Most psychological problems that plague us during our adulthood had their seeds planted in our childhood, at one point or another. This is why in order for a child to have a good personal and social life ahead, it is necessary that he/she has a happy, loving and fulfilling life early on. Nevertheless, it is not always possible to control each and every experience that a child will have during the growing years and at times, the conditions can even be genetic.
It is however, possible for parents and guardians to detect if the child is showing any signs of mental illness early on and act upon it. Seeing a licensed therapist at the right time, before the problems become too deep-rooted, is vital in ensuring our children’s future. Before you can do that, though, you will need to detect if there’s a problem. Go through the following symptoms and see if you can relate any of them to your child’s behavioral patterns.
Children who have trouble coping and completing daily activities and problems can be the victim of ADHD or some other mental health disorder. If left untreated, the condition can worsen and may make way for an unhappy and unfulfilling life ahead.
Night Terrors and Nightmares
Every child has occasional nightmares and night terrors that themselves are not generally a cause for concern. However, if the frequency increases along with the discomfort of the child, it’s time to see a therapist.
Changes in Eating and Sleeping Habits
A sudden change in appetite or bedtime can indicate that something is bothering the child. If it’s not physical, it’s definitely psychological.
Health Problems That Are Not There
If your child is complaining about health ailments on a regular basis and you or the doctor can’t really find anything wrong with him/her, it is most definitely a sign of underlying mental problems.
Everyone gets moody at one time or the other, but if your child is in a constant state of bad mood, then it’s probably the early signs of depression. As depression can lead to even suicidal thoughts or at the very least, ruin one’s social life, it is imperative that you take him/her to see a therapist as soon as possible.
Stealing, fighting, destructive behavior, outbursts of anger, defying authority, disobedience, etc. are usually symptoms that we see in teens and young adults. If left unchecked, it may lead to the development of anti-social personalities and in some cases, even criminal behavior.
It could be alcohol, street drugs or even prescription pills, but if the child is hooked on any one of them, it means that he/she is in some serious problem. As the substance abuse itself will lead the child into further mental and physical health issues, the importance of seeking professional help early on cannot be emphasized enough.
Other symptoms of mental disorders in children may include hyperactivity, anxiety, loneliness, poor grades, abnormal fear of gaining weight, loss of interest in activities and hallucinations. If you see any of these symptoms in your child, observe and see if it’s a pattern. If it is, then talk to your son or daughter with a mindset to help him/her, instead of being aggressive yourself. Try to establish rapport and at the same time, seek counsel from professionals.