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How To Recognize Mental Disorders In Your Children

child psychologistEarly diagnosis and treatment of mental illness in children is important to helping the child overcome the disorder. There are many telltale signs that your child may be suffering from a mental illness and it is important to be aware of them. While there are numerous mental illnesses some of the more commonly diagnosed are depression, bipolar, ADHD, and conduct disorders.

General changes in behavior that come on quickly and involve numerous parts of the child’s life are of the most concern. These behaviors can include a decline in school performance and loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed. You may find that your child was doing well in school and now even with persistence and effort they are failing and having difficulty concentrating. Persistent nightmares are causing lack of sleep leading to irritability and frequent acting out behaviors, such as temper tantrums. Your once rational child is now exhibiting irrational fears and anxiety in social situations and may begin to display compulsive repetitive behaviors that have no logical basis, except to them.

A once happy child who is now suffering from bouts of depression will tend to isolate, become moody, and exhibit feelings of worthlessness. They may also become obsessed with death, suicide, and exhibit dangerous behaviors, such as self-mutilation or substance abuse. Also, keep an eye out for loss of appetite, weight loss, changes in sleeping habits, weepiness, loss of interest in hygiene, and activities.

Unlike depression, a child who could be exhibiting symptoms of bipolar will have rapid mood swings cycling between depression, irritability, and euphoria. They may require little sleep and exhibit risk taking behaviors, due to overconfidence in abilities and a feeling of invincibility.

The signs of a conduct disorder and ADHD often overlap making it difficult to determine a diagnosis. A child in both disorders will exhibit behaviors of aggression, disobedience, and violence toward others including family members. Hyperactivity and inability to sit still or finish activities begin to become disruptive in school, home, and social activities. These children also often lack friends because of their aggressive disruptive behaviors.

Do not be overly concerned if your child begins to exhibit some of these symptoms. Everyone goes through cycles in their life this in normal and not a cause for alarm. It is when numerous symptoms are displayed for an extended period of time that a parent should start to become worried. When this happens, it is important to be proactive and have your child examined and tested by a health care provider for diagnosis and treatment. If you live in the Indianapolis area Prometheus Psychological Services can assist in providing diagnosis, treatment, and counseling for your child. Providing treatment quickly can get your child back on the path to a healthy productive life.


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