6 Simple Signs a Child May Have a Psychiatric Disorder

Most parents tend to dismiss certain behaviour of children as tantrums. 

But did you know that 

“At least 10% of the children under 10 yrs have a diagnosed mental illness. Nearly 20% of the adolescent children suffer from a mental problem in a year”.

These statistics confirm the prevalence of depression and mental disorders in children and our need to acknowledge and treat them. 

Most parents ignore the warning sign of child mental health disorders. 

But how to identify the mental disorders in children and the onset of depression?

Here are some common signs that help you do this.

What are the common symptoms of a child suffering from mental illness?

A child with mental disorders can show 3 types of symptoms- Physical symptoms, Social symptoms, and Emotional or Behavioural symptoms. 

Behavioural Symptoms that indicate that the child has an emotional disorder

Withdrawal

Is the child looking sad and depressed for some time or trying to be alone and avoid people? If these depressive symptoms and withdrawal signs persist for at least 2 weeks, you must consult a reputed mental health professional.

Suicidal thoughts 

Is the child having hopeless thoughts of life or often trying to kill himself? It looks like he has stress management issues and needs immediate psychiatric care.

Persistent fear or worry

If the child is always in fear of something, look for schizophrenia or generalized anxiety disorder symptoms. If left unnoticed, this fear can escalate into a panic attack with physical symptoms like breathlessness, racing heartbeat, etc.

Violent or Disruptive behaviour 

Some children get into physical fights and try to harm themselves or those around them. If this happens frequently, it could be a sign of disruptive behaviour. If unattended,  this anger management issue can cost the child his life.

Defiant behaviours

Here the child refuses to listen or cooperate on even small issues. The child may have angry outbursts or show depressive symptoms. This lack of control is common in children with ADHD- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,  Autistic Spectrum Disorder, or bipolar disease.

Obsession  

The child has an intense fear that prevents him from conducting his daily life normally. This fear could be due to Post-traumatic stress disorder. If ignored, it might develop into OCD.

Mood disorders

Extreme mood swings affect the child. He cries one minute and laughs the next. This could be a bipolar disorder symptom that needs immediate mental health care.

Substance abuse

The child develops an addiction to alcohol or drugs. This might be due to an Acute Stress disorder. Psychiatric treatment along with de-addiction is a musty prevent recurrence risk.

Unusual behaviours

The child shows a sudden shift in his personality- from an extrovert to an introvert or vice versa. This could be attributed to a behavioural disorder that needs mental treatment.

Physical signs that indicate the presence of childhood mental disorder

Physical pain without injury

The child complains of headaches or stomach aches without any reason. This pain does not wear off even after taking medication. Then, it is time to consult a child psychiatrist or health care professionals without delay.

Sleep disorder

The child either sleeps too much or does not sleep at all. Less or more than the actual sleep time indicates the presence of mental illness in the child.

Eating disorder

The child refuses to eat and throws up when forced. This kind of eating disorder will affect not only the physical health but the life of the child.

Social symptoms of child mental disorder

Social engagement disorder 

The child does not want to interact with others or participate in social activities. He prefers to be isolated and communication within and outside has come to a standstill. This could soon develop into an Antisocial Personality disorder.

Problems at school

The child refuses to go to school and if academic performance has dropped drastically.  This means he might have Separation Anxiety Disorder. If he has problems with his classmates at school who bully him because of his height, weight, skin colour or looks, he may need Behavioural therapy.

What to do if a child shows signs of mental illness?

The first thing to do is to talk to the child and make him feel comfortable. Next, assure him that it is normal to feel depressed sometimes but better to share your worry with others. Give him the faith that you are ready to listen when he wants to talk. Last, of all, convince him that seeking medical help is the right solution.


70of the children do not get the right psychiatric intervention at an early age “.

Child psychiatric disorders can be cured easily if they are detected and treated early. With accurate diagnosis and the right psychiatric care, the child can overcome his mental illness to lead a normal and healthy life. Bring along your child to Dr Sagnik Mukherjee’s Clinic in Kolkata. We can prescribe the right treatment plans based on the diagnosis and medical history.

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