Different Issues for Children
by RI Editors
This research essay is part of our Peculiar Minds series.
Identifying mental disorders in children can be tricky for health care providers. Children differ from adults in that they experience many physical, mental, and emotional changes as they progress through their natural growth and development. They also are in the process of learning how to cope with, adapt, and relate to others and the world around them.
Furthermore, each child matures at his or her own pace, and what is considered normal in children falls within a wide range of behavior and abilities. For these reasons, any diagnosis of a mental disorder must consider how well a child functions at home, within the family, at school, and with peers, as well as the child’s age and symptoms.
Which Mental Health Conditions Are Most Common in Children?
There are several different types of mental disorders that can affect children and adolescents, including:
- Anxiety disorders: Children with anxiety disorders respond to certain things or situations with fear and dread, as well as with physical signs of anxiety (nervousness), such as a rapid heartbeat and sweating.
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Children with ADHD generally have problems paying attention or concentrating, can’t seem to follow directions, and are easily bored and/or frustrated with tasks. They also tend to move constantly and are impulsive (do not think before they act).
- Disruptive behavior disorders: Children with these disorders tend to defy rules and often are disruptive in structured environments, such as school.
- Pervasive development disorders: Children with these disorders are confused in their thinking and generally have problems understanding the world around them.
- Eating disorders: Eating disorders involve intense emotions and attitudes, as well as unusual behaviors associated with weight and/or food.
- Elimination disorders: Disorders that affect behavior related to using the bathroom. Enuresis, or bed-wetting, is the most common of the elimination disorders.
- Learning and communication disorders: Children with these disorders have problems storing and processing information, as well as relating their thoughts and ideas.
- Affective (mood) disorders: These disorders involve persistent feelings of sadness and/or rapidly changing moods, and include depression and bipolar disorder.
- Schizophrenia: This disorder involves distorted perceptions and thoughts.
- Tic disorders: These disorders cause a person to perform repeated, sudden, involuntary (not done on purpose), and often meaningless movements and sounds, called tics.
Some of these disorders, such as anxiety disorders, eating disorders, mood disorders and schizophrenia, can occur in adults as well as children. Others begin in childhood only, although they can continue into adulthood. It is not unusual for a child to have more than one disorder, or for one to gradually morph into a different disorder in adulthood.
Editor’s Note: Involved parents are the best determinants for whether the behavior a child is exhibiting or the difficulties that child is experiencing are normal for him or her. As noted, many behaviors are related to a child’s individual development curve and are not indicative of disorder. If a disorder is present, most parents will feel a sense that their child needs additional help. Seeking competent second opinions is a good course of action.
The Entire Series
- Forum – Is Mental Illness a Latter Day Plague?
- Resources (research)
- Resources for Help with Mental Illness by Paul
- Understanding PTSD by Robin Grosland
- Anxiety Disorders, Including PTSD (research)
- The Diagnosis by anonymous
- Understanding Asperger’s by Kathy Ward
- Understanding Dementia by Cassandra Jones
- Different Issues for Children (research)
- Asperger’s and Autism (research)
- Simply Depression by Jendoop
- How to Help Someone Who is Depressed: an LDS perspective by Sarah Hancock
- Forum – Does Committing Suicide Consign Someone to Hell?
- The Well of Depression by Cheryl
- Panic, OCD, Grandma and Me by NotMolly
- Understanding Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, and OCD by Robison Wells
- Free at Last by anonymous
- Forum – No One Wants to Hear They’re Wrong
- Understanding P0rnography Addiction by Dr. Kevin Skinner
- What is Real? Living Without Diagnosis by anonymous
- A Reader’s Story of Hope by anonymous
- Understanding Bipolar II Disorder by Tresa Edmunds (Reese Dixon)
- What is Bipolar Disorder? (research)
- Choosing Treatment through Revelation by Bonnie
- Overcoming Anxiety and Depression Without Medication by Aaron Anderson
- How Do We Embrace Those with Mental Illness by Jendoop
- What is Schizophrenia? (research)
- Understanding Schizophrenia by Judy Hall
- Understanding a Roommate with Schizophrenia by anonymous
- Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder by Melissa Horsley
- My Path Down the Rabbit Hole by anonymous
- Mental Illness FHE Lesson by Jendoop
- Healing by Michelle