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Salud mental

versión impresa ISSN 0185-3325


VARGAS ALVAREZ, Luis Alberto; PALACIOS CRUZ, Lino; GONZALEZ THOMPSON, Guillermo  y  DE LA PENA OLVERA, Francisco. Obsessive-compulsive disorder in children and adolescents: An update. Part one. Salud Ment [online]. 2008, vol.31, n.3, pp.173-179. ISSN 0185-3325.

The obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is being reported now with increased prevalence in pediatric population than in the past, associated with the development of more specific assessment methods. This evolution has opened the possibility to characterize OCD presentation in children and adolescents. OCD in childhood is a chronic and distressing disorder that can lead to severe impairments in social, academic and family functioning. Currently, pediatric OCD criteria are the same than in adults. The presence of obsessive and compulsive symptoms are needed to establish the diagnosis but, because of the lower levels of cognitive awareness in children, they are less likely to consider their OCD symptoms as excessive or unreasonable. The DSM-IV does not require that symptoms be recognized as senseless or unrealistic for the diagnosis to be made in children. Overall, there are several clinical differences in the younger age groups that make this disorder a diagnostic and treatment challenge for clinicians. Epidemiologic studies have been conducted in adolescent population. These studies report a prevalence in the range of 2% to 4% with a slight predominance in males than females. In Mexico, there are no studies in this population to confirm these rates. Frequently children, more than adolescents and adults, may present compulsive behavior without obsessions, which are related to immature cognitive development. The obsessive-compulsive symptoms have differences between age groups (children, adolescents and adults). Children may be somewhat more likely to engage in compulsive reassurance- seeking and involve their parents in their rituals. The most common obsessions in childhood are related to contamination and germs, followed by fears to harm others. The most common compulsions are washing, repeating and checking. Adolescents present more frequently religious and sexual contents in their obsessions, and similar about aggression as children. Related to compulsions, children and adolescents develop hoarding more frequent than adults. Several studies suggest a mean age of childhood OCD from 6 to 11 years of age, but there are two peaks of more frequent cases presentation: in early childhood and early adolescence. Regarding the OCD early-onset, course studies have reported chronicity in most subjects, 50% of them meeting full OCD criteria seven years later. Meta-analytic studies about predictors and persistence of pediatric OCD diagnoses show persistence in 41% of the sample with full OCD and 60% full or sub-threshold OCD. Early beginning of OCD increase duration of illness and is a predicted of major persistence. Comorbid psychiatric illnesses and poor initial treatment response were poor prognostic factors. Regarding symptoms during illness course, the pattern and type frequently shift over time, although the number of symptoms typically remains constant. Pediatric OCD has evoked distinct classifications related to the familiar presentation form and comorbidity, especially with tics disorders. Studies have reported that children with tics disorders show several differences in their reported symptom types when compared with the group with no history of tics, for example, they are more likely to endorse repetition of routine behaviors unrelated to harm avoidance. Contamination and washing rituals are more common in the OCD child without tics. Findings are consistent with several studies in clinical assessed adult samples which have shown that the tic-related OCD can be distinguished as a subtype of OCD. These adults are more likely to report obsessions involving a need of symmetry and compulsions involving touching, starting and counting. There are also evidence that the tic-related OCD may be lees likely to monotherapy with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Another way to understand this disorder is subtyping symptoms using factorial analysis. Several authors have proposed at least four subtypes or factors (washers, hoarders, checkers and sexual/religions symptoms). Some studies with children and adolescents have shown limitations to conduct a factorial analysis, although some others with better methods have showed similarity between OCD symptoms dimensions structure in children and adults. The etiology of OCD is not clear, but the evidence in familiarity, segregation analysis and twins studies have established the role of genetics in the cause factors and is considered as a complex genetic disorder. Twin studies find a high concordance rate for monozygotic twins (53-87%) and dizygotic twins (22-47%). The prevalence of OCD is higher among first degree relatives of affected subjects, early-onset OCD has a higher rate of first degree relatives with TOC. Association studies with candidate genes have been done in early-onset OCD but significant results have not been replicated.

Palabras llave : Obsessive-compulsive disorder; children and adolescents; diagnoses; etiology.

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