Mental Health Issues & Disorders in Children

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson covers some examples of mental health issues in children as well as potential signs of mental health disorder you should look out for in children.

Mental Illness In Children

Everyone wants the best for their children and rightly so. We all want to shelter them from the negative things in life. Unfortunately, we know this isn't always possible. One case in point is that many cases of mental illnesses begin before the age of 14. Once a mental illness occurs, especially if it's not addressed early, it becomes harder to manage.

This is why this lesson's focus is on identifying some of the possible mental health issues and disorders that can affect children as well as some of their possible signs.

Mental Disorders

One type of mental issue a child may face is an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are those that cause a child mental distress (worry) regarding some future potentiality. But we all worry. Children worry too. Worry, in and of itself, is not abnormal. But an anxiety disorder is more than anxiety. It's anxiety that occurs to such an extent that it interferes with the child's schoolwork or relationships.

Children can also have a disorder called ADHD, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. This disorder is characterized by three main things:

  • Inattention. This means the child has, among other things, difficulty concentrating on a task.
  • Hyperactivity. The child will be constantly moving about, even when it's not appropriate to do so.
  • Impulsivity. This, generally speaking, refers to the notion that the child may do something without truly thinking about their actions and the potential consequences of their actions.

Another type of disorder that can affect children is an eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa. Now, an eating disorder isn't something like your child refusing to eat peas when they eat everything else. This is far more serious. Eating disorders result in obsessions regarding the child's food and weight and they can have serious, if not deadly, physiological consequences. Again, anorexia nervosa is a famous example of an eating disorder, one where a child who is extremely underweight actually believes they are overweight and thus eats very small quantities of food.

Signs Of Mental Health Issues

As you learned about those mental health issues, you would have spotted some signs to look out for. However, since we can't possibly cover every mental health issue a child may have nor every possible sign such an issue may bring, let's focus on some broader signs to look out for that may point to any number of various mental health disorders that can affect children:

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