You may wander about children’s mental health problems and think that mental health issues do not affect children. This article clarifies that; children do experience mental stress and here are tips on children’s mental health problems.
Creative Solutions To Children’s Mental Health Problems
Have you ever seen a child that loves to be alone at all times? Well, one may think that such a child is going through a phase, but more often than not, this is not the case. As parents, you can’t sweep this under the rug and expect it will pass. You have to deal with these problems as they surface. In this article, we will discuss different mental problems associated with children and how to manage and resolve them.
Okay, let’s begin!
How To Know If Your Child Has A Mental Problem
Raising a child is hard work; it’s even worse when the child isn’t one to talk. Usually, children get sad, angry, aggressive, anxious, and over-excited, and most of the time, they cannot sit still and pay attention. For some children, these behaviours are perfectly normal, but to some, it is a cause for alarm. How can a parent know when a behaviour is normal or abnormal?
The best way to ascertain this fact is to observe your child. If these feelings persist for weeks, it’s time to seek medical help. In addition, if their behaviour interferes with their school work, family, friends, and even their peace of mind, then it’s time to go to a therapist. If your child starts talking about hurting himself, his friends, or his family or becomes more aggressive, please drop whatever you are doing, and go to a therapist.
Below are a few signs to decipher your child’s mental condition. If the child –
● Talks about fears a lot.
● Complains about stomach aches and headaches, which have no medical cause.
● Cannot sit still, always moving.
● Sleeps too much or too little and is horrified by terrible nightmares.
● Repeat actions consistently.
● Are easily irritable.
● Have a decline in grades and loses interest in what they used to love.
● Have low energy and spends most of their time alone
● Smokes, drinks, and harbours suicidal thoughts.
● If they hear things that others cannot hear.
Mental Health Conditions Found In Children
1. Anxiety –This occurs when a child does not outgrow the fears and worries of his or her childhood. A child may also suffer from anxiety when there is a lot of stress from school or home.
Caused by: This is caused by maltreatment, experienced trauma like bullying, or when their parents have an anxiety disorder.
Treatment: The best way to treat it is to talk to a healthcare provider or a mental health specialist about getting an evaluation. Some home remedies include eating healthy, engaging in physical activities, getting enough sleep, practice relaxing techniques.
2. Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD): This is when your child consistently acts out by being unnecessarily angry, spiteful, annoying, arguing, and blaming others for his mistakes. This slowly becomes a serious problem both in school and at home. It is often seen in children between the age range of 8-12.
Caused by: Exposure to criminal behaviours and violence, inconsistent parenting, and maltreatment.
Treatment: Treatment should be early; it should include talking to a healthcare provider and getting a good evaluation by a mental specialist. Some home remedies include physical activities, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and having a strong family relationship.
3. Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): This is when a child has problems paying attention, controlling impulsive decisions, and being overly active. Such children are prone to daydreaming, talking too much, taking unnecessary risks, and having a hard time resisting temptations.
ADHD is of three types –
- Predominantly Inattentive Presentation (the child forgets a lot and is easily distracted).
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation (the child talks too much and can’t sit still for long).
- Combined Presentation (symptoms of both).
Caused by: Brain injury, exposure to environmental risks (e.g., lead) during pregnancy or at a young age, alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy, premature delivery, and low birth weight.
Treatment: Best treatment includes a combination of behaviour therapy and medication, close monitoring, follow-ups, and making changes, if needed, along the way. Some home remedies include limiting screen time, getting enough sleep, physical activity, and eating healthily.
4. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): The children think a lot, and most of the time, these thoughts bother them. For example, they may worry about having bad luck if they don’t tie their shoe lace five times before going out. Usually, these thoughts take up most of their time, interfere with their
activities, and upset them. These thoughts become their obsession and their behaviours, compulsion.
Caused by: Health problems during pregnancy.
Treatment: Talking to a health care provider to arrange an evaluation, and then behaviour therapy and medication will also help.
5. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): This is when a child seems restless, fidgety, or has trouble paying attention or staying organized. The child will relieve the incident over and over again and may start having nightmares.
Caused by: A traumatic life experience, like the death of a loved one or exposure to violence and maltreatment.
Treatment: Talking to a healthcare provider for an evaluation is the first step. After that, behaviour therapy, specifically cognitive-behavioral therapy and psychotherapy. These will help the child to speak about the pain he or she is bottling up inside.
It is advisable that parents observe their children and quickly spot these problems so that they can begin treatment immediately. This is because if left unattended, the child will grow up with it and may not have the chance of receiving treatment.
Written by Daramfon Etim
Editor/Reviewer: Chinyere Nwosu