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Pervasive Developmental Disorder

Neurodevelopment Risk and the Autism Spectrum

An update on the major findings on the biology of ASDs and advances in diagnostic and interventional strategies. ©RagonImages/Shutterstock

Pervasive Developmental Disorder

This article aims to provide the general psychiatric community with an update on the major findings on the biology of ASDs as well as the advances in diagnostic and interventional strategies.

Research over the past 2 decades has demonstrated that ADHD occurs frequently and causes considerable suffering in patients and their families. ADHD begins in early childhood and persists through adolescence and into adulthood in 70% of those affected.

Autism: The DSM-5 Neurodevelopmental Disorders Work Group questions the validity of a study by James McPartland and colleagues.

Autism is demanding increased attention by professional and lay audiences; prevalence seems to be increasing. There are differing opinions about whether the increase is due to greater recognition and reporting, diagnostic expansion and substitution, or increasing acceptability.

This is both an exciting and challenging time to be a child and adolescent psychiatrist. New findings are changing our knowledge of childhood psychopathology. This Special Report discusses current developments in diagnosis, treatments, and problems for children and adolescents.

The young adult years (18 to 29) are a critical time of transition, and they present unique challenges in regard to mental health issues and development. Until recently, most research has focused either on children and adolescents or adults. Grant and Potenza’s Young Adult Mental Health is a comprehensive text for clinicians and researchers who work with persons in the transitional period of young adulthood.

A pair of recent research articles has cast the public spotlight on treating children and adolescents with antipsychotic medications.1,2 In the first report, a large and broadly representative group of child and adolescent patients, all naive to antipsychotic medications, was followed for approximately 10 weeks after initiating treatment with olanzapine, risperidone, quetiapine, or aripiprazole. The average weight increase ranged from 18.7 pounds (olanzapine) to 9.7 pounds (aripiprazole).3 In the second report, Medicaid-insured youth were found to be approximately 4 times as likely as privately insured youth to fill prescriptions for antipsychotic medications. Only a minority of the privately-insured (32.6%) and Medicaid-insured (26.9%) youth had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or a pervasive developmental disorder.4


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