Author(s): Courvoisie H, Labellarte MJ, Riddle MA
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Abstract The diagnosis of childhood psychosis raises a host of unresolved problems, despite the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) giving identical symptoms and definitions for children, adolescents, and adults. The fantasy lives of children, and issues of developing language and cognition (including retardation), all impair diagnostic accuracy, particularly when differentiating between childhood-onset schizophrenia (COS) (≤12 years), bipolar affective disorder, major depressive disorder, and even obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: the catch-all classification, psychosis not otherwise specified (PNOS), is always available for conundra that prove unsolvable. Typical if nonpathognomonic features include neurocognitive difficulties. Multiple screening instruments and specialized versions of semistructured diagnostic interviews are available. Although smooth-pursuit eye-tracking movements may prove a genetic marker for COS, etiologies are likely to be oligogenetic rather than related to a single gene. No specific biological markers or neuroimages have been identified. As such, psychoses may be indicative of a more general pattern of brain dysfunction. Drug treatments are largely based on the adult literature because of a dearth of controlled data below age 18. There are still no rigorous studies of psychosocial treatments and psychotherapy specific to childhood psychosis.
This article was published in Dialogues Clin Neurosci
and referenced in Journal of Mental Disorders and Treatment