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Learn More About Elimination Disorders In Children and Adolescents

Elimination Disorders In Children and Adolescents

Elimination disorders are conditions that address improper excretory behaviors that do not align with an individual’s age or training. They are characterized by relieving in the form of urination or defecation in inappropriate settings and are not related to a lack of understanding or age.

The fifth volume of the diagnostic statistic manual, which is currently the standard handbook used by all mental health professionals for the diagnosis and treatment consultation of mental ailments, categorizes elimination disorders into the following types:

  • Enuresis: 

Enuresis is a condition  characterized by a repetitive pattern of intentional or unintentional urination in inappropriate contexts such as one's bed or within one's clothes. It is further distributed into subtypes that take into consideration the time when urine is passed, whether during the day, the night, or in both time frames

  • Encopresis: 

Encopresis is a condition is marked by the involuntary or voluntary passage of feces in unfitting places such as within one’s bed or clothing. This illness is diagnosed when the child is at least four years of age and varies with the evidence of other defecatory ailments such as constipation.

Just how common are elimination disorders?

The prevalence of elimination disorders varies vastly with age. Enuresis is present in 5 to 10 percent of five-year-old children and 3 to 5 percent of children up to ten years of age. For pubescent children up to fifteen years old, the disorder is rarer and is only present in one percent of the age group. Encopresis is even more uncommon and is present in just one percent of five-year-old children. This disorder is found in males more so than females.

What are the causes of elimination disorders?

Many different factors are associated with the onset of elimination disorder, such as sexual abuse, family friction, and other psychological stressors such as a change of setting or move. A positive family history of elimination disorders can also contribute immensely to the development of enuresis and encopresis. Improper or delayed toilet training is also a very common cause of these conditions.

What are the signs of elimination disorders?

Elimination disorders can be identified if the following signs are observed:

  • A decrease in usual appetite and eating patterns.
  • Pain that centers around the abdominal region.
  • Withdrawal from usual interactions.
  • Secretive or embarrassed behavior pertaining to relieving oneself.
  • Irritation in anal or genital areas is associated with abnormal excretion.

What mental illnesses can accompany elimination disorders?

Disorders associated with inconsistent resting, such as sleepwalking and night terror, are common with enuresis. Anxiety, ADHD, and depressive symptoms are also common mental illnesses that afflict patients suffering from elimination disorders.

Who is qualified to assess and treat these conditions?

The diagnosis of elimination disorders firstly requires a doctor or pediatrician to take a detailed medical history of the child, which may include lab tests. The purpose is to rule out any biological, hormonal causes or any medication that may be at the root of the problem and would take away from the psychological causes of the condition.

In the prospect that the illness is anchored to psychological causes, a mental health professional can correctly assess and treat elimination disorders through behavioral treatment approaches. The most effective and frequently employed of these are:

Full-Spectrum Home Therapy: This form of therapy utilizes a number of techniques at once to reduce the occurrence of improper excretion. Behavioral strategies, coupled with urine alarms and increased water consumption patterns before bedtime, make up this multi-component treatment method. This therapy has a success rate of 33% within just the first month.

Enhanced Toilet Training: This behavioral modification strategy pairs education and training in one approach. The child is also taught certain breathing, relaxation, and contraction techniques that can help control instances where the urge for improper relieving is present. This treatment has a success rate that varies from 5 to 33 percent based on the use of reinforcing techniques.

Ways in which parents can lend their support.

Parents can facilitate the treatment process for the child by being involved in the therapeutic approaches that rely on their cooperation. It is also important that patience is practiced during treatment with the understanding of how the illness is affecting the child’s emotional and behavioral health.