Neurobehavioral disorders in children, adolescents, and young adults with Down syndrome

Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet. 2006 Aug 15;142C(3):158-72. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.c.30097.


The term dual-diagnosis refers to a person with mental retardation and a psychiatric disorder. Most children with Down syndrome (DS) do not have a psychiatric or neurobehavioral disorder. Current prevalence estimates of neurobehavioral and psychiatric co-morbidity in children with DS range from 18% to 38%. We have found it useful to distinguish conditions with a pre-pubertal onset from those presenting in the post-pubertal period, as these are biologically distinct periods each with a unique vulnerability to specific psychiatric disorders. Due to the increased recognition that psychiatric symptoms may co-occur with mental retardation, and are not inextricably linked to cognitive impairment, these conditions are considered treatable, in part, under a medical model. Improvement in physiologic regulation, emotional stability, and neurocognitive processing is one of the most elusive but fundamental goals of pharmacologic intervention in these disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / etiology
  • Autistic Disorder / etiology
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis
  • Child Behavior Disorders / drug therapy
  • Child Behavior Disorders / etiology*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Down Syndrome / complications*
  • Down Syndrome / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / etiology
  • Mood Disorders / etiology
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / etiology
  • Psychotic Disorders / etiology
  • Stereotypic Movement Disorder / etiology