Pervasive developmental disorders

What are pervasive developmental disorders?

Pervasive developmental disorders are a group of conditions that are characterised by abnormal development in social interactions, communication, behavioural flexibility and repetitive patterns of behaviour and activities. These are core features of autism and are usually apparent by the age of 2 to 4 years. Autism involves impaired socialisation, poor communication and behavioural inflexibility, whereas Asperger’s syndrome involves an absence of an intellectual disability. Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified shares the socialisation symptoms of autism but allows for atypical presentations.

Pervasive developmental disorders affect up to 0.5% of individuals and may co-occur in people with bipolar disorder. Such comorbid conditions may influence treatment and so it is important to have an accurate diagnosis and understanding of the prevalence and outcomes of having both disorders.

What is the evidence for comorbid pervasive developmental disorders?

Moderate to low quality evidence suggests that the co-occurrence of autism spectrum and bipolar disorders is between 7% and 19%.

April 2020

Last updated at: 4:55 am, 27th April 2020
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