What are the possible behavioral and psychiatric complications of Down syndrome?

Updated: May 18, 2020
  • Author: Gratias Tom Mundakel, MBBS, DCH; Chief Editor: Maria Descartes, MD  more...
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Psychiatric disorders are reported in 13-17.6% of children with Down syndrome [71] ; these conditions include common psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, and anorexia nervosa.

Other disruptive behavior disorders, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and conduct disorder, can also be present. Children with Down syndrome have autism more often than expected. [72] In one Down syndrome study, the incidence of autism was 7%. [73] Current evidence indicates that autism affects 1 of every 150 children. [74]

A study by Foley et al indicated that while behavioral and psychiatric difficulties in persons with Down syndrome tend to improve with age, depressive symptoms, as well as problems in social relating behavior, can persist into adulthood. The investigators, who conducted the questionnaire study over 8 years, suggested that persistence of depressive symptoms in persons with Down syndrome may increase their chances of developing depressive illness in adulthood. [75]

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