Children can have many of the same mental health disorders that affect adults, such as:
Anxiety and other stress disorders Overview of Anxiety Disorders in Children Anxiety is being worried, scared, or nervous. Some anxiety is common and normal at all ages. For example, many young children are afraid of the dark. Older children are often anxious when they... read more , including posttraumatic stress disorder Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is when memories of a highly upsetting event keep coming back, over and over, to invade your thoughts. This lasts for more than a month and can go on for... read more (PTSD)
Other mental health disorders affect mainly children and teens:
Mental health disorders such as schizophrenia Schizophrenia Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness in which a person loses contact with reality (psychosis). A person with schizophrenia may have hallucinations (see or hear things that aren’t real)... read more and bipolar disorder Bipolar Disorder Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that has periods of depression and periods of mania. Depression is feeling so sad you can’t do daily activities or don’t want to do things you used to enjoy... read more rarely affect children, although they sometimes start during adolescence.
All mental health disorders make it hard for your child to have relationships with others, learn in school, and enjoy daily life. Mental health disorders cause your child to suffer.
What causes mental health disorders in children?
Some mental health disorders are caused by abnormal brain development or abnormal brain chemistry. Sometimes these abnormalities are inherited. But doctors aren't sure what causes most mental health disorders.
What are the symptoms of mental health disorders in children?
Symptoms of common mental health disorders in children are often similar to the feelings every child has, such as sadness, fear, worry, anger, excitement, withdrawal, and loneliness. However, children with a mental health disorder have feelings so intense that the feelings:
Interfere with their daily life
Cause them to suffer
How do doctors tell if my child has a mental health disorder?
To tell if your child has a mental health disorder, doctors will usually:
Ask you and your child's teachers about your child’s behaviors and any physical symptoms
Talk with your child and watch how he or she acts
Sometimes, do blood tests to see if a physical health problem is causing your child's symptoms
To make the diagnosis, doctors may need to send your child to a therapist who specializes in mental health disorders.
How do doctors treat mental health disorders in children?
Treatment depends on what type of mental health disorder your child has and your child's age. Doctors treat mental health disorders with: