Editorial: Early detection of mental health and neurodevelopmental disorders: the ethical challenges of a field in its infancy
The signs of many mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions first appear in childhood and diagnosis can reliably be made by school age for most. Such conditions can be chronically disabling and confer significant long-term impairment. Determining early risk signs and first emerging symptoms of disorder is imperative to enhance early detection and to identify targets and ideal time points for prevention and intervention efforts. This Special Issue of JCPP focuses on the prospect of earlier identification of conditions that are traditionally diagnosed later in childhood. Ten invited empirical articles cover topics related to the science of early detection. Several are focused on prediction of later diagnosis, of functional impairment, and of future service utilization, while others cover instrument development and topics related to screening. The papers span the conditions of ADHD, ASD, dyslexia, mood dysregulation, disruptive behavior disorders, and anxiety disorders. This Editorial provides an overview of the invited contributions and the perspectives they provide on the ethical challenges and choices of a field still in its infancy.
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