How Bad Is It?
Did you know that 50% of mental health disorders are established around 14 years of age and 75% by 24 years of age? In any given year, at least 20% of adolescents experience mental health disorders.
10% of children around 5-16 years of age have a clinically diagnosable mental problem. You will be surprised to know that 70% of these children do not receive appropriate medical attention at the proper time.
Child development is a dynamic process and takes a long time. It is a process by which children evolve into adulthood. They learn to think maturely and make decisions.
They understand the difference between right and wrong. This can be said to be the most ‘mentally active’ stage of their life.
Along with increased mental activity comes the responsibility for handling the challenges during this stage appropriately. It is during this time that the children undergo a lot of changes.
Due to the lack of vocabulary and communication skills, they have to deal with the pressure of handling all these changes within themselves all alone.
At such a stage, it the is the duty of the adults around the child to recognize his needs and pamper him accordingly. It is difficult for the adults in the surroundings to identify the mental health disorders in children.
This is because the symptoms shown by children are vague and entirely different as compared to the symptoms shown by adults suffering from the same mental disorders.
Why Is It Difficult To Identify Mental Health Disorders In Children?
Kids have their own world to live in. Due to lack of the ability to communicate, the problems they face generally stay hidden in this world of theirs.
Even if the adults know about the danger points, it is difficult to state whether the symptoms the child is showing is a part of growing up or is a serious sign of mental disorder.
Also, the attitude that the society has towards the children suffering from mental disorders blinds most adults into ignoring the symptoms of the serious illness.
Common Mental Health Disorders In Children
Some of the common mental health disorders that the children face today are listed below.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
This is the most common illness that has been observed in kids. This disorder cripples the ability of the child to focus on one task for more than a few minutes. They keep getting distracted all the time. Around 8%-10%of school children are seen to be affected by ADHD
According to statistics, Autism affects 1 of out every 88 children. Children suffering from Autism appear to be indifferent from their surroundings.
They find it difficult to build emotional connections with people. They like being isolated in their own world. This brain disorder appears in the form of mental retardation, language delays, speech problems etc.
This disorder deals with intense mood swings in children. At one point they are extremely happy and just in a few minutes they become sad. In the initial stages, this disorder is often misdiagnosed as ADHD.
This is a broad term used for describing disorders related to anxiety. It includes diseases like depression, substance abuse, separation anxiety disorder etc.
Studies show that these disorders occur at the rate of 2% in childhood, 4%-7% in adolescence and almost at the rate of 20% by the time adulthood sets in.
Common, Easy To Identify Symptoms You Should Be Aware Of
Some symptoms you require to pay attention to:
Though most of the symptoms related to mental health disorders can be categorized as normal growing up signs, adults require being on a lookout for the same.
- Frequent mood changes
- Behavioural changes
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Self-harming traits
- Unexplainable weight loss
- Substance abuse
Some Common Causes Of Mental Health Disorders In Children
Mental disorders cannot occur due to one single cause or reason. There are several factors that contribute to the occurrence of mental disorders.
These factors include abnormal levels of neurotransmitters like the hormone serotonin or dopamine in our body.
On the wider basis, girls are diagnosed with anxiety disorders more than boys. On the other hand, disorders like ADHD, Autism are noticed more among boys than girls.
This differentiation is mainly thought of as a result of biological parity among girls and boys. Also, there is a high probability of mental illnesses being hereditary.
Studies show that the children of parents suffering from any of the mental health problems are four times vulnerable to suffer from the same as compared to other kids.
How Can I Help My Kids?
Our kids require our support at this stage more than anyone else. The fear of the society ruling them out is dominant among kids. As much as we wish to help our kids, these diseases are inside the brain of your child and there is not much you can do to help them out of this situation.
As responsible parents, give them more love and support them through this phase in their life. Look for ways to spend more time with them and enjoy your time together.
Make sure you don’t hamper your child’s confidence by tagging him as mentally unhealthy or being insensitive. Know that he or she is not doing this on purpose.
Know his condition and let only those persons know about it who can help and support your child in productive ways.
If you observe any symptoms, don’t panic and consult a doctor on a priority basis. With regular medication, psychotherapy and your love and support, these diseases can be controlled. So be patient with your child as well as with yourself.