The fast-paced, social media driven, instant gratification world most people exist in has precipitated a more stressful existence than in generations past. Unfortunately, this is particularly true in the case of young people. Often, trying to cope with today’s world manifests in mental health issues.

Mental health disorders in children seem to be on the rise. Centered Health, a Malibu-California-based inpatient treatment facility designed specifically for teenagers struggling with mental health disorders, behavioral health issues and/or drug addiction invites the parents and/or loved ones of young people to read the following short piece that addresses this disturbing trend, discusses specific mental health problems young people may be susceptible to encountering, the symptoms these disorders often precipitate, causes and possible treatment options.

How Bad Has The Situation Become?

According to recent information gathered by the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), the numbers are alarming, if not downright frightening. American physicians surmise that up to 300,000 young people suffer from depression. The CDC also found that one out of every five kids between the ages of three and 17 are currently stricken with some diagnosable disorder, be it mental, behavioral or emotional. Unfortunately, however, only 20 percent of such individuals receive either a proper diagnosis and/or are placed in a specific treatment protocol.

Types Of Mental Disorders In Children

Children may develop the same mental health issues common to adults. These include:

  • Mood disorders (depression and bi-polar disorder).
  • Anxiety issues (social phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or obsessive-compulsive disorder).
  • Schizophrenia.
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
  • Eating Disorders (anorexia, bulimia).

Symptoms Of Mental Disorders In Children

The manifestations of mental health issues in children can be akin to those witnessed in adults. That said, many children display different symptoms that might be misunderstood or dismissed as petulant and/or poor behavior. Mental health experts and those in the medical community warn against making such a critical mistake. These professionals urge parents and/or loved ones of children to be extra vigilant in looking out for potential mental health issues and should discuss any concerns and/or changes in behavior with other adults in their child’s life (doctor, teacher) immediately. The longer a child is stricken with a mental health problem prior to diagnosis, the more difficult it will be to properly treat the affliction.

The specific symptoms a child experiences will be contingent upon the exact disorder he or she suffers from. However, there are several general, red flag manifestations adults should pay close attention to. These include:

  • Alterations in sleeping patterns.
  • Appetite changes.
  • Unexplained mood changes.
  • Destructive behavior, such as stealing or committing property damage.
  • An increased amount of school absences.
  • Withdrawal from friends and/or activities they used to enjoy.
  • Use of alcohol and/or drugs (in teenagers).
  • Suicidal ideations.

Triggers of Mental Health Disorders In Children

In most instances, mental health issues in young people are not attributable to one specific cause. Sometimes, as is often the case with adults, mental conditions may be precipitated by chemical imbalances within the brain. That said, in many cases, a combination of psychological and environmental triggers are to blame, such as difficulty coping with and/or accepting bodily changes, a change in social status and/or interactions, stress, abuse and/or experiencing a traumatic event.

How Can Childhood Mental Health Issues be Treated?

Specific treatment protocols often depend on the type of disorder, as well as the affliction’s severity. In cases where the illness is attributable to chemical imbalances and/or for conditions known to respond well to drugs, medications might be indicated. However, when medications are not considered a viable therapeutic option, psychotherapy may be. Psychotherapy offers impacted young people the opportunity to act out their feelings in a comfortable, safe, constructive environment where mental health professionals can often eventually pinpoint the root cause of a given disorder. Popular forms of psychotherapy include play therapy, art therapy and animal-assisted therapy. In instances where conditions are more severe and/or threaten a child’s safety, intensive treatment at an inpatient facility might be necessary.

Mental health issues are becoming an ever-growing concern amongst children. The key to helping a young person overcome such a condition is early detection, diagnosis and treatment. Parents of a young person stricken with a mental disorder and/or for those worried their child or relation might have one are encouraged to contact Centered Health.