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(p. 275) Pharmacological Treatment of Pediatric Irritability 

(p. 275) Pharmacological Treatment of Pediatric Irritability
(p. 275) Pharmacological Treatment of Pediatric Irritability

Daniel P. Dickstein

, and Rachel E. Christensen

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date: 27 November 2020

Irritability is among the most common and impairing mental health issues affecting children today, with research showing that the consequences of irritability last into adulthood. Advancing how we treat irritability, including with medications, thus should be a top public health priority, germane to all those working with children and adults, and not just restricted to mental health settings. In this chapter, the authors review general principles of using medication to treat irritability in children. Then, they provide the latest information about the pharmacological treatment of irritability. In doing so, they draw on published studies of disorders involving irritability, including bipolar disorder (BD), unipolar major depressive disorder (MDD), attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), intermittent explosive disorder (IED), and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While there is ample room for innovative ways to assess and treat irritability in children, at present, clinicians should carefully assess the child, develop a working hypothesis for what disorder(s) involving irritability are present, use evidence-based treatments to address those problems, and then reassess for improvement, worsening, side effects, or how these longitudinal data shapes working diagnoses.

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