Mental Illness in Children

Mental Illness in Kids

Table of Content

According to a 2000s study conducted by WHO, 20% of adolescents and children suffer from a mental illness. An Indian research study by the Indian council of medical research showed that almost 12% of children (between the ages of 4-16) suffer from mental illness. All these statistics are only showing the cases that are documented, but there are many more cases wherein psychiatric illness is not detected or is detected when the individual turns into an adult.

Without effective treatment, a majority of mental disorders can continue to later stages in life. This can cause tons of problems in different areas of adult life. People who live with untreated mental disorders are at greater risk of many other serious issues such as drug abuse, alcohol abuse, self-destructive behavior, and suicide. 

When mental health conditions are treated timely and effectively, children can recover completely or have good control over their symptoms. While some kids, due to severe or chronic disorder, become face disability as adults, many are able to live productive and healthy lives. 

Cadabam’s Hospital is a well-reckoned  psychiatric center in India that focuses on providing quality treatments for ailments related to psychiatric and neurology. With a team of experienced professionals, your child will get the most suitable treatment for mental illness. 

The healthcare institution is serving people for over three decades and helping them get better and live their lives to the fullest. The hospital offers a helpline number that is available for patients 24x7. Moreover, you can also reach out to the team via email at

Who Treats Mental Illnesses In Child?

A child psychologist & psychiatrist are mental health professionals specialized in the treatment of mental illnesses among children. They play an important role in assessing, diagnosing, and treating children with mental difficulties. The general public often tends to ignore consulting a psychiatrist when it comes to helping their children develop efficiently and only approaches them when the conditions are severe and get out of control.

To help prevent or to address child psychiatric illness, we first have to know about the common ones that are seen along with signs that indicate that a particular child needs help.

Common psychiatric illness:

  1. Anxiety disorders- These disorders are characterized by irrational fear and anxiety towards a particular situation or an object. Such as in social phobia, the child may show extreme nervousness when it comes to talking to a group or meeting new people, but they would be comfortable in familiar situations.
  2. Mood disorders- Two common mood disorders seen among children are depression and bipolar disorder. Here the child may have extremely low mood with exhaustion, low energy, and interest or may have extremely high energy and irritability or may have severe mood swings between the two.
  3. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) - Autism is a serious developmental disorder that occurs in early childhood. Here the child lacks social skills and tends to have repetitive behavior. This group of disorders range from mild, where the child can communicate but often fails, to severe, where the child is unable to make eye contact.
  4. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – This disorder characterizes the child as being hyperactive, impulsive, and difficult to pay attention to. Children with this disorder appear to be too energetic and have difficulty focusing on one task for a longer time. This often results in poor academic performance.
  5. Eating Disorders- These are a group of disorders wherein the child has an abnormal feeding habit. Two of the most common are anorexia nervosa, wherein the child starves themselves or eats very less quantity of food and bulimia nervosa, wherein the child at first eats and then forces themselves to vomit the food out. These disorders can be life-threatening as it directly affects the child’s health. It is found that in these disorders, the child tends to have very low self-esteem.
  6. Conduct Disorder – Here, the child exhibits extremely disruptive behavior. The child may end up threatening, bullying, or even destroying property. This behavior may result in poor academic performances, multiple complaints from the school, and also poor interpersonal relationships.
  7. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - It is a type of anxiety disorder where the child suffers from obsessive thoughts that are not necessary. The thoughts are associated with various fears. Common obsessions among people may include fear of germs, falling ill or dying, extreme fear of something bad happening, disturbing images or thoughts about hurting others, etc. 
  8. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - It is another form of mental illness in children that gets triggered by traumatizing events or experiences. Symptoms of this mental disorder may include nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, uncontrollable negative thoughts, etc. Although it is not that common in kids, PTSD can significantly impact their well-being.
  9. Childhood Schizophrenia - This severe mental illness in kids affects the way they deal with life’s reality. The children may have unusual feelings, thoughts, or behaviors. This mental illness in kids is also known as childhood-onset. 

What Are The Signs Of Mental Illness In Kids?

Following are few signs that children suffering from mental illness usually exhibit, and these have to be addressed at the earliest:

  1. Poor academic performance
  2. Sudden and extreme mood changes
  3. Frequent sudden emotional outbursts
  4. Difficulty in concentration
  5. Multiple complaints from school and peers
  6. Unexplained bruises
  7. Sudden weight loss and change in appetite
  8. Being secretive about whereabouts
  9. Often prefer to stay in isolation.

All the above points indicate the need for a child psychiatrist & a child psychologist. They first evaluate the child’s condition; they look into the child’s current condition by observing the child and also inquiring the parents and teachers. Once they make the diagnosis, they make a treatment program

This involves therapy sessions along with study habits and various behavioral interventions that help the child cope with the symptoms, build effective interpersonal relationships, and have positive growth. Child psychologists/psychiatrists do not work in isolation; for better treatment and development, they collaborate with parents and teachers, and all of them work towards helping the child have a positive and effective development.

How Is Mental Illness in Children Diagnosed?

Early signs of mental illness in children are used to diagnose the issue they are suffering from. But it can be challenging as many symptoms of mental illness like shyness, temper tantrums, unusual eating habits, etc., are common among children. Presently there are no lab tests to determine mental illness. Therefore, doctors will base their evaluation of physical exam and medical history, 

Treatment Options for Mental Illness In Kids

Following are the treatment options for mental illness in kids - 

  1. Psychotherapy – It targets the emotional response of patients’ to the illness and helps them cope with it better. 
  2. Medication – Drugs, antidepressants, stimulants, mood-stabilizing drugs, etc., are prescribed to treat mental disorders.
  3. Creative Therapies – It includes play therapy or art therapy to help kids communicate their feelings and thoughts. 

Why Cadabam’s Hospitals?

When you associate with a psychiatric hospital that is dedicated to treating various mental disorders, you can be rest assured of availing best treatment. There is an experienced team of counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians, etc., who works with you to provide the best care for your child. For an appointment with a child psychologist & child psychiatrist, call us now on +919741476476.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common types of mental disorders in children?

Common types of mental illnesses in children include – 

  1. Anxiety
  2. Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  3. Depression 
  4. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder 
  5. Conduct Disorder
  6. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

What are the common signs of mental illnesses?

Kids suffering from mental illnesses may show the following signs – 

  1. Long-lasting irritability or sadness 
  2. Excessive anxiety, worry, or paranoia 
  3. Extreme mood swings 
  4. Drastic changes in sleeping or eating pattern

How can parents help a child with a mental disorder?

The most important thing parents should do is properly educate themselves about the illness. Additionally, be patient with the child and provide the necessary support and loving environment for them to recover. 

Can drugs cure mental illness?

There is no definite cure for mental illness. Instead, drugs are prescribed to reduce the symptoms of illness. 

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