According to a 2000 study conducted by WHO 20% of adolescents and children suffer from a mental illness. An India research study by 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 show the cases that are documented but there are many more cases wherein psychiatric illness is not detected or is detected when the individual turn into an adult.
A child psychologist & psychiatrist are mental health professionals specialized in treatment of mental illnesses among children. They play an important role in assessing, diagnosing and treating children with mental difficulties. The general public often tend to ignore consulting a psychiatrist when it comes to helping their children develop efficiently and only approach them when the conditions are sever and 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:
- Anxiety disorders- These disorders characterizes of 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 among familiar situations.
- Mood disorders- Two common mood disorders seen among children are depression and bipolar. 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.
- Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) - Autism is a serious developmental disorder that occur in early childhood. Here the child lacks social skills and tend to have repetitive behaviour. This group of disorders range from mild where the child can communicate but often fails to severe where the child is unable to make an eye contact.
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – This disorder characterizes of the child being hyperactive, impulsive and difficulty in paying attention. Children with this disorder appear to be too energetic and have difficulty in focusing on one task for a longer time. This often results in poor academic performance.
- Eating disorders- These are group of disorders wherein the child has abnormal feeding habit. Two of the most common are anorexia nervosa, wherein the child starves themselves or eat very less quantity and bulimia nervosa, wherein the child at first eats and then forces themselves to vomit the food out. These disorders canbe life threatening as it directly affects the child’s health. If is found that in these disorders the child tend to have a very low self esteem.
- Conduct Disorder – Here the child exhibit extremely disruptive behaviour. the chil may end up threatening, bullying or even destructing property. These behaviour may result in poor academic performances, multiple complaints from the school and also poor interpersonal relationships.
Following are few signs that children suffering with mental illness usually exhibit and these have to be address at the earliest:
- Poor academic performance
- Sudden and extreme mood changes
- Frequent sudden emotional outbursts
- Difficulty in concentration
- Multiple complaints from school and peers
- Unexplained burses
- Sudden weight loss and change in appetite
- Being secretive about whereabouts
- Often prefer to stay in isolation
All the above indicates the need of 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 session along with study habits and various behaviour interventions that help the child cope with the symptoms, build effective interpersonal relation and have a positive growth. Child psychologist/ psychiatrist do not work in isolation, for a better treatment and development, they collaborate with parents and teacher and all of them work towards helping the child have an positive and effective development. For an appointment with a child psychologist & child psychiatrist, call us now on +919741476476.