Mental health disorders in children are more common than one might think. In fact, they affect one in every five young people today, interfering with their social, emotional, and cognitive development.
Common childhood disorders include, but are not limited to, depression, anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders, conduct disorders, autism, and obsessive-compulsive disorders, like self-cutting, anorexia, bulimia and obsessive, ritualistic behaviors.
Such disorders are both biological (e.g., they may be genetic) and environmental (resulting from exposure to violence, stress, loss, toxins). When left undiagnosed and untreated, children and their families suffer needlessly. Children can’t just “get over” these problems alone. They need your help to overcome them, so they become happy, healthy, well-adjusted adults.
Fortunately, most children are resilient. When mental health issues are diagnosed and treated early, children often have excellent long-term outcomes. If you are concerned about your child’s emotional health or development, it’s important to get a check-up with a qualified therapist…just as you would see your pediatrician if you were concerned about your child’s physical health.
Warning Signs Your Child Needs Help
- Anxious or often worried
- Poor concentration or inability to sit still, focus attention
- Sad and hopeless feelings that do not go away
- Very angry or crying most of the time, overreacting to things
- Declining performance in school
- Unexplained fears
- Suicidal tendencies
- A need to wash, count, or perform certain rituals hundreds of times per day to avoid unsubstantiated danger
- Obsessive dieting/exercise, unexplained weight loss, avoiding food, binging and purging, excessive visits to the bathroom after meals
- Loss of interest in things once enjoyed
- Daydreaming too much and not completing tasks
- Feeling overwhelmed by life
- Hearing voices that cannot be explained
- Setting fires, purposefully killing or hurting animals
- Breaking the law without regard for other people