Mental Illness In Children – Know The Signs

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Are you worried to note drastic behavioral changes in your child of late? Do you think it may be the warning signs of a mental condition and that it is important to get a medical assessment? If you can relate your child to the above situations reading this article is a must!

Children are sensitive beings and sometimes stress can take a toll on their mental health. To know more about the various mental illnesses that plague children go ahead and give this article a read!

What Are The Various Mental Illnesses In Children?

Most parents find it difficult to accept the fact that their child is suffering from a mental condition that demands proper medical care and treatment. There are various mental illnesses that can affect children, but as most conditions remain undiagnosed children may be left untreated. In fact, children are prone to similar mental illnesses that affect adults, but may display different symptoms altogether.

Here are some common mental conditions that affect children:

1. Anxiety Disorder:

It is natural for your child to be a little more sensitive than others and worry more. However, if you notice that your child gets visibly worried or concerned about daily events or routine issues, maybe you should make him undergo a test for anxiety disorder. Here is a list of other acute anxiety-related conditions that may adversely affect your child’s mental health:

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): In this condition, your child may become obsessive about performing a particular task repeatedly. For example, your child may want to wash his hands after short intervals due to his fear of contracting infections.
  • Social Phobia: In this condition, your child may find it very difficult to interact with anyone, so much so that he may complain of physical pain when he meets strangers. Your child may not want to leave home at all, and sometimes may not even want to come out of his room.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): In this condition, your child may be suffering from anxiety due to a traumatic experience. It could be a death in the family, or an accident that your child witnessed. In some cases, it can also be something that your child saw on the television or heard from another friend.

If your child is suffering from an anxiety disorder in any of the above forms, it will be difficult for him to go through the various routines of his day-to-day life.

[ read: Natural Remedies For Anxiety In Children ]

2. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD):

Your child may display the following behavioral traits if he is suffering from ADHD:

  • Face difficulty in concentrating or paying attention.
  • He may be hyperactive and over-excited in day-to-day activities.
  • He may show impulsive behavior that can also turn aggressive.

Some children may display any one of the above symptoms while others may show all the above signs of ADHD.

[ Read: Parenting Tips For Raising Kids With ADHD ]

3. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD):

Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD is one of the more serious mental illnesses that can affect your child during the early years of his life.

  • In most cases, the condition occurs before the child turns three years of age.
  • The symptoms and the severity of the condition can vary from child to child.
  • One of the most common symptoms of ASD is the difficulty to interact and communicate with others effectively.

[ Read: Signs of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Children ]

4. Eating Disorder:

Earlier theory linked eating disorders with teens only. But the condition can affect children early on in life.

Here are some of the most common types of eating disorders:

  • Anorexia Nervosa: In which your child may stop eating to reduce weight and look good as per popular social perception.
  • Binge Eating: In which your child may start eating abnormal amounts of food, gulping it down hurriedly and cannot stop even when he is full. In most cases, emotional distress triggers binge eating.

In severe cases, your child can get so worked up about the way he looks and his weight that he may not be able to focus on anything else.

5. Mood Disorders:

The two most common forms of mood disorders that your child may suffer from are the following:

  • Depression: In which your child will suffer from extreme bouts of sadness.
  • Bipolar Disorder: In this condition, your child will alternate between extreme emotions being very happy and active to suddenly being very quiet and sad.

Mood disorders can cause your child to feel sad continuously. In severe cases, your child may almost stop talking and not want to meet anyone.

[ Read: Emotional Disorders In Children ]

How Can You Spot Signs Of Mental Illness In Children?

Common signs of mental illness in children you can watch out for are the following:

  • Suffers From Mood Swings: Check if your child displays unpredictable and moody behavior. In case of mood swings, your child will also face difficulties in handling relationships at home or in school.
  • Reacts Aggressively: Your child may start showing extreme reactions to situations that are otherwise normal and regular. For instance, your child may start palpitating or hyperventilating. Your child may even get so worked up that he turns breathless and loses sleep.
  • Displays Drastic Change In Behavior:  Your child may suddenly act differently. In severe cases, your child may display very aggressive and violent behavior that can easily turn out of control if not handled on time.
  • Faces Problems In Concentrating: Your child may find it difficult to concentrate, often not being able to understand what you or his teachers tell him.
  • Suffers From Physical Discomfort: Your child may start complaining of imaginary ailments. He may also suffer from sudden weight loss or gain.

[ Read: Tips To Improve Concentration In Kids ]

Mental illnesses in children can often go unnoticed, so make sure you share all your child’s behavioral concerns with your doctor.

Did your child suffer from any of the above conditions? What treatment did the doctor advice? Please share your experience with other moms here.

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