Childhood Enuresis: Current Diagnostic Formulations, Salient Findings, and Effective Treatment Modalities

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Enuresis constitutes a frequently encountered problem area for children that may adversely affect social and emotional adjustment. This type of incontinence has been of concern to the human family for centuries. A brief history of enuresis is presented followed by current conceptualizations, diagnostic criteria, prevalence rates and psychiatric comorbidities. Historic notions of causation together with ineffective, sometimes barbaric treatments are then discussed, ending with a presentation of evidence-based treatment modalities, with the urine alarm being an essential element of effective treatment. An intervention termed dry bed training combines the urine alarm with a series of procedures designed in part to reduce relapse potential and should be a primary consideration for implementation by treatment professionals. Finally, a brief case study is presented illustrating special etiological and treatment considerations with juvenile psychiatric patients.

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