- The number of children that suffer from mental illnesses grows by the day.
- Behavioral disorders can have many causes and triggers, and some more obvious than others. There are biological complications as well as environmental triggers.
- There are some triggers at home or in the child’s environment that can potentially trigger an already existing disorder or become a cause for the development of mood and personality disorders.
When children suffer from visible ailments like rashes or fevers, parents immediately take their kids to visit a doctor. The urge to protect your children kicks in almost instantly when you’re able to see that there is something wrong with the child and that they need help.
However, the same cannot be said for mental ailments. The number of children that suffer from mental illnesses grows by the day. When kids or teens start acting up, behaving distant or abnormally, parents are left very confused. Mental illnesses aren’t something many people can see or explain, as there are almost no physical symptoms. In kids especially, it is hard to tell if behavioral changes are part of the adolescent age or if there is a deeper issue.
The warning signs for psychiatric issues are usually differentiated from normal behavioral tendencies by how long the issues last and whether it impacts the child or those around them. You want to look for symptoms of a psychological disorder and not typical mood swings or disruptive behaviors like rebelliousness, irritability, and aggression.
What causes Behavioral Abnormalities?
Behavioral disorders can have many causes and triggers, and some more obvious than others. There are biological complications as well as environmental triggers.
• Physical illness or disability: Some physical illness or impairment can lead your child to become depressed or show abnormal behavior. If the child is feeling left out and treated as an anomaly because of this disorder, like certain skin, bone, or muscle disorders; they sometimes tend to develop psychological disorders.
• Malnutrition: Malnutrition, especially inside the uterus or during the developing stages of the child can cause severe complications in a child, sometimes physical and sometimes mental.
• Brain Damage: If a child has sustained a head injury, especially when the skull and head are still vulnerable, the child could have mental disorders due to this. Brain damage changes the structure and functioning capabilities of the child, sometimes leading to these disorders.
• Family History: If there is a history or a mental disorder in the family tree, there are chances that it could pass on to the next generation.
• Toxins: If a child ingests toxins or is exposed to them in the uterus, this could change the chemical links and structure in the brain. If the mother consumes toxic substances regularly, the chances of the child developing a mental disorder are high.
There are some triggers at home or in the child’s environment that can potentially trigger an already existing disorder or become a cause for the development of mood and personality disorders. Most common examples are:
Divorce and emotional turbulences: Divorce or constant squabbling and bickering amongst parents have been known to have a direct effect on a child’s psyche. The damage could be resolved or linger for a long time, depending on how the child handles it and the role you play to help the child understand.
Parental Coercion: Parents sometimes have a very fixed vision or image of how they want their kids to grow up. Sometimes, they are a little too strict and do not consider the child’s needs or wants, instead of forcing them to live the parent’s ideal life. This could also be a cause of behavioral disorders.
Negligence: In some houses, parents don’t enforce discipline onto their children and do not involve themselves in their kid’s growth. The lack of parental support and discipline can make a child develop psychiatric problems.
It is always hard to trace the exact cause and keep an eye out for every behavioral issue your child exhibits. As a parent, there will be moments where you’re confused and don’t know how to handle these situations.
This is why you must activate your parental radar and keep a lookout for these 6 signs showing your child needs to visit child psychiatry:
Behavior at school:
If your child has shown a sudden decline in academics along with lower interest levels, it might be a sign that they are undergoing some form of mental problem. If they show aggression towards other children and are bullying them even after multiple warnings and explanations as to why they shouldn’t, you should probably watch out.
Children sometimes shy away from interaction and could be introverted. However, if your child shows aggressive behavior out of nowhere when socializing or seems withdrawn and uninterested in any activities or engagement, there is a chance they are going through some mental disorders.
You should monitor this behavior because it could simply be a sign of the child moving on from things that don’t interest them anymore. You should also monitor how they are with family, and see if they completely disregard your interactions with them.
This is a very noticeable sign that something is up. Eating disorders are problematic; even if that’s the only disorder your child suffers from. If you see that they are eating less than usual, using laxatives or throwing up their food or if they’re losing weight rapidly; they have probably developed an eating disorder.
These disorders can often stem from a deeper psychological ailment and should be looked into immediately.
Children suffering from mental disorders often have trouble concentrating on what’s happening around them and what’s being said or done. They will often zone out from conversations, seem confused as to what and why you’re talking to them, and have difficulty explaining what they have learned. You will see a change in their grades and school work.
Difficulty sleeping and recurring nightmares are signs that your child’s brain is working abnormally. Sometimes, these symptoms are brought on by vitamin deficiencies or an imbalanced diet. Even a poor sleep cycle can contribute to this.
However, sleep disorders can also be a symptom of a more troubling disorder. If the change in sleep patterns is a new development, observe to see how long it lasts. If it lasts more than a few weeks and is beginning to affect your child’s physical health, you should rush them to their psychiatrist.
Self-Harm and Aggressive tendencies:
If your kid is harming themselves and/or those around them, it is a clear symptom of an underlying issue. Children often tend to get aggressive or rebellious and play the same way with each other. However, if you see your child intentionally harming themselves, getting into fights with their peers, or even family and are beginning to show suicidal tendencies over a prolonged period of time, you should take them to a psychiatrist.
Knowing all the signs is not always enough. You must know how to pick them out and differentiate them from normal behavior. The role of a parent, guardian, or teacher becomes very important in the developing years of a child.
If you’re beginning to notice any of these signs, and see that they don’t seem to be going away or are translating into something worse, stay calm. Offer your child the support they need and don’t give in to these behaviors or retaliate. Take them to see a doctor or psychiatrist and give them the help they need.