This article is a continuation of the previous one which gave an introduction to children and their mental disorders. In this one, we will focus on which are the common mental disorders that children are susceptible to.
It is to be noted that the disorders covered here are just for information purposes only. Just a brief to make parents aware of what signs to look out for. This article does not attempt to either diagnose or classify the disorders. The aim is to just inform.
The most common mental disorders that children face are–
Thought anxiety occurs in adults only? False. Anxiety that stems from childhood may last up to adulthood. Children worry about a lot of things but persistent worries which may interrupt their day-to-day life may be a cause of concern. The different anxieties in children may look like
- separation anxiety- being afraid to stay away from the parents
- phobias– fear of a specific thing or objects like fear of dogs or doctors
- panic disorder– excessive worrying and fear which causes symptoms such as pounding heart, shaking, sweating and dizziness
- General and social anxiety– which may include being worried about life and fear of not fitting in school or amongst peers.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. with more than 18.1% of the population being affected by it. The stats are seeming to grow in India.
- Feeling sad or down occasionally is normal for a child but feeling negative emotions over things that they once used to enjoy may be a sign of depression in children.
- Unresolved or hidden trauma
- feeling sad or irritable a lot of the times
- showing changes in eating and sleeping patterns
- Extreme depression may cause a child to think about suicide and other harmful ways.
Studies show that suicide is the leading cause of death in youth aged between 10-24 years.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD):
- Children tend to throw tantrums but persistent acting out and defying elders to the point where it becomes a cause for concern to the parents may be a case of ODD. This usually starts before 8 years of age but no later than 12 years.
- Acting defiant with known members like parents or teachers
- Arguing with parents often
- Refusing to comply with the rules and requests of adults
- being resentful and annoyed at others
Conduct Disorders (CD):
- It is also a behavioral disorder like ODD which causes a child to behave in an unruly manner with no respect for authority. In conduct disorders, patterns of aggression and disrespect of authority can be observed.
- Breaking of rules at home, school or with peers
- Urge to break the law which may involve altercation with the authorities
- Showing aggressiveness and indulging in acts such as bullying, fighting or showing cruelty towards animals etc.
- behaving in a manner that causes harm to others or injury to oneself
5) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder:
- It is a common disorder in which the child may have trouble paying attention to a particular thing and may exhibit overly active behavior. In many children, ADHD often occurs with other disorders such as anxiety, ODD, CD etc.
- Difficulty to pay attention
- Showing impulsive behavior which cannot be controlled
- showing restlessness
- difficulty in following instructions
- Seem to not listen when you are speaking to them
A study in India has found that ADHD was prevalent in almost 11.32% of primary school children.
These symptoms are not set in stone and may vary from case to case. The caregivers need to keep observing their children.
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