Treatment Strategies in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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It is clear that child and adolescent psychiatric disorders impose a heavy burden of suffering. Recent large-scale community epidemiological studies suggest that as many as 20% of children and adolescents in the general population may have clinically important mental disorders. These disorders are accompanied by associated impairments in various domains of the child's life, resulting in lowered life quality for the child and his or her family. In addition, for some conditions, the onset of the disorder in childhood heralds a lifetime of serious psychosocial disturbance for a significant subgroup of affected children. For instance, about 40% of children seen in clinic settings with conduct disorder in late childhood and early adolescence will have serious psychiatric disorders in adult life. Finally, the heavy burden of suffering of these conditions is indicated by the large amounts of both human and financial resources devoted to their assessment and treatment. There is a pressing need in the field for effective treatments (that is, those that have been shown to do more good than harm) that will result in a significant reduction in the burden of suffering resulting from these disorders. Further, these effective interventions must be readily available and acceptable to clini- cians in the settings in which children with mental disorders (and their families) seek care. This book addresses an important need in the treatment field.