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Susan J. Watson, MD


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Attention Deficit Disorder

Is a neurobehavioral condition characterized by excessive restlessness, inattention, distraction, and impulsivity. Some children with ADHD only have problems with attention; other children only have issues with hyperactivity and impulsivity; some children have problems with both. ADHD can interfere with a child’s ability to perform in school and capacity to develop and maintain social relations.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Is one of a group of behavioral disorders called Disruptive Behavior Disorders (DBD). ODD is a pattern of disobedient, hostile, and defiant behavior directed toward authority figures. Children with ODD often rebel, are stubborn, argue with adults, and refuse to obey. They have angry outbursts and have a hard time controlling their temper. Even the best-behaved children can be uncooperative and hostile at times, particularly adolescents, but those with ODD show a constant pattern of angry and verbally aggressive behaviors, usually aimed at parents and other authority figures.

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)

Is a rare but serious condition in which infants and young children don't establish healthy bonds with parents or caregivers. A child with reactive attachment disorder is typically neglected, abused, or moved multiple times from one caregiver to another. Because the child's basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren't met, he or she never establishes loving and caring attachments with others. This may permanently alter the child's growing brain and hurt their ability to establish future relationships.

Anxiety Disorder

Is one of the most common mental health conditions in children and adolescents. While everyone may have occasional moments of feeling anxious or worried, an anxiety disorder is a medical condition that causes people to feel persistently, uncontrollably worried over an extended period of time. The disorder may result in significant distress in a number of settings, such as school, peer relationships, and home life, and it may dramatically affect people’s lives by limiting their ability to engage in a variety of activity.

            Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

            Excessive apprehension about a number of situations on most days

            Social anxiety (social phobia)

Fear of being watched by other, fear of meeting new people or of embarrassing oneself in social situations

            Specific Phobia

            Fear of a particular object (i.e. Spiders) or situations (i.e. Airplane travel)

            Separation Anxiety Disorder

            Fear of separating from home or primary caregiver

            Panic Disorder

            Unpredictable and repeated panic attacks unrelated to surrounding circumstances

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Is a type of anxiety disorder. It can occur after you've seen or experienced a traumatic event that involved the threat of injury or death. PTSD can occur at any age and can follow a natural disaster such as a flood or fire, or events such as war, a prison stay, assault, domestic abuse, or rape. These kinds of events can produce stress in anyone, but not everyone develops PTSD. The cause of PTSD is unknown, but psychological, genetic, physical, and social factors are involved. PTSD changes the body’s response to stress. It affects the stress hormones and chemicals that carry information between the nerves (neurotransmitters). Having been exposed to trauma in the past may increase the risk of PTSD.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Is a type of anxiety disorder. It causes repetitive unpleasant thought (obsessions) or behaviors (compulsions) that are difficult to control. Unlike ordinary worries or habits, these obsessions and compulsions may consume significant amounts of time (more than an hour per day), may interfere with a person’s daily schedule, and may cause significant distress. Examples of obsessions include recurrent concern about germ contaminations, persistent worry that a family member may become sick, or excessive preoccupation with perfection or tidiness. Compulsions, also known rituals, include repetitive behaviors (such as washing hands, checking clocks) and repetitive thoughts (such as silently counting, praying, or repeating words) that the person feels must be completed.


Is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for a long period of time.

            Major Depressive Disorder

Multiple, significant symptoms of depression persist nearly every day for at least two weeks.

            Dysthymic Disorder

This form has milder symptoms of depression that last for at least one year and impair their functioning at home and at school.

Seasonal Depression

Depression is triggered each year by the change of seasons (most often, during fall or winter). Seasonal Depression can sometimes progress to Major Depressive Disorder.

Bipolar Disorder (BPD)

Is characterized by recurrent episodes of depression (lows), mania (highs), and/or mixed symptom states. These episodes cause unusual and extreme shifts energy, and behavior that interfere significantly with normal, healthy functioning. A manic phase is characterized by being hyperactive, overly talkative (rapid speech), decreased appetite, sleeping less, being irritated or angry. A depressive cycle is characterized by low mood with difficulty concentrating, lack of energy with slowed thinking and movements, changes in eating and sleeping patters, hopelessness, helplessness, sadness, guilt, or thoughts of suicide. Existing evidence indicates that BPD beginning in childhood or early adolescence may be a different, possibly more severe form of the illness than older adolescent-and adult-onset BPD.

Tourette’s Disorder

Is a neurological disorder which becomes evident in early childhood or adolescence before the age of 18 years.  Tourette syndrome is defined by multiple motor and vocal tics lasting for more than one year.  The first symptoms usually are involuntary movements (tics) of the face, arms, limbs or trunk.  These tics are frequent, repetitive and rapid.  The most common first symptom is a facial tic (eye blink, nose twitch, grimace), and is replaced or added to by other tics of the neck, trunk, and limbs.  These involuntary (outside the patient's control) tics may also be complicated, involving the entire body, such as kicking and stamping. Many persons report what are described as premonitory urges -- the urge to perform a motor activity. Other symptoms such as touching, repetitive thoughts and movements and compulsions can occur. There are also verbal tics. These verbal tics (vocalizations) usually occur with the movements. These vocalizations include grunting, throat clearing, shouting and barking. Although the symptoms of Tourette syndrome vary from person to person and range from very mild to severe, the majority of cases fall into the mild category. Associated conditions can include attention problems (ADD, impulsiveness (and oppositional defiant disorder), obsessive compulsive behavior, and learning disabilities. 

Autism Disorder

Is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). The other pervasive developmental disorders are PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified), Asperger Syndrome, Rett Syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. Many parents and professionals refer to this group as Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Asperger’s Syndrome

Is a developmental disorder that is characterized by repetitive routines or rituals, peculiarities in speech and language, such as speaking in an overly formal manner or in a monotone, or taking figures of speech literally, socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior and the inability to interact successfully with peers, problems with non-verbal communication, including the restricted use of gestures, limited or inappropriate facial expressions or a peculiar, stiff gaze, clumsiness and uncoordinated motor movements.

Pervasive Development Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)

Is one of the autism spectrum disorders and is used to describe individuals who do not fully meet the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome. PDD-NOS may be thought of as “subthreshold autism," or a diagnosis one can give a person who has “atypical symptomatology.” In other words, when someone has autistic characteristics but some of their symptoms are mild, or they have symptoms in one area (like social deficits), but none in another key area (like restricted, repetitive behaviors), they may be given the PDD-NOS diagnosis.




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