Psychopharmacology of nonepisodic irritability, aggression, and mood swings in children and adolescents part I: Stimulants and antidepressants

Leslie A. Hulvershorn, David D. Fosselman, Daniel P. Dickstein

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

2 Scopus citations


Non-autistic children and adolescents with chronic irritability have presented a diagnostic challenge, dating from the onset of the field of child mental health. Researchers present theories about how to best categorize these children that include existing psychiatric disorders (eg, BD, ADHD, ODD) and novel conceptualizations (eg, SMD). Because diagnostic consensus is difficult to reach, treatment studies specifically targeting irritability and related symptoms are rarely conducted. Thus, information about appropriate pharmacology for these symptoms is derived largely from secondary outcomes of studies conducted on children and adolescents with aggression and disruptive behavior disorders. In this article, we address treatment with stimulants and SSRIs and conclude as follows: Chronic irritability and related symptoms may be successfully treated with stimulants, but only in children and adolescents with ADHD. SSRIs may represent an underutilized option for chronic irritability in nondepressed/subthreshold depressed pediatric patients, but further study is warranted before a clear recommendation can be issued.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages6
Specialist publicationPsychopharm Review
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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