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By Kristin Stanberry
A child who has Conduct Disorder may consistently:
A child who has this condition may:
Tics may be a chronic problem or occur only occasionally. They vary in how severe they are.
While many pediatricians and family physicians can diagnose and prescribe medication for AD/HD, a psychiatrist is usually required when a secondary condition exists. To make a proper diagnosis, the doctor will gather information from you and your child. Here are some questions you can expect:
The doctor will also determine if your child's problems are unusual for his age. The guide most physicians refer to when making a diagnosis is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV). Diagnosing such problems can be tricky, because:
It can take a period of time for the doctor to make the diagnosis, so be prepared to be patient and cooperative during the process. You may be asked to bring additional reports from your child's school or pediatrician.
The diagnosis of bipolar disorder (also called manic-depressive illness) in children and adolescents remains controversial. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), this is because "bipolar disorder is difficult to recognize and diagnose in youth…because it does not fit precisely the symptom criteria established for adults, and because its symptoms can resemble or co-occur with those of other common childhood-onset mental disorders. Better understanding of the diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder in youth is urgently needed." The National Institute of Mental Health and other institutions are conducting research on child and adolescent bipolar disorder. Meanwhile, the NIMH goes on to say, "A child or adolescent who appears to be depressed and exhibits AD/HD-like symptoms that are very severe, with excessive temper outbursts and mood changes, should be evaluated by a psychiatrist or psychologist with experience in bipolar disorder, particularly if there is a family history of the disorder."
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