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Volume 407: debated on Thursday 19 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on research into enuresis and the effects on long-term mental health. [114767]

The Department of Health has not commissioned research into enuresis and its effect on long term mental health. However, there is a well documented association between enuresis and psychiatric disorder in community samples of children, though the causal relationships between the two may vary from child to child. A survey of the mental health of children and adolescents in Great Britain (commissioned by the Department of Health and conducted by the Office for National Statistics in 1999) found that 23 per cent. of children who wet their beds had a mental disorder compared with a prevalence of mental disorder of 10 per cent. for all children assessed in the survey. No single specific disorder nor psychiatric symptom is associated with enuresis and the majority of children cease to wet their beds by adolescence. Persistence of enuresis, particularly beyond adolescence and into adulthood, can cause significant distress, affect self-esteem and may interfere with the confidence required to establish close relationships.