Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Diagnostic Tools Aid in the Early Diagnosis of Mentally Ill Youth. (Pediatric Bipolar)

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Diagnostic Tools Aid in the Early Diagnosis of Mentally Ill Youth. (Pediatric Bipolar)

Article excerpt

MONTREAL -- Bipolar disorder and psychosis often begin in childhood or adolescence, but early signs can remain undetected for years, Dr. Mohammad Hussain and Dr. Ralph Lewis said in separate poster presentations at the annual meeting of the Canadian Psychiatric Association.

The average time between the onset of prodromal symptoms of bipolar disorder and diagnosis is 10 years, said Dr. Hussain, a psychiatrist in Prince Albert, Sask.

Dr. Lewis of the University of Toronto said that a definitive diagnosis of psychotic illness may be similarly delayed because early-onset clinical symptoms often are poorly differentiated.

Diagnostic tools--including a prodromal scale for bipolar disorder and a cognitive test that can detect subtle differences in early presentation of schizophrenia and affective psychosis-can lead to early detection and intervention, which could have a positive effect on the course of the disease.

Dr. Hussain created a 25-item 4-point prodromal scale for youth, using criteria from the DSM-IV and the Hamilton Depression and Young Mania Rating scales. "It reflects the atypical presentation of bipolar disorder in childhood," he said. …

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