Every day you look at your child and watch him grow. You watch him laugh, smile, and play every day.
Do you see any developmental disabilities? Do you see any lack of control mentally or physically? Is there any intellectual disability? Do metabolic disorders persist? The reason why you should check on all these factors is to ascertain that your child has no mental health issues.
Statistical reports from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reveal that
- 20% of the world’s youth suffer from mental health conditions.
- 1 in 3 Indian children between the age of 10- 17 years suffers from depression.
- Only 7% of India’s youth report mental problems they face
From these reports, it is obvious that most of the child mental disorders go unnoticed.
If you do not want this to happen to your child, take a look at this checklist and see if your child exhibits any of these symptoms. If so, rush your child to a mental health professional immediately.
A Checklist of Mental health symptoms your child should not exhibit
When a child is affected mentally, it shows in his physical health. physical discomfort during childhood can be a result of some mental sickness.
Children with mental illnesses often exhibit visible physical symptoms. These symptoms could be reflected in their speech, movements, cognitive skills, and even eating or metabolic patterns.
Mentally-challenged children can exhibit awkward movements, aimless muscle movements, incoherent speech, etc. They may be irritable, anxious, or painfully slow.
Sometimes the accumulation of stress might affect the growth and metabolism of the child, causing a developmental delay. It affects their thyroid, pituitary, hypothalamic and gonadal activity. This can cause defective brain development by damaging the brain tissues. Or cause bone deformities by affecting the bone structure. When you see such abnormal or sudden deformities in people, especially children, it is time to see a psychiatrist.
Even able-bodied people complain of chronic pain when they are under stress. If a child shows a combination of pain and discomfort, it could be due to a mental illness.
Clinical studies show that kids subjected to stress develop high blood pressure. This can lead to heart ailments and blood disorders later. Kids with high blood pressure may manifest visible physical symptoms like nose bleeds, racing heartbeat, dizziness, blurry vision, etc.
Extra stress can even develop deformities in people, especially children. When their immune system is weakened by stress, they develop abscesses or ulcers. In clinical practice, health providers use hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat such medical conditions.
If you see any of these traumatic stress symptoms in a child, do not rule out seeing a child psychiatrist.
Poor cognitive skills
Mental health conditions often affect the human brain and impair cognitive function. In a child, this is manifested as weak IQ, poor concentration, etc.
The first signs of such functional issues are language disorders, learning disabilities, conduct disorders, etc. Poor academic performance and bad antisocial behaviour could indicate the existence of a mental health condition in kids.
Some children are highly playful and poor in their studies. These could be the signs of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. If your child is too high-strung or hyperactive, there are chances he has ADHD.
Poor thinking or cognitive ability could be an indicator of a mental disorder in children. Watch for the above signs and seek appropriate medical help from a mental health practitioner.
Impaired motor skills
Sometimes, mental illnesses occur due to a deficiency of brain chemicals like dopamine These can affect motor skills in children. Kids with mental health issues often show poor voluntary movements. They lose hand dexterity and have muscular dystrophy.
Children with Autism spectrum disorders show awkward movements and incomplete movements. Autistic children have developmental delays and this is reflected in the form of poor motor and communication skills. To improve their voluntary movements, a health provider advises constraint-induced therapy.
The most obvious sign of a mental illness in children is their personality. Some children who have a defiant disorder are aggressive. Other kids with Emerging Borderline Personality Disorder are happy one moment and sad the next.
If you see such unusual traits in a child, it is best to consult a mental health specialist.
Those who have anxiety disorder are always tense and irritable. This causes their nerves to tingle and their muscles to cramp up.
A child with a depressive episode can suffer from damage to the brain cells. This results in poor concentration, memory, etc. Such neurologic symptoms are a clear sign of mental issues in children.
Some children have poor control of their emotions. They might be too attached or clingy to their caretakers. On analysis, they reveal the presence of Reactive Attachment Disorder.
In contrast, kids with Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder are friendly with strangers but cannot form meaningful bonds with their caretakers.
Care for children with attachment disorders is a must as they can even become victims of a substance use disorder later.
Such kinds of conduct disorders need conservative treatments by a mental health provider.
Steps to detect the presence of a mental illness in a child
- Observe the child for a while every day.
- See the reaction of the child to adverse circumstances.
- Check if the child has a difficult time at school, coping with lessons, or interacting with others.
- Watch how the child behaves socially in the public domain.
- Note if the child is undergoing all stages of childhood development to see if there is any development delay.
- Keep a record of his medical history and medical conditions that occur from time to time.
- Interact with health care professionals and discuss your concerns.
- If you detect any of the above signs, take the child to a mental health professional immediately.
- Discuss a treatment plan with the health care provider and explore options for training in children.
- Families of children with mental disabilities should unite and support them in their treatment
The human body operates under the control of the mind. For a child, good mental health is a must for physical growth and fitness. Use the above checklist to look for signs of mental disorders in children and consult an expert psychiatrist in Kolkata like Dr. Sagnik Mukherjee at the earliest for quick relief.