Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Pediatric Internalizing Disorders Appear Linked to Atopic Disorders

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Pediatric Internalizing Disorders Appear Linked to Atopic Disorders

Article excerpt

MIAMI -- Children and adolescents with internalizing disorders have increased rates of atopic disorders, compared with those without, according to preliminary study results presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Dr. Marcia J. Slattery and her colleagues assessed 184 children and adolescents with a DSM-IV diagnosis of an internalizing disorder. Participants were consecutive patients presenting to a child and adolescent psychiatry clinic; the mean age was 13 years. The researchers not only looked for an association between an internalizing disorder and atopy, they also compared child and parent recall of diagnoses against patient medical records.

"We asked the child and parents if they had ever been told they have asthma, allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, urticaria, or food and drug allergies," said Dr. Slattery, an attending physician in pediatric and adolescent medicine at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.

"Parents and kids were pretty good at remembering if they had ever been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder--such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder--but they were not very good at recalling diagnoses of allergic disorders," Dr. Slattery said. "Going by parent and child reports alone, we did not see an association. But when we looked at medical charts, the association was robust."

Atopic disorders were most common among youths with depression in the study, although other researchers suggest a stronger association with anxiety. An epidemiologic study of 2,221 children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances or mental disorders found a strong association between panic disorder and allergy (Aust. N.Z.J. Psychiatry 35[6]:815-21:2001).

Diagnosis using clinical symptoms may not be enough. "We may be underestimating the association if we're only basing it on history of symptoms. …

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