Priority mental health disorders of children and adolescents in primary-care pediatric settings in India 2: diagnosis, pharmacological treatment and referral

Indian J Pediatr. 2012 Jan:79 Suppl 1:S27-32. doi: 10.1007/s12098-011-0427-8. Epub 2011 May 27.


The advent of pediatric psychopharmacology has enormously improved psychiatric care of children and adolescents. Nonetheless, our practice of diagnosis, treatment and referral in primary-care pediatric settings is not optimum as current evidence based knowledge is not regularly applied in the actual clinical circumstances. To help primary-care pediatricians minimise this in research-clinical practice, pharmacological treatment and referral in their clinical practice, they need to follow a two-tier diagnostic and multi axial treatment approach. The two-tier diagnostic approach of using a screening measure followed by confirmation of the screen positive cases with reference standard clinical criterion, improves the sensitivity and specificity. The multiaxial treatment has the advantage of offering a holistic approach to the intervention and improve prognosis from the interacting axes. The primary-care physician should be aware of the medications of choice for the Priority Mental Health Disorders and their drug interactions. Finally, referral of cases with atypical presentations, multiple comorbidities and poor response to the first-line of treatment needs referral to the next tier in the system.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services
  • Child
  • Child Health Services
  • Humans
  • India
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy
  • Mental Health Services*
  • Mental Health*
  • Pediatrics / methods*
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Psychopharmacology / methods*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Sensitivity and Specificity