Without treatment, children with mental health issues are at increased risk of school failure, contact with the criminal justice system, dependence on social services, and even self-harm or suicide.
They may be affected by any one of the following issues:
All children experience some anxiety; this is normal and expected. Anxiety becomes a problem when it interrupts a child’s normal activities, like attending school and making friends or sleeping. Persistent and intense anxiety that disrupts daily routine is a mental health problem that requires help.
Forms of anxiety include:
Panic disorder causes panic attacks, which are sudden feelings of terror for no reason. Panic attacks can happen anytime, anywhere and without warning. For some people, fear takes over their lives and they cannot leave their homes.
Those with Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have repeated, upsetting thoughts called obsessions. They do the same thing over and over again to try to make the thoughts go away. Those repeated actions are called compulsions.
Phobias are strong, irrational fears of something that poses little or no actual danger, such as heights, public places or closed in places.
Often people dismiss bullying among kids as a normal part of growing up.
But bullying is harmful.
Bullying is aggressive behavior. A child is targeted by one or more youths with repeated negative actions over a period of time. These are intentional attempts to cause discomfort or injury and can include name-calling, making faces, obscene gesturing, malicious teasing, threats, rumors, physical hitting, kicking, pushing, and choking. More subtle is simply excluding a child from the group.
It can lead children and teenagers to feel tense and afraid. It may lead them to avoid school. In severe cases, teens who are bullied may feel they need to take drastic measures or react violently. Others even consider suicide. For some, the effects of bullying last a lifetime.
Mental trauma induces frightening thoughts and painful feelings. They are the mind’s response to serious injury, or a prolonged over-whelming situation. These feelings can also produce extreme behavior such as:
- intense fear or helplessness
- withdrawal or detachment
- poor concentration
- sleep disturbance
- lack of responsiveness
- lack of interest in things
- hyper-vigilance (intensely watching for more distressing events)
Some children will have prolonged problems after a traumatic event. These may include
- reverting to behavior from earlier life stages
- post-traumatic stress disorder
ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER (ADD / ADHD)
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common reasons children are referred for mental health services. It affects as many as one in every 20 children. Although boys are three to four times more likely than girls to experience ADHD, the disorder affects both boys and girls. Symptoms, which are often unnoticed until a child enters school, include:
People with ADD are not able to sustain attention and resist distractions while doing a task. They often fail to listen to the instructions prior to starting a task, often beginning to do a task while a teacher is explaining how to do it. ADD patients find it difficult to keep their minds on any one thing, and they tend to jump from one task to another, never finishing any of them. They do not follow the rules of the games and fail to pay attention to details. Interestingly, when ADD patients are engaged in a task that they truly enjoy, they usually have no trouble paying attention.
ADD patients are often forgetful in their daily activities at school and home. They often lose things that they need to finish an activity. Leaving books and assignments home is frequent for these patients. They also forget to write down their assignments and keep telling their parents that they do not have any homework. Forgetfulness is common in social settings as well. ADD patients do not remember agreeing to meet someone somewhere, and keeping records of the birthdays of the family members is difficult for them.
ADD patients dislike any activity that takes a lot of mental effort. That is why they postpone starting working on their homework as long as they can. When they have no choice but to finish a task, they do so in a hurry, and their assignments are often full of errors and erasures. ADD patient's handwriting is difficult to read, and they often leave out their name from their assignments.
Such problems as depression, bipolar disorder and substance abuse are common among ADHD patients, but according to Dr. Barkley, they are more common among hyperactive or combination-type ADHD than among ADD patients. Inattentive ADHD can be accompanied by learning disabilities, delayed speech development and decreased working memory capacity, however.
All kids misbehave some times, but behavior disorders go beyond mischief and rebellion. With behavior disorders, your child or teen has a pattern of hostile, aggressive or disruptive behaviors for more than 6 months.
- Harming or threatening themselves, other people or pets
- Damaging or destroying property
- Lying or stealing
- Not doing well in school, skipping school
- Early smoking, drinking or drug use
- Early sexual activity
- Frequent tantrums and arguments
- Consistent hostility towards authority figures