Mental Health

Keys for Coping When Your Child is Diagnosed with a Mental Illness

Mental Illness

 
 

Approximately 20% of all American children suffer from a diagnosable mental illness. Read on to discover which mental illnesses affect children and what you can do if you are a parent of a child diagnosed with one of the more common childhood mental illnesses.

Common Mental Illnesses that Affect Children

Medical research has shown that children can be affected by many of the same mental illnesses that affect adults. Mental disorders that can affect both children and adults include: anxiety disorders, eating disorders, affective mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and tic disorders. There are also several mental disorders that are almost always exclusive to childhood. These include disruptive behavior disorders, elimination disorders and learning and communication disorders. There is much in depth information online about each of these individual disorders.

Mental  Illness

 

Published March 19, 2010 by:


According to Web MD approximately 20% of all American children suffer from a diagnosable mental illness. Read on to discover which mental illnesses affect children and what you can do if you are a parent of a child diagnosed with one of the more common childhood mental illnesses.

Common Mental Illnesses that Affect Children

Medical research has shown that children can be affected by many of the same mental illnesses that affect adults. Mental disorders that can affect both children and adults include: anxiety disorders, eating disorders, affective mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and tic disorders. There are also several mental disorders that are almost always exclusive to childhood. These include disruptive behavior disorders, elimination disorders and learning and communication disorders. There is much in depth information online about each of these individual disorders.

Symptoms to Look Out for in Determining if a Child May Have a Mental Disorder

Some of the symptoms to look out for in children include: abuse of drugs and/or alcohol; problems coping with daily problems and activities; excessive tantrums; changes in eating or sleeping patterns, withdrawal from friends and family, significant increase in the time spent alone, excessive worrying, and a significant decline in the quality of school work. There are many more symptoms to watch for but these are some of the most common. Web MD provides a more complete list of symptoms to look for in diagnosing mental disorders in children.

Anxiety Disorders, One of the Most Common Mental Illnesses in Children

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses found in children. Childhood anxiety is also something that I am particularly familiar with, having suffered from generalized anxiety disorder myself. Anxiety disorders affect one out of every eight young people. Common anxiety disorders that affect children include: phobias; generalized anxiety disorder; panic disorders; obsessive compulsive disorder; and post traumatic stress disorder. Again there is much in-depth information on each of these childhood mental disorders available online.

Advice for Parents of Children Diagnosed with an Anxiety Disorder

Parents of children diagnosed with anxiety disorders need to be especially careful to pay attention to their child’s feelings. The worst thing a parent can do when their child is experiencing signs of anxiety is to become agitated themselves. Parents need to stay calm when their child is anxious. They should also recognize and praise small accomplishments and avoid punishing mistakes or lack of progress. Parents also need to practice flexibility and to modify their expectations during stressful periods. If your child typically becomes anxious when rushed getting ready for school, get up a little earlier and plan for those transition periods that you know cause your child anxiety.

Common Treatments for Anxiety Disorders

Most scientists advocate for a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and medication. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors commonly referred to as SSRI’s are the most common medication given to children with anxiety disorders. Brand names include lexapro, Celex and Lavox. There are side effects associated with SSRI’s and parents should certainly do their research and be on the lookout for severe reactions.

Mental illness can be a scary thing, especially when it affects your child. There is also still a stigma associated with mental illness which further compounds the problem. If your child has been diagnosed with a mental illness do your homework and keep an open mind. Being diagnosed with a childhood mental illness is not the end of the world. Children with mental illness can go on to lead healthy, productive lives.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/mental-health-illness-in-children

http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/children/tips-parents-and-caregivershttp://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/children/treatment

Leave a Reply