New Psychiatric Treatment Guidelines for Preschoolers

New guidelines for the mental health care of preschoolers will aid clinicians and families in treatment and assessment.

Tuesday December 4th - 8:37am

The Preschool Psychopharmacology Working Group has attempted to create guidelines for the mental health treatment of preschoolers. Because medication has been increasingly used with these young children in recent years, the Group, a team of clinicians and researchers in various child mental health fields, felt standardized practices were needed.

"These guidelines...are not intended to promote the use of medications; rather, we anticipate that application of these guidelines may actually reduce the number of preschoolers who are taking psychiatric drugs," stated Mary Margaret Gleason, M.D., of the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center. Gleason was the lead author of the recommendations, which all emphasize the importance of psychotherapy and expert consultation as well as continual reassessment of diagnosis and symptoms.

The team established guidelines for:

  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • disruptive behavior disorders
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • anxiety disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • pervasive developmental disorders
  • primary sleep disorders

The project will be published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry this month.

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