All parents worry. Even though it might make your kids roll their eyes at you, we can’t help it. While it is important to give your kids space to grow, you still need to make sure that they are happy and healthy. Mental health problems in children have increased dramatically over the past few decades, affecting as many as 1 in 10. Whether this is because of better diagnosis techniques or there has been a genuine rise, it is still something to watch out for. The problem is, most parents don’t know what to look for. This article will show you some key behaviors to look for in your child if you are worried they might be struggling with their mental health.
Why is it so hard to tell?
You might think that you know your child better than anybody. If they were seriously ill, you would be able to tell, right? Unfortunately, that is not always the case. If you have never experienced mental health issues first hand, then you won’t be able to pick up on the tell-tale signs. It can also be easy to mistake these signs for normal child behavior. Let's face it, most teenagers are going to be grumpy and spend a lot of time sleeping, but many parents will see the symptoms of mental health problems in the same way.
What could be going wrong?
Children can be affected by the same mental health problems as adults, although they might express it in different ways. There are a number of reasons why a child might develop mental health problems. It could be due to stress, or they may not be getting enough attention from parents.
Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health problems affecting children. They are put under a lot of pressure at school, and rising stress levels can lead to anxiety problems. Teenagers, in particular, are affected by anxiety because, as they come to the end of their education, they are expected to make big decisions about college and work. A lot of us adults haven’t quite got it all worked out yet so asking a teenager to plan the rest of their life can be very stressful for them. You can find more information on anxiety disorders at, http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20646990,00.html
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a more well known mental health issue that tends to be diagnosed when children are younger. However, it’s symptoms can be passed off as general bad behavior, so it can be easily missed. It is normal for young children to be naughty from time to time, but if this behavior persists, your child may have ADHD.
Bipolar Disorder, often called Manic Depression, is one of the most extreme mental health issues that definitely requires treatment. It can cause periods of extreme depression, followed by intense mania and happiness. Because the waves of depression will pass, parents may think their kids are just having a bit of an off week, but if it becomes a regular occurrence, you need to think about having your child assessed. For more information on Bipolar disorder, visit http://www.bipolar-lives.com/am-i-bipolar.html
What should I look out for?
If you are worried that your child might have a mental health issue, here are a few key things to look out for:
Mood Changes - Feelings of sadness or anger that persist for longer periods.
Behaviour Changes - This could be anything, but if you notice that your child is acting differently in a major way, it might be a symptom of a wider problem.
Unexplained Weight Loss - If your child is dropping a lot of weight in a short amount of time, it could mean that they have an eating disorder or that they have stopped eating due to depression or anxiety.
If you see any of these symptoms in your child, or if you just have a feeling, go and get them checked immediately.