Psychotic and borderline psychotic adolescents: frequency of psychiatric illness and treatment in childhood in 100 consecutive cases

ArticleinActa Psychiatrica Scandinavica 52(1):58-68 · August 1975with3 Reads
Impact Factor: 5.61 · DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.1975.tb00023.x · Source: PubMed


    The first results covering the assessment period phase of a systematic study of 50 borderline psychotic and 50 psychotic adolescents are described. These 100 adolescents comprised one-third of the total number of admissions to an adolescent department during the years from 1968 to 1975.
    There were 58 boys and 42 girls; 53 of the 100 cases had been psychiatrically ill in childhood with evident symptoms. In 22 cases, there was positive information supporting the fact that the patients had been healthy in childhood. The rest (25 cases) were classified under “unclarified picture”, showing non specific symptoms. It is concluded that in this material more than half of the adolescents had shown some instability before puberty.
    The illnessas described in childhood are categorised as infantile borderline psychosis, borderline psychosis probable, and other psychiatric illnesses. A shift in diagnosis is often seen in the individual case, but the symptoms in childhood and in adolescence have many similarities.
    The necessary treatment in childhood has not been given in one-third of the cases. The possible reasons for this are discussed. In spite of much effort in some cases and because of resistance to therapy or the proposal of inadequate therapy in others, the therapeutic possibilities in childhood have not been fully realised. It is recommended that more emphasis be placed on the emotional development in the evaluation of the children. In the treatment, development of interpersonal relationships through individual, family and/or milieu therapy should be stressed.
    A follow-up of children with symptoms in childhood left untreated and a teamwork between child psychiatrist and adult psychiatrist with longitudinal studies is suggested.