Age of onset

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The age of onset is a medical term referring to the age at which an individual acquires, develops, or first experiences a condition or symptoms of a disease or disorder. For instance, the general age of onset for the spinal disease scoliosis is "10-15 years old,"[1] meaning that most people develop scoliosis when they are of an age between ten and fifteen years.

The age of onset of mental health disorders have been found to be harder to define than physical illnesses. The symptoms of standard mental disorders often start off non-specific. Pathological changes pertaining to disorders often become more detailed and less fickle before they can be defined in the American Psychiatric Association's DSM. The brain is a dynamic and complex system, it is constantly re-wiring itself and a major concern is what happens to the brain in earlier life that mirrors what occurs later in its psycho-pathological state.[2]

Diseases are often categorized by their ages of onset as congenital, infantile, juvenile, or adult.


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  2. ^ Jones, P. B. (2013-01-01). "Adult mental health disorders and their age at onset". The British Journal of Psychiatry. 202 (s54): s5–s10. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.112.119164. ISSN 0007-1250. PMID 23288502.