Childhood Psychological Disorders
The majority of theories on children’s diseases, whether cognitive, behavioral, or neurobiological, regard children’s development as critical to adult mental health. Many theories also regard children to be more adaptable to change than adults, and hence to be handled more appropriately.
Although the number of children identified and treated for various mental diseases has increased dramatically in recent years, there is not enough discussion on this issue. The most controversial part is the dramatic increase in prescriptions for children’s drugs.
Clinicians must first assess the typical behavior of children of the age group before making a diagnosis for the disorder in children. For example, children of age 2-3 lying on the floor and crying is taken differently than children of age 7 doing the same for things they want but do not get.
The study of developmental psychopathology focuses on childhood issues in relation to lifespan development, allowing us to identify behavior that is appropriate at one moment but harmful in the next phase of life.
Childhood Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is a normal part of growing up to some extent. Because children have fewer life experiences than adults, their surroundings are often strange and frightening.
Children can be terrified by daily life experiences such as the start of school or terrible events such as relocating to a new location or becoming severely ill. In addition, each generation of kids is confronted with new anxiety-provoking scenarios.
Children today, for example, are regularly warned about hazards posed by Internet surfing and social networking, kidnapping, narcotics, and terrorist attacks, both at home and at school.
Children are frequently exposed to disturbing pictures on the internet, on television, and in movies. Even fairy tales and nursery rhymes contain frightening images that many children find scary.
Children are also impacted by their parents’ weaknesses. Children may be more inclined to react to the environment with fear if their parents, for example, are prone to reacting to events with a high level of anxiety or are too protective of their children.
Children’s upbringing also impacts their mental health. When parents consistently refuse, scold, or avoid their children, their living environment becomes uncomfortable and distressing for them. Children may suffer from anxiety if their parent’s divorce, or are separated from their children for a long time.
According to studies, 14 to 25 percent of children and teenagers suffer from anxiety disorders. The anxiety issues of some of the children are akin to those of their adult counterparts.
Psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, family and group treatments have been used most frequently among the children who do receive therapy, either independently or in combination.
Each treatment has had some success, but cognitive-behavioral therapies have consistently outperformed others in tests. These treatments are similar to adult anxiety treatments, but they are adapted to the capacities of the child’s brain and his or her unique circumstances, and they have a very limited impact on the child’s life.
Clinicians can also provide psychoeducation, parenting training, and school-based programs to help anxious kids. Drugs have also been used by clinicians in a number of situations, usually in conjunction with psychotherapy.
Psychodynamic therapists, in particular, use play therapy in their treatment of children who have difficulty recognizing and grasping their feelings and reasons.
This method allows children to play with their toys while drawing and creating stories, allowing them to uncover challenges in their lives as well as their feelings. More games and fantasies are then encouraged by therapists to help children resolve their concerns and change their behavior and emotions.
Many parents believe that their children are uninterested in them. They go around aimlessly and live their lives according to their own inclinations. It is common for children to be a little distracted, especially in their early years.
Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) show impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity that normally do not find in their age group children.
According to recent estimates, ADHD affects 7 to 9% of children and teenagers in the United States. The number of children diagnosed with ADHD has risen considerably in recent years. In the United States today, more than 6 million children aged 4 to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD.
Boys are diagnosed with ADHD two to nine times more frequently than girls. Black and Hispanic children are less likely than Euro-American children to get the diagnosis. It is identified when problems with concentration or hyperactivity-impulsivity make it difficult for a kid to adjust to school.
The inattention or hyperactive symptoms of ADHD, on the other hand, might appear before the age of 12. ADHD is frequently linked to various conditions, including conduct disorder, learning impairments, depression, anxiety disorders, and communication disorders.
ADHD symptoms include the inability to remain quiet for more than a few minutes, bullying, temper outbursts, stubbornness, and failure to respond to punishment.
Some cases of ADHD are primarily concerned with attentional issues, while others are primarily concerned with hyperactive or impulsive behaviors, and yet others are concerned with both attentional and hyperactive/impulsive problem behaviors.
Children with ADHD have a difficult time in school. They can’t sit motionless for long. They squirm and fidget in their seats, interfere in other children’s activities, throw temper tantrums, and can be extremely reckless, such as racing across the street without checking.
Children with ADHD have ordinary or above-average intelligence, but they perform poorly in school. They frequently disturb the classroom and get into fights. They are prone to losing track of instructions, failing to follow them, and failing to complete assignments.
When compared to normal children, these children are far more likely to have learning difficulties, repeat grades, and be placed in special education schools.
Lack of attention in elementary school leads to poor educational outcomes later in adolescence and early adulthood, as well as a greater likelihood of not graduating from high school before reaching maturity.
Children with ADHD are more likely to have trouble with working memory which might make it difficult to keep one’s attention on the one activity.
Ritalin and Concerta are two popular medicine used to normalize ADHD-affected kids. Children with ADHD who use stimulant drugs had less disruptive, hyperactive behavior and have longer attention spans. Preschoolers as young as three to five years old are given attention-stimulating drugs.
While the usage of stimulants has its detractors, These medications can help children with ADHD relax and concentrate better on their homework and assignments.
Although stimulant medicine can help with restlessness and focus at school, it’s unclear whether these benefits translate into better grades. It is crucial to emphasize that one of the most common problems with stimulant medicine, like with other psychiatric treatments, is the significant chance of relapse once the patient stops using it.
Conduct Disorder (CD)
Conduct disorder (CD) is distinct from ADHD in some aspects, despite the fact that it also entails disruptive behavior.
Those with CD actively engage in antisocial behavior that breaches social standards and others’ rights, whereas children with ADHD appear to be incapable of managing their behavior. Children with ADHD have temper tantrums, whereas children with conduct disorder are deliberately aggressive and abusive.
They are frequently violent toward other children, bullying or threatening them, or initiating physical fights. These kids do not accept their mistakes and do not apologize for their bad behavior.
They may steal or destroy property, create fires, break into other people’s homes, and, as they grow older, commit serious crimes such as rape, armed robbery, or even homicide. When they do go to school, they may cheat and lie to hide their poor performance. Alcohol dependence and early sexual activity are common among them.
Conduct disorders affect approximately 12% of males and 7% of females. The condition is not only more common in boys than in girls, but it also comes in a variety of forms.
Boys’ CD is more likely to present themselves in theft, vandalism, fighting, or school-related disciplinary actions, whereas girls’ CD is more likely to manifest themselves in lying, truancy, runaway, drug usage, and prostitution.
Children with CD are more likely to have other problems like ADHD, significant depression, and other addiction issues. CD during childhood is linked to antisocial behavior and the development of an antisocial personality disorder later in life.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
Conduct disorders and oppositional defiant disorders (ODD) are sometimes combined together under the umbrella term “conduct problem.” Despite the fact that the two diseases are related, ODD is a distinct diagnostic category and not just a milder variant of CD.
ODD is more common than non-delinquent (negativistic or oppositional) varieties of conduct disorder, whereas CD includes more overt indecent behavior, such as theft, truancy, lying, as well as aggression.
Children with ODD are frequently negative and angry. They oppose authority by clashing with instructors and parents on a regular basis and refusing to follow instructions or requests.
They may purposefully irritate others, be easily irritated or lose their temper, become enraged or impatient and blame others for their mistakes, be furious with others, or act vindictively or bitterly toward others.
The illness often begins when a child reaches the age of eight and worsens over months or years. It normally starts at home, but it can spread to other places, including schools.
ODD is one of the most common diagnoses for kids. It is estimated that one to eleven percent of teenagers and youngsters are affected.
Prior to the age of 12, ODD is more common in both girls and boys, but it is unclear whether there is a gender difference between teenagers and adults. The majority of research, however, demonstrates that CD is more common in boys than in girls of all ages.
Depressive and Bipolar Disorders
Up to 20% of youngsters experience depression at some point during their adolescence. Furthermore, many specialists believe that bipolar disorder might affect children.
Very young children, like those with anxiety disorders, lack some of the cognitive skills that contribute to clinical depression, which explains why the rate of depression among the very young is so low. For example, in order to feel the hopelessness that depressive adults do, children must be able to retain future expectations, an ability that is rarely fully developed until the age of seven.
Teenagers are far more likely than young children to suffer from clinical depression. Adolescence is a challenging and complicated time, even in the best of circumstances, defined by stress, hormonal and physical changes, mood disorders, and complex relationships.
These “typical” adolescent upheavals can lead to severe depression in certain teenagers. Suicidal thoughts and attempts are extremely common among adolescents – one in every eight teenagers thinks about suicide every year and depression is the major cause of such thoughts and attempts.
For years, it was assumed that children and adolescent depression would react effectively to the same treatments that had helped depressed adults—cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal techniques, and antidepressant drugs—and many studies had shown that such approaches were beneficial.
Studies and incidents in recent years have raised questions about the efficacy of these treatments for teenagers.
Elimination disorders cause children to urinate or pass stools in their clothes, in bed, or on the floor on a regular basis. They’ve already reached the age when certain biological functions should be within their control, and their symptoms aren’t caused by physical illnesses or medications.
It is the involuntary wetness of clothes on a regular basis. It usually happens at night, although it can also happen during the day. To be diagnosed with this illness, children must be at least 5 years old. Stress-related situations, such as hospitalizations or school admissions, or family problems, could trigger the problem.
Enuresis becomes less common as you become older. One-third of the children aged 5 have had at least one episode of bedwetting, with nearly 10% of them having enuresis-like symptoms, while 3% of 10-year-olds and 1% of teenagers suffer from the illness.
Even without therapy, most cases of enuresis resolve on their own. Treatment, particularly behavioral therapy, can, however, accelerate the process.
Dry-bed training, in which children are taught hygiene and retention control, is another effective way of controlling behavior. They are also awoken at night to train them to use the restroom and are rewarded for it.
Encopresis, or defecating into one’s garments repeatedly, is less prevalent than enuresis and has attracted less research. This issue rarely happens at night when sleeping. It is usually unintentional, begins after the age of four, and affects 1.5 to 3% of all children.
Encopresis is a social condition that generates shame and embarrassment. Children who have it frequently try to hide their illness and avoid places where they could be embarrassed, such as camp or school.
Stress, biological causes like constipation, incorrect toilet training, or a combination of these factors might cause cases. A medical evaluation is usually undertaken first because physical difficulties are frequently associated with this condition.
Methods that combine medical and behavioral techniques are the most widely used and most effective for treating encopresis. In addition to the other parts of treatment, doctors can use biofeedback to help children recognize when their bowels are full.
They can also use high-fiber foods, mineral oils, and laxatives, as well as lubricants, to help children reduce constipation and enhance regular bowel function. Family counseling can also be beneficial.
Certain children have communication disorders, which are marked by serious difficulties in understanding or speaking a language.
A mental health expert may be asked to assess whether a child’s trouble understanding language or speaking to himself or herself is out of the ordinary, and, if so, what condition other than one of the communication disorders could be the root of the problem.
For example, a youngster may refuse to talk or appear unable to understand the other or they may be “scared and mute” due to their nervousness. In other situations, children may have trouble speaking clearly as a result of childhood-onset schizophrenia, a widespread psychological disorder, or another disorder.
Feeding and Eating Disorders
Eating and feeding disorders are characterized by difficulty eating or feeding when it comes to children whose diet consists totally or primarily of liquids such as milk or formula.
Disorders that fall under this category include anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, as well as eating disorders that emerge in children who do not eat enough or have other difficulties that drive children to demonstrate abnormal eating behaviors.
It is impossible to tell if there are eating disorders or a problem with eating if the problem with eating is caused by a medical or psychological problem.
Health professionals can establish whether eating or feeding problems are caused by another mental condition, such as anxiety, sadness, or oppositional defiant disorder, or by something else entirely. Health experts can help both the child and the family with eating disorders.
A tic is an uncontrollable movement or vocalization that occurs repeatedly. Many people develop tics, such as an episodic but persistent eye blink or shoulder shrug, or a repetitive “hmmm” of throat clearing or grunting sound.
Tics are rather common in kids, but when the tic (motor or vocal) is persistent and occurs multiple times a day on most days, a tic condition may be diagnosed. Tic disorders affect up to 12% of children aged 6 to 15 years old at some point during their life.
Tic disorders are usually diagnosed and treated by a neurologist. Parents may bring their children to a mental health professional because they are concerned that the symptoms suggest an underlying pattern of oppositional conduct or that they are a sign of anxiety.
It might be difficult to tell the difference between a tic and a stereotyped behavior that occurs as part of a pervasive developmental problem. Stereotypies, on the other hand, appear to be deliberate and rhythmic, and they appear to calm the person who is engaging in the action. Tic behaviors, on the other hand, tend to occur in groups, and while they may appear to be voluntary at times, they are usually involuntary.
Tics can be difficult to distinguish from compulsions, especially when obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is present. OCD, on the other hand, is usually more comprehensive and normal-looking than a tic.
Furthermore, they are frequently linked to similar obsessions. It’s important to separate vocal tics from psychotically disordered speech, which is frequently connected with schizophrenia.