V Zakopoulou, V Mavreas, P Christodoulides, A Lavidas, E Fili, G Georgiou, G Dimakopoulos and M Vergou,
Research in developmental disabilities, Dec 2014
Specific Learning difficulties constitute a continuity of complex disorders, which unfold across the lifespan and are associated with a wide range of mental disorders. In order to determine the importance of specific learning difficulties as an underlying factor in various mental disorders, we investigated associations between mental disorders and factors related to learning difficulties, poor family and school environment, and social and psycho-emotional disorders.This retrospective study is based on data from 835 case histories of adults who were treated at the Psychiatric Clinic of the University Hospital in Ioannina, Greece, between 1992 and 2008. The examination of the early (co-)occurrence of specific disorders was based on the ICD-10 classification of mental disorders. LogLinear analysis showed that all models retained 2nd or 3rd order effects with p-values >0.8 for all estimated likelihood ratios.Patients with specific learning difficulties, who grew up in a socially disturbed environment, and manifested behavioral problems (aggression, alcoholism, and isolation or running away from home) were found to be more frequently diagnosed with schizophrenia than with any other mental disorder. In some cases, the profiles of these patients also included family problems such as parental loss or alcoholism.Significant association between learning and other disorders in adult psychiatric patients' developmental profile has been indicated. Furthermore, a specific association between specific learning difficulties, environmental problems, and schizophrenia corroborates the continuity and complexity of these disorders at higher developmental stages. The results from this study can be utilized in the study of mental disorder etiology, raising the possibility that the early treatment of the learning or other disorders could reduce children's likelihood of developing mental disorders in adulthood.