Top 5 Common Mental Illnesses In Children



 Mental illnesses are not easily observed in children. Amidst the modernized gadgets in the world, there are still no high-tech devices or ultrasounds that can detect if mental illness is positively looming on an unborn child’s mentality.


Parents sometimes overlook the mental well-being of their children. Mental disorders can hit anyone and children are no exception. Scientists are still working on finding the exact cause for early prevention of these disorders, an example is that of autism.


But even then, parents should at least be knowledgeable of these mental illnesses to cope with their child’s specific needs and treatment. This article enumerates the top five mental disorders that children are commonly diagnosed with.


Anxiety Disorders

Perhaps, you have witnessed your child throwing tantrums and finding comfort from you every time you ask him or her to socialize (or even go to school). It may be an indication of an underlying anxiety disorder. “It’s the classic dynamic of anxiety: When we avoid the things we’re afraid of, our symptoms tend to increase, and in turn this drives the anxiety up and makes the thing we’re afraid of scarier.” explains Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist.


Anxiety disorders comprise a range of illnesses such as phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder and the generalized anxiety disorder. Typical symptoms are fearfulness and getting nervous a lot about the future.


Doctors usually prescribe antidepressant pills. They will also suggest a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as it is deemed the most effective treatment for anxiety disorders to date. “A common form of therapy for anxiety disorders is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which helps individuals identify their triggers to anxiety and the connected thought patterns all for the purpose of creating new ways to think and respond in anxiety-inducing situations.” Karin Draper, LMFT said.



This illness is characterized by unusual behavior and strange feelings accompanied by strange thoughts. A common symptom in usually-energetic children is their unusual withdrawn behavior and sudden shyness from other people even their peers. Other symptoms include severe fearfulness, hallucinations, and mood swings.


Researchers believe that environmental factors and genetics contribute to this disorder. Doctors may prescribe antipsychotic drugs to manage hallucinations. They may also suggest treatment programs and hospitalization for your child.


Disruptive Behavior Disorders

Symptoms of this disorder include antisocial behavior such as theft and lying. Having sudden anger issues, defying of authority, putting the blameon others and showing a lot of temper tantrums can also tell if your child is developing this disorder.



Treatment for this illness may be done at home or at school. Parent training and family therapy are some ways to cure disruptive behavior under home intervention. On the other hand, tutoring and classroom management comprise the ways a school can help in treatment.


Bipolar Disorder

“Bipolar disorder is probably the main psychiatric disorder where medication is absolutely essential.” explains John Preston, PsyD. This disorder is characterized by the sudden shifting of mood and energy that affects the daily activities of a child. Others may call these extreme mood swings and is characterized by hyperactivity, extreme sadness, and irritability that may all occur at any time of the day. This behavior can affect a child’s socializing skills.


Causes of bipolar in children range from genetic factors (if a first-degree relative has a history of bipolar) and extreme stress (that can be brought about by a loved one’s death or a traumatic/stressful event). Aside from mood-stabilizing and antipsychotic drugs, psychotherapy helps in treating bipolar disorder.


Eating Disorder

This type of disorder is not exclusive to adolescents and adults only. Children are also at risk of having this illness. Whether they are eating very small or very large amount of food compared to the acceptable level, this should not be disregarded by parents.


Doctors suspect that social and biological factors may affect the likelihood of having this disorder. Furthermore, they add that depression, low self-esteem, and fear of being overweight may contribute to this illness. Counseling such as individual, group, or family therapy will help in curing this disorder.



Early detection of this illnesses even through simple observation can help prevent serious complications. Never take even the slightest hint of a symptom. However, don’t lose hope if your child is diagnosed with a mental ailment as there are a range of treatments available nowadays. After all, clear communication between the parents and doctors will aid in your child’s healing.