Encopresis

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Children with ADHD and anxiety appear to experience more emotional dysregulation than their peers. While they experience the same emotions as individuals their age, they experience them much more frequently and intensely. They may be more likely to get stuck and caught up in their emotion due to difficulties with executive functioning skills and seeing the bigger picture.

Source: Understood.org

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Encopresis

Encopresis is the soiling of underpants by individuals who are past the age of toilet training. The DSM-5 defines encopresis as the “repeated passage of feces into inappropriate places (e.g. clothing, floor), whether involuntary or intentional (APA, 2013, p. 357).”

    • To be diagnosed with encopresis an individual must experience the event at least one time a month for a minimum of three months.
    • The individual must be at least four years old or the developmental equivalent
    • No other physiological effects may be contributing to the medical condition (i.e. medications, medical conditions)

Other symptoms of encopresis may include abdominal pain, lack of appetite, avoidance of bowel movements, emotional turmoil, social withdrawal, or bladder infections

The individual may or may not also experience constipation. Children with encopresis may feel shame or guilt and may avoid social situations. For some, encopresis is a result of trauma or emotional dysregulation. Encopresis is seen in boys more than girls. Children with ADHD, Autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, or depression are at increased risks of experiencing encopresis. Encopresis can be treated with EMDR therapy, neurofeedback therapy, and/or positive reinforcement and patience.

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American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). doi:10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596

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