Mental disorders diagnosed in childhood

Mental disorders diagnosed in childhood
Mental disorders diagnosed in childhood
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 F70-F98
ICD-9 312-319
MeSH D019952

Mental disorders diagnosed in childhood are divided into two categories: childhood disorders and learning disorders. These disorders are usually first diagnosed in infancy, childhood, or adolescence, as laid out in the DSM IV TR.[1]


Childhood Disorders

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

ADHD,[1] as it is more commonly known, will normally be present in a child by the age of seven, and behavior issues must be seen in two or more setting, (i.e. school, church, home, etc.) but the behavioral issues need to be more than what would be expect for a child’s age. There need to be at least six instances over a six month period for a child to be considered for diagnoses. This disorder is diagnosed in about 3-7% of school are children, but 65-80% of the cases will grow out of it as adolescence ends. Some characteristics of those who have ADHD include: erratic behavior, being disorganized, worn out clothes, intrusive or aggressive behaviors, and the ability to not be able to tell right from wrong.

  • There are two different ways for ADHD to be typed as:
    • Inattentive type: the ability to not pay attention or focus in their daily actives.
    • Hyperactive/Impulsive type: Being extremely active and having impulsive movements, being fidgety and having outbursts in inappropriate places.

Oppositional defiant disorder

Oppositional defiant disorder or ODD[1] is related to both attention deficit and conduct disorder, but the behavior that is exhibited is not destructive or aggressive. This disorder is psychological; those who have it may be annoying or annoyed easily, may argue with adults, blame others for their mistakes, and may be defiant.

Tic disorder

Primary tic disorders, including Tourette syndrome, are usually diagnosed in childhood and have childhood onset as part of their definition. Chronic tic disorders are often comorbid with other mental disorders diagnosed in childhood, including ADHD and learning disabilities, as well as anxiety and mood disorders, most prominently obsessive-compulsive disorder.[1]

Conduct disorder

Conduct disorder[1] is defined by the DSM-IV-TR as any behavior that violates the rights of others or societal norms. There are four categories that are used to determine if a child’s behavior violates these rights:

  • aggression towards people or animals
  • destruction of property
  • deceitful nature or theft
  • serious violations of laws

There needs to be at least three instances of behavior that fit into these categories within a year period and at least one within the last six months for a diagnosis. This disorder is normally diagnosed in 4-16% of boys and 1-9% of girls, who come in for help. Boys normally fight, steal, and vandalize, while girls have issues with lying, truancy, and running away from home.

Learning disabilities

Learning disabilities are the types of disorders that occur when a child does not advance to the expected level for their age group, even though their intelligence level is that of average or above average. These disabilities interfere with the child’s academic or daily functioning, and about 5% of children in public school systems have at least one of these.

Reading disorder

A reading disorder, or dyslexia,[1] occurs when a child has a problem with reading comprehension and word recognition. Dyslexia is found in about 4% of children, with a 3 to 1 ratio of prevalence in girls to boys.

Mathematic disorder

A mathematic disorder,[1] or dyscalculia, occurs when a child can not recognize or name numbers, be able to count numbers in correct order, or can not understand how the operations between numbers work. This disorder can normally not be found until a child reaches middle school and the use of higher math abilities are necessary. About 1% of all students suffers from dyscalculia.

Written expression error

A written expression error[1] occurs when a child has problems with spelling, grammar, the correct use of punctuation marks, and/or cannot control their hand writing.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC.

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