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Failure to diagnose conduct disorder has long-term effects

Not all illnesses are visually apparent to the average person in Houston or elsewhere. "Invisible" impairments, such as mental health disorders, can be just as damaging as physical illnesses. A failure to diagnose a mental illness can have long-lasting effects that affect not only a person's health, but also their relationship with others, ability to work and sometimes, even their ability to care for themselves or function in society.

Conduct disorder is an example of a mental illness that, gone undiagnosed, can lead to physical and social problems. Conduct disorder often manifests itself when a person is a child or adolescent. Symptoms include extreme antisocial and aggressive behavior. It could also lead to depression, anxiety and substance abuse. It is a common psychiatric disorder, but often goes undiagnosed.

This is problematic because a failure to diagnose conduct disorder when a person is young could lead to further psychiatric disorders as an adult. One study reports 50 percent of those with conduct disorder will develop antisocial or borderline personality disorder as an adult. They are also more likely become suicidal. The social ramifications include having to rely on government benefits or even becoming homeless.

The failure to diagnose a mental illness as a child can lead to a worsened condition as an adult, with consequences that affect not only the individual but also their families and society. On a personal level, if a mental health disorder goes undiagnosed, a person could end up with a worsened condition that will eventually need to be diagnosed correctly. A person whose mental illness is going untreated could be unable to work, unable to function in society and could even lead to suicide.

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