Psychiatric diagnosis of children presenting with medically unexplained symptoms
Child mental health care has received scant attention in service, research, and training than adults in developing countries. Information regarding the morbidity profiles of children would help increase awareness and to define needs and priorities for service planning, evaluation of time trends and demography changes in disease patterns, and prevalence rates in the population.
To study the psychiatric diagnosis of children presenting with medically unexplained symptoms to a child guidance clinic of a tertiary care hospital over two years.
A retrospective analysis of 318 children who have presented to the child guidance clinic was carried out.
Among the 318 children and adolescents included in the study, 144 (45.28%) presented with medically unexplained symptoms and were referred to the child guidance clinic by other departments of the institute. The most frequent diagnosis in those presented with medically unexplained symptoms was dissociative [conversion] disorders (54.17%), followed by depressive episode (15.27%), phobic anxiety disorders (10.42%), and mental retardation (5.55%).
We found that psychiatric assessment of children referred for medically unexplained symptoms often revealed treatable psychiatric disorders.