Okulöncesi, P. K. B. (2016). Prevalence and patterns of psychiatric disorders in preschool children referred to an outpatient psychiatry clinic. Anatolian Clinic. 2016 Jan; 21(1): 42-47
There has been a drastic improvement in understanding psychiatric disorders in adults especially, and even in children, but preschoolers fall into an extremely understudied population. The purpose of this research article was to determine the prevalence and patterns of psychiatric disorders in preschoolers (less than 72 months old) referred to an outpatient psychiatric clinic in Trabzon, Turkey. As stated in the article, “these early disorders are associated with impairment in multiple developmental domains, including cognitive, social and emotional functioning.” This is why it is imperative to get a better understanding of these diagnoses early in life in order to promote the best outcomes for each child. 200 preschoolers, both male and female, were evaluated using the K-SADS-P and additionally the DDST-II if development screening was indicated. Each participant was administered an intake form developed by the authors, which detailed social demographics, psychiatric diagnoses, and reasons for referral; in addition K-SADS-P, a diagnostic interview designed to assess current and past episodes of DSM-IV psychiatric disorders was given. This was not previously utilized for preschool-aged children, but has since been validated for this age group. Lastly, the children received the DDST-II, a commonly used indicator for early identification of developmental delayed in children from birth to 6 years old.
By the end of the study, diagnoses of ADHD, ODD, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, elimination disorders and tic disorders were finalized via the K-SADS-PL-T. Diagnosis of developmental disorders (autism, language disorders, and mental retardation) was finalized via DSM-IV criteria. If a diagnosis of developmental disorder was possible, the DDST-II was also used. In addition, parents had the ability to voice their reasons for referring their children to these services, and these reasons were placed into four categories: 1. Behavioral category (hyperactivity, impulsivity, physical or verbal aggression, rage, self-injurious behavior); 2. Developmental category (delay or abnormal development of language, social skills, and/or motor skills); 3. Emotional/adaptive category (excessive fears, tearfulness, shyness, problems with relationships with peers/siblings, problems with school adaptation); and 4. Other (issues with sleep, eating, bathroom use, nail biting, finger sucking, traumatic events, abuse). A major strength of this article is the large sample size and a limitation would be that much of the data collected was subjective, which is not always as reliable. This study is so important due to the unfortunate, wide-spread issues of behavioral and psychological impairments in young children. With studies like these, there is hope that early detection can positively impact a child’s future and create a chance for optimal functional outcomes. The DDST-II is an essential part of the screening necessary to ensure child safety and wellness.