Mental illnesses and other disorders can affect both adults and children. However, in the case of the little ones the symptoms can be different. Can you recognize mental illness in children? Parental observation is very important.
For the above, We have collected a series of information that allows us to learn more about the subject learn to identify those manifestations that may indicate mental health problems in minors. Discover them!
Mental Illness In Children: What You Need To Know
While screening for mental illness in adults isn’t that complicated, it really is in the case of children. Indeed, the little ones tend to show some symptoms that normally go unnoticed by the adults who take care of them.
So unfortunately precious time is lost in the treatment of the disease. Also, we must bear in mind that children lack vocabulary and the ability to express what is happening to them.
Therefore, it is important that responsible adults are informed how mental illness manifests itself in children to locate them as soon as possible. Below we detail the most frequent mental disorders in children and the general symptoms.
Most common mental disorders in children
Children can have the same mental illnesses as adults. However, some are more common. Let’s see them:
- Anxiety Disorders. These are disorders such as obsessive compulsive, social phobia, generalized anxiety or mutism, among others.
- Attention deficit and hyperactivity.
- Bulimia or anorexia.
- Mood disorders. These are disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, etc.
- Schizophrenia, It usually manifests itself towards the end of adolescence.
Symptoms of mental illness in children
As we explained earlier, mental disorders in children often go unnoticed by parents. Indeed, at first the symptoms are seen as something normal in the child’s behaviorso that it is not taken into account as a warning signal.
However, if the sign shows up for a long time or in an intense way, then we need to start considering that it could be an indication that something is wrong.
Moreover, Parents often lack adequate information to detect symptoms of mental illness in children. Additionally, they may not seek help, influenced by the negativity and stigma of mental illness in our society.
Anyway, the first step is to leave taboos and prejudices behind and recognize that there is a problem. Only from that moment can we effectively help our children by seeking medical assistance. Now, what are these symptoms?
1. Behavior changes
Regard drastic and radical changes in the child’s behavior. Normally, he begins to show himself too irritable and violent, adopting dangerous and aggressive behaviors, threats or constant quarrels and fights.
It is an unusual and disproportionate irritability and aggressiveness that could indicate the existence of some kind of disorder.
Noticeable changes in a child’s behavior should be considered a warning sign of mental illness, especially if they are prolonged or severe.
2. Mood swings
Let’s talk about important changes that affect the child’s daily life. For example, If a feeling of sadness lasts more than a fortnight and the child isolates himself and becomes too self-centered, we must be vigilant.
If, on the other hand, this behavior prevents him from carrying out activities he used to perform or affects his academic performance, we could be dealing with a case of mental disorder such as, for example, childhood depression.
3. Difficulty concentrating
It is normal for children to have trouble concentrating. However, if this difficulty is disproportionate to that of other children, if it affects their daily life and their academic performance or, at least, two areas of their life (school, home, etc.), we could be dealing with a symptom of a disorder.
On the other hand, we must also pay attention to other possible symptoms such as memory loss or impairment, difficulty thinking clearly or abnormal beliefs.
4. Excessive weight loss
Excessive weight loss, vomiting, or loss of appetite may indicate eating disorders. In these cases, it is important to be vigilant and seek help so that treatment can begin as soon as possible. Indeed, anorexia and bulimia can have very negative consequences if they are not treated as soon as possible.
In many cases, a mental illness can lead a child to self-harm. In this sense, we must be attentive to possible injuries to your body (cuts or burns) caused by it.
It is extremely important to seek help if this symptom appears. Indeed, many mental illnesses also have suicidal thoughts, so that the sooner they are detected, the sooner the treatment will begin.
6. Feelings that are too intense
It is normal for children and adolescents to experience intense feelings. However, if there is no reason and, for example, the child suffers from excessive irrational fear, perhaps we are dealing with a symptom of some mental disorder.
We are talking about phobias or fears that negatively interfere with your daily activities and whose intensity is uncommon.
7. Headache and stomachache
While adults tend to have other symptoms such as anxiety or sadness, children may express some mental disorders in another way. Therefore, unusual or constant headaches or stomach pains can be a symptom that something is wrong.
On the other hand, we must also be alert to possible sleep disturbances with no apparent explanation. Anyway, We must first rule out physical problems causing these pains or difficulty sleeping.
8. Substance abuse
Especially during the teenage stage, using substances such as alcohol or drugs may be a way for the child to “deal with” or “avoid” their problems. For this reason, we must be alert to any signs of abuse of this type of substance.
9. Perceptual disturbances
In these cases, the child expresses seeing or hearing people or things that, in reality, do not exist. Although the imagination of the little ones is limitless, it could also be a symptom of some mental illness. For this reason, we must be vigilant.
10. Difficulty socializing
Many children are shy, and that’s normal. However, it may not be shyness, but rather a mental disorder that prevents the child from relating normally to her environment.
If, on the other hand, the difficulty in relating to others is excessive and the minor avoids any contact with other minors or other people or feels unable to interact with them, perhaps we are faced with anxiety disorder or a social phobia.
What to do if a mental illness is detected in children?
To seek help. If we detect some of these symptoms with the intensity and duration we have described, theOr it is better to talk to the doctor and inform him. Similarly, we should also talk to the child’s teacher, so that he can better describe to us if the symptoms also occur in the school environment or if he experiences others.
From there, if confirmed, a psychological treatment will begin which will bear fruit. Of course, the child must always have the unconditional support and love of his family. In this sense, we must let them know that they are not alone, that their problem has a solution and that we will be there to offer them our support.
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