Disorders in Children: what your child is suffering from?

Mental disorders refer to various syndromes characterized by clinical disturbances in the behavior, emotion regulation, and cognition of an individual. These disturbances cause significant dysfunctions in the developmental, biological, and psychological processes that underlie mental functioning (1). In other words, you can call it the dysfunction of your mind. 13.1 million adults in the US are diagnosed with mental disorders. However, the statistics are even more shocking when it comes to children. One out of every six children aged between 2 to 7 years in the US suffer from mental disorders. The mental disorders in children range from ADHD and depression to anxiety and behavioral disorders. 

Today, you will come across the four common types of childhood disorders. The causes of childhood disorders are also mentioned to provide a detailed overview. 

Mental Health of Children: Types of Childhood Disorders

  • Depression
  • Behavioral Disorder
  • Anxiety
  • ADHD

Advice for Parents: The Do’s

Let’s get to it.

Mental Health of Children: Types of Childhood Disorders

Depression

Depression is an umbrella term used to define the loss of interest or feelings of sadness that someone suddenly goes through. 3.2% of children in the US aged between 3 to 7 years are diagnosed with depression.  

Depressed children tend to recall fewer positive thoughts and more negative ones. Depression can result in an irritable mood, lack or excess of sleeping, indecisiveness, less energy, irregularity of weight gain or loss, and more. Severe cases of depression can even result in suicidal thoughts and other disorders in children like schizophrenia (2).  

The causes of childhood disorders like depression are hereditary and genes, stressful life events, and the environment. Stressful or chaotic home life is one of the significant causes of childhood disorders in children. Engaging in exercises or interpersonal therapy helps children to deal with depression. 

Behavior Disorders

Behavioral Disorders in children refer to a distinctive set of disorderly behaviors that can continue for a few years to months. Children who have this mental condition can cause and face problems in social situations, home, and school. The symptoms of behavior disorder are temper tantrums, getting angry, blaming others, being frustrated, and more. 7.4% of children in the US aged between 3 to 7 years are diagnosed with behavior disorders. 

Behavioral disorders can include verbal or physical aggression, self-injury, non-compliance, inappropriate vocalization, and environmental disruption (3). Children with this disorder will find it difficult to learn like their peers in the school. It might even restrict their access to social opportunities and everyday activities as they are always in a bad mood. 

There are various causes of behavioral disorders such as genetic, brain damage, malnutrition, and physical illness. Parents have to teach their children about the consequences of disorderly behavior to their children. This would help both the children and parents to cope with the problem. 

Anxiety

This is one of the most typical types of childhood disorders. Children who have anxiety experience shyness, avoidance of activities and places, nervousness, and fear (4). 7.1 % of children in the UA aged between 3 to 17 years are diagnosed with anxiety. However, anxiety can even lead to social phobia, separation anxiety disorder, or generalized anxiety disorder in children. It is seen that girls suffer from anxiety more compared to boys with a ratio of 3:1. But, the psychologists do not know the exact role of gender and age in terms of this disorder.

Nonetheless, an anxiety disorder in children should be treated right away to prevent any adverse long-term effects in the future. Anxiety can hamper physical health and result in difficulties in education, interpersonal relationships, and finances. Bullying, abuse, the death of a friend or relative, and parents frequently fighting are prevalent causes of childhood disorders related to anxiety

ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can affect the ability to function in children. Children with this disorder show inappropriate levels of impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattentiveness. Some of the common symptoms include lack of concentration and attention, forgetfulness, disorganization, and more (5). Over 9.4% of children in the US aged between 2 to 17 years are diagnosed with ADHD. It can interfere with the daily activities of the children. 

Brain function and anatomy, heredity, prematurity, and even prenatal exposures to nicotine and alcohol can lead to ADHD. Apart from that, the immediate environment surrounding the children also works as a driving factor behind the onset of ADHD. 

Advice for Parents: The Do’s 

Parents’ role is crucial in dealing with the child’s mental wellness. The more you know about your child’s mental health, it will help you respond and handle it accordingly. Explore methods to reduce your stress so that you can handle different situations calmly. Always find ways to relax with your child and have fun. Being a part of their school activity will also help them to feel more connected towards you. Praise them always for their strengths and abilities, which will not only help them to get better but also to gain confidence.

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