Concept Library

The Adolescent Mental Health Data Platform aims to promote scientific research and discovery. Through our work we share and develop expertise in key techniques in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Research. As part of this initiative we have compiled and validated lists of read codes for various diagnoses which have been used by our Data Analysts in novel research.

Code list taken from Marchant et al (2019) (Marchant, A., Turner, S., Balbuena, L., Peters, E., Williams, D., Lloyd, K., ... & John, A. (2019). Self-harm presentation across healthcare settings by sex in young people: an e-cohort study using routinely collected linked healthcare data in Wales, UK. Archives of disease in childhood, archdischild-2019.)

This set of codes is based on previously validated lists of primary care Read codes (Carr et al., 2016; Thomas et al., 2013). Additional Read codes were identified through manual searching and checked by a clinician. Codes referring to self-harm with alcohol were excluded unless they were recorded alongside another relevant code (Hawton, Fagg, Simkin, Bale, & Bond, 1997).

Read Code Description

Code list taken from John et al (2016) John, A., Marchant, A. L., Fone, D. L., McGregor, J. I., Dennis, M. S., Tan, J. O. A., & Lloyd, K. (2016). Recent trends in primary-care antidepressant prescribing to children and young people: an e-cohort study. Psychological medicine, 46(16), 3315-3327.

This code list can be used to identify symptoms and diagnoses of depression. These have been previously validated and exclude codes for psychosis (John et al., 2016).

Read Code Description

Code list taken from John et al (2015) John, A., Marchant, A. L., McGregor, J. I., Tan, J. O. A., Hutchings, H. A., Kovess, V., ... & Lloyd, K. (2015). Recent trends in the incidence of anxiety and prescription of anxiolytics and hypnotics in children and young people: an e-cohort study. Journal of affective disorders, 183, 134-141.

The Read codes and algorithms being used to identify a new episode of symptoms/diagnoses of anxiety have been developed and utilised in previous research (John et al., 2016; Walters, Rait, Griffin, Buszewicz, & Nazareth, 2012) These included GP recording of i) diagnoses of anxiety e.g. chronic anxiety, generalised anxiety disorder, anxiety state, ii) anxiety symptoms e.g. anxiousness, iii) mixed anxiety and depression, iv) panic attacks and panic disorders. We included emotional disorders with an onset usually in childhood but excluded codes for phobias, obsessive compulsive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, behavioural disorders, hyperkinetic disorders, conduct disorders and disorders of social functioning in keeping with other studies (Rait et al., 2009; Walters et al., 2012; Wijlaars, Nazareth, & Petersen, 2012). We excluded adjustment disorders as conceptually they are an intermediate health condition between normal responses to stress and more severe emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression (Casey & Doherty, 2012).

Read Code Description

*Indicates codes only relevant to populations of children and young people

Further References

Carr, M. J., Ashcroft, D. M., Kontopantelis, E., Awenat, Y., Cooper, J., Chew-Graham, C., . . . Webb, R. T. (2016). The epidemiology of self-harm in a UK-wide primary care patient cohort, 2001–2013. BMC Psychiatry, 16(1), 53. doi:10.1186/s12888-016-0753-5

Casey, P., & Doherty, A. (2012). Adjustment disorder: implications for ICD-11 and DSM-5. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 201(2), 90-92.

Hawton, K., Fagg, J., Simkin, S., Bale, E., & Bond, A. (1997). Trends in deliberate self-harm in Oxford, 1985-1995. Implications for clinical services and the prevention of suicide. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 171(6), 556-560. doi:10.1192/bjp.171.6.556

John, A., McGregor, J., Fone, D., Dunstan, F., Cornish, R., Lyons, R. A., & Lloyd, K. R. (2016). Case-finding for common mental disorders of anxiety and depression in primary care: an external validation of routinely collected data. BMC medical informatics and decision making, 16(1), 35.

Rait, G., Walters, K., Griffin, M., Buszewicz, M., Petersen, I., & Nazareth, I. (2009). Recent trends in the incidence of recorded depression in primary care. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 195(6), 520-524.

Thomas, K. H., Davies, N., Metcalfe, C., Windmeijer, F., Martin, R. M., & Gunnell, D. (2013). Validation of suicide and self‐harm records in the Clinical Practice Research Datalink. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 76(1), 145-157.

Walters, K., Rait, G., Griffin, M., Buszewicz, M., & Nazareth, I. (2012). Recent trends in the incidence of anxiety diagnoses and symptoms in primary care. PLoS One, 7(8), e41670.

Wijlaars, L. P., Nazareth, I., & Petersen, I. (2012). Trends in depression and antidepressant prescribing in children and adolescents: a cohort study in The Health Improvement Network (THIN). PLoS One, 7(3), e33181.