Mental Illness in Kids- Warning Signs

Kids just like adults are plagued with mental disorders. Statistics show that at least one out of every five kids has mental disorders and in advanced cases, this greatly affects their day to day interactions with others. Many parents are afraid to deal with the reality or common signs that lead to this illness.

Sudden change of behavior may not what a parent may think it is. These changes could be the potential leads to mental illness. Among the early signs of mental disorders include; indicate depression, intense fears or phobias, worries or sudden withdrawal from people that lasts for many weeks. However, there are several warning signs that as a parent, you may take note of.

Mood Swings Lasting For Weeks

Sudden change of moods is usual in kids as they may be facing some personal challenges. However, long lasting mood swings is a strong indicator of a serious mental disorder. The child comes from being active to being melancholy in a short period of time without a good reason. This maybe an indicator of mania depressive disorder and in the long run, the kid’s social and academic life will be affected greatly.

Childhood bipolar is characterized by rapid mood swings and hyper activeness. If it lasts for weeks, the child needs psychotherapy and medication in order to control their moods. Otherwise, this disorder is likely to affect a child’s mental wellbeing greatly.

Excessive Phobias and Worries

While this may be normal in the early stages of life for every human being, for example toddlers fear the dark or being separated from their parents. However, when normal age based fears exceed a certain age and interfere with how a kid goes about their daily activities, as a parent, this should capture your attention.

Kids with a specific worry or phobia for something are usually anxious may be candidates for this illness. They may complain of physical fear but deep down they are expressing their worry over something. This should be communicated to a physician for clear diagnosis and medication or therapy.

Extreme Change in Behavior

Kids like challenging and question authority from their elders. This is common irrespective of a kid’s age. However, the contention comes in if the kid is challenging authority willingly since he has a motive behind it. A child may be playing defiance just for the sake of it without any genuine motive behind it. This is called Oppositional Defiant Disorder (OOD). This disorder in the long run, leads to other serious mental disorders such as anxiety, depression and bipolar.

Physical Changes like Weight Loss or Gain

A greater number of mental disorder patients are obese or overweight. In most cases, they may be suffering from eating disorder that is one of the mental illnesses. In kids, if this does not come with changes from puberty stage, this maybe a strong indicator of mental sickness.

However, weight loss is brought about by depression which is one of the characteristics of mental disorder. At times, kids may find solace in drugs, by doing ‘self-medication’ when in depression. Studies show that depression can be genetically transferred to kids if both parents suffered from the illness.

Loss of Focus or Concentration

Commonly referred to as schizophrenia, this mental disorder makes patients lose touch with the reality. For kids, it comes with trouble in focusing or sitting still leading to poor performance in their education irrespective of their age. The inability to concentrate in simple activities such as television watching may come as a result of excessive thoughts stemming from guilt or shame. In advanced cases, the child may even think of committing suicide.