Mental Health in Children
According to current estimates almost 20% of children living in the United States will at some point be diagnosed with some form of mental illness. 5 million children have a mental illness that prevents them from being able to participate in daily activities.
Childhood mental health issues can be harder to diagnose than those in adults. It is very common for children to begin displaying emotions are mental illness while growing especially as they go through puberty. Normal development during adolescence can be a trying time for any child, so it can be even harder for a child who is trying to cope with mental illness while also trying to learn to navigate the world around them. In order to diagnose a mental disorder, the child’s actions at home, at school, with family members, and friends all must be considered.
There are several mental illnesses that are more likely to be diagnosed in children. One of the most common mental illnesses diagnosed in children are anxiety disorders. Children show can show visual signs of distress when put into situations that make them nervous. Another common and sometimes overly diagnosed illness is Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Children suffering from this disorder struggle staying focused, especially at school, and may have a hard time not moving around. Disruptive behavior disorders are also common. Again these tend to present more in school because students are required to follow rules and work within defined structures of behavior and expectations. Eating disorders can also become a problem during childhood. Peer pressure, identity, and weight issues can all contribute to eating disorders. Finally, Schizophrenia is a common childhood illness and causes children to have distorted views of reality.