree of the ID and applying the standard of child and adolescent psychiatry. Some interventions were used independently of the degree of ID, such as practical exercises, interventions in the patient environment (parents, family). Other interventions, such as psychotherapy were used to a lesser degree when the degree of ID increased. Youth with mild ID received twice as much psychotherapeutic interventions compared to children and adolescents with severe ID. The latter received more psychopharmacotherapy instead. Youth with severe ID received twice as much (67%) psychotropic medication compared to children and adolescents with mild ID.


The defective care situation of the highly vulnerable children and adolescents with ID did not change much between 2004 and 2014. The amount of specialized care services increased only marginally. Non-pharmacological treatments were used to a larger extent, compared to psychotropic medication, independent of the degree of ID.


Conflict of interest statement

Die Autoren geben an, dass kein Interessenkonflikt besteht.

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