Bulgarian Journal of Psychiatry, 2023; 8(1):41-49

Early childhood – diagnostic and classification challenges

Desislava Maslinkova

Department of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology, Medical University – Sofia

Abstract: The topic of infant mental health has sparked increasing scientific interest, especially over the last twenty years. In this review, a brief historical overview of classifications of child psychiatric disorders is presented. Literature sources on the topic, as well as empirical experience, provide a reason to summarize that the characteristics of infancy and early childhood are very specific and have their psychopathological look, which cannot be sufficiently categorized using existing medical classifications. These findings naturally led to the creation of a separate classification (beginning in 1994 and subsequently revised and updated) designed to recognize and assess psychiatric disorders in infancy and early childhood (between 0 and 5 years of age): the Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Develop- mental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood  (DC:0-5). This diagnostic classification is little known to specialists in Bulgaria and the presentation of its basic principles and content is relevant for all those interested in early childhood.

Key words: early childhood, classification, DC:0-5

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