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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557On-line version ISSN 1678-4782


GRILLO, Eugênio  and  SILVA, Ronaldo J. M. da. Early manifestations of behavioral disorders in children and adolescents. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2004, vol.80, n.2, suppl., pp.21-27. ISSN 0021-7557.

OBJECTIVE: To discuss the early diagnosis of behavioral disorders in childhood and adolescence and to provide the pediatrician with practical knowledge about the first symptoms of the main behavioral disorders at this age. SOURCES OF DATA: PubMed (emphasis on the past decade). SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS: Pediatricians should be prepared to detect behavioral disorders as early as possible. Early detection could improve outcome and/or lead to etiologic diagnosis of mendelian inheritance disorders, allowing genetic counseling. Early symptoms of pervasive developmental disorders, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, separation anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, schizophrenia, the main eating disorders (anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa) and substance use and abuse are discussed. CONCLUSIONS: The early symptoms of the main behavioral disorders in children and adolescents may appear before the age in which these conditions are currently diagnosed. Detection of early symptoms leads to early intervention, proper orientation about prognosis and, in some cases, to genetic counseling. The comorbidity among these disorders is frequent, and the symptoms of one disorder could be the first clue to allow the diagnosis of other conditions.

Keywords : Behavioral disorder; early diagnosis; child; adolescent.

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