ATLANTA, GA. -- According to statistics, mental illness crosses all social-economic boundaries and age does not play a factor at the onset of the disease. Parents are looking for answers so that they may help their children. What symptoms should they look for?
More information on Mental Health Organizations.
Research from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, (NAID) indicates that the early signs of mental illness include changes in mood and behavior. There could also be a drop in school performance. Parents can witness persistent aggressive behavior in their child. If someone issues threats to others or on themselves, that can be an indicator.
Mood swings, hallucinations, paranoia and delusions or acting very withdrawn, sad or overly anxious can all be signs of mental illness. Sleeping and eating habits may be evident as well as having difficulty interaction with friends or siblings.
In children, common mental health conditions can include anxiety disorders (e.g., OCD, panic disorder, PTSD). Mood disorders like depression, bipolar, substance abuse disorders and eating disorders all fall within the range of needing diagnosis and treatment. In addition, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHA) and Autism Spectrum disorders is also prevalent among our children.
While there is no cure for mental illness it is treatable with medication, counseling, family, school and community support systems.
NAID suggests that if you suspect a mental health problem with your child, the first thing to do is talk to your pediatrician. Next, meet with the school team, counselor, teacher and principal to discuss the issues your child is having and formulate a plan of action should problems arise.
Finally, connect with other families and learn together how to cope and support each other. NAID indicated that the key to dealing with it is consistent monitoring of the diagnosis to assure that the plan of action for treatment is carried out.