You’ll be rather surprised to know that around 20% of American children suffer from some kind of mental health illness which can be diagnosed but is not. Even more, there are more than 5 million American adolescents and children who are going through some serious kind of mental illness which has almost become a part and parcel of their daily lives. Most of the major mental health illnesses among children and teens often go unnoticed as the parents aren’t aware of the symptoms. Even though they might notice a change in their behavior, they think it is a part of their normal behavioral change.
But this is not often the case. Mental illness among children can get tough on parents to recognize and this is why there are many children who don’t benefit from the effective treatments. Although there are several online resources like e-counseling.com from which you can get the best counseling guide, yet there are not many who seek help of them. Here are few things you need to know.
What makes it tough for the parents to recognize mental illness among children?
It totally depends on the adult who is involved in the life of a child and whether or not the child is suffering from any health issue. It is sad enough to note that majority of the adults are not aware of the symptoms and signs of mental illness among children. Even though you may be aware of the red flags, it can be tough for someone to differentiate the symptoms of a problem from normal childhood behavior. Every individual child might display various signs at some point of time and children usually lack their developmental ability or vocabulary to explain the concerns.
There are several concerns regarding the stigma which is related to mental illness, the use of the right medicines and the logistical obstacles of the treatment can even bar the parents from taking care of their child who are suspecting a type of mental illness.
Simple signs that a child might be suffering from psychiatric disorders
There is a group of mental health experts from all over the world who are alarmed at the total number of children who are struggling with several types of psychiatric disorders and who are still left untreated. Being a parent, if you know the warning signs among a child which prompts that he could be suffering from mental health issue, it becomes easier for you to spot things.
The ultimate goal is to make it simpler and more effortless for teachers, parents and paediatricians to know when they should take proactive steps to ask for care for either an adolescent or a child. Often it is seen that parents are not able to differentiate between the normal behavior and typical moodiness and the warning signs of illness. What if you find your child showing ODP or occasional disruptive behavior like aggression, defiance and impulsivity? These are certainly signs of psychiatric disorder.
Read also: 5 Signs You May Have an Anxiety Disorder
The different kinds of warning signs of psychiatric illnesses among children are usually differentiated from their usual behavior and this can be understood by how long the behavior lasts, whether or not it has any impact on the functioning of the child and whether or not it sets an impact on other people.
A group which was led by psychiatrists from Mayo Clinic, interviewed 7000 families to speak about the language which would be extremely beneficial for the parents. Two of the common federal agencies, Center for Mental Health Services and National Institute of Mental Health offered the funding for this project. Here is what the warning signs might look like:
- Feeling extremely sad or withdrawn from everything and everyone for 2 weeks or more than that
- Earnestly trying to harm his own self or kill himself or seriously making plans to commit suicide
- Getting involved in several fights, leveraging some harmful weapon and badly wanting to hurt other people
- Out-of-control behavior which is not only severe but which also ends up hurting himself
- Throwing up food, not eating properly or eating laxatives to lose weight
- Extensive fears or worries which comes in the way of the regular activities
- Facing too much of difficulty in focusing on things or remaining still which makes her become susceptible to physical harm or which leads to school failure
- Severe mood disorders which causes harm to any relationship
- Constant use of alcohol and drugs
- Drastic and dramatic changes in personality and behavior
Mental health conditions which set an impact on children
The range of mental health conditions which affect children might include the following:
- Anxiety disorders like post-traumatic stress, obsessive compulsive disorder or social phobia
- ADHD or attention-deficit disorder which includes symptoms of difficulty in focusing on things
- Eating disorders like nervosa, anorexia or binge-eating disorder
- ASD or autism spectrum disorder which is a developmental disorder which occurs in early childhood
- Mood disorder like bipolar disorder or depression or extreme mood swings
Early identification and treatment can resolve issues
The foremost step that you may take is to make your child complete youth screening that’s intended among the young generation who are usually concerned that their attention, emotions and behaviors might be symptoms of such an issue. Hence, there is also a complementary parent screening that is also done. Once the results are out, you can begin a conversation with the child regarding their mental health and this can have a good impact when you speak with your mental health professional or the pediatrician of your child.
When your child is diagnosed with mental health issues, you should opt for a comprehensive and extensive treatment plan which needs to include psychotherapy. There might include medicines as well. The plan has to be discussed with all the family members and the child in question should also be involved in decisions regarding treatment.
Therefore, when you’re eager to know about the mental health symptoms among the children, you can take into account the above listed disorders and their symptoms. Get them treated as soon as possible.