Just like adults, many kids and teenagers struggle with mental illness. In fact, according to the CDC, 20 percent of children and teens struggle with a mental illness. If you think your child or teenager is struggling with a mental illness, our Boca Raton psychiatrist is here to help.
When a Boca Raton Psychiatrist Can Help
But how can you tell if your child has a mental illness? Many parents fail to recognize the signs of mental illness in their children, because they don’t know what mental illness symptoms look like. It can also be difficult to differentiate between mental illness symptoms and normal childhood behavior or misbehavior. That’s why our Boca Raton psychiatrist has put together this helpful list of mental illness symptoms in teens and children. If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, seek professional help as soon as possible.
1) Changes in Mood or Mood Swings
Mood swings or changes in mood may be a sign that your child needs to see a psychologist, but it can be hard to tell, especially in teens. If your child seems excessively sad or elated and hyperactive for an extended period of time, or develops mood swings or mood changes that are out of character for him or her, it could be a sign that your child needs mental health treatment.
Just like adults, children and teens react emotionally to events that occur in their life. If mood problems persist or if they cause problems in the family or at school, your child needs help.
2) Intense Worry or Fear
You might not think children have a lot to be anxious about, but mental illnesses aren’t logical – that’s why they’re called mental illnesses. Children can develop anxiety disorders including PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and social phobias. Young children may express fear and worry as a refusal to perform activities normal for children, such as going to school, going to sleep or attending a birthday party. If your child seems excessively worried or anxious, especially if he or she demonstrates physical symptoms of fear like a rapid heart rate, fast breathing or sweaty palms, for no reason, bring him or her to see our Boca Raton psychiatrist.
3) Disordered Eating Behaviors
Children as young as eight years old can develop eating disorders. These disorders are about feeling out of control of one’s environment or life, and not really about weight or appearance. If left untreated, however, eating disorders can kill; they are the deadliest of all mental illnesses.
If your child seems excessively picky about what he or she eats, hides food or pretends to eat, loses an excessive amount of weight, refuses to eat in front of others or expresses concerns about being fat, he or she might have an eating disorder. However, binge eating disorder is the most common, and it does not cause excessive weight loss; it can cause rapid weight gain as sufferers consume more than 10,000 calories in one sitting. If you think your child might have an eating disorder, our Boca Raton psychiatrist can evaluate his or her condition and recommend a treatment plan. Eating disorder treatment for young children is often very successful, since parents can take complete control of the child’s diet.
4) Other Behavioral Changes
Children suffering from mental illness may begin acting out, they may struggle academically or they may lose friends. A child or teen who is struggling with mental illness may suddenly seem to become a different person. He or she may begin eating or sleeping much more or much less and may let his or her personal hygiene go. A child struggling with mental illness may begin engaging in self-destructive or self-harming behaviors, including self-mutilation, taking drugs or talking about or attempting suicide. If your child or teen is no longer acting like the person you know him or her to be, seek the help of our Boca Raton psychiatrist.
5) Unexplained Physical Symptoms
Mental illnesses can cause unexplained physical symptoms including stomachaches, headaches, body pain, and decreased or increased energy levels. If your child is complaining of physical symptoms for which no physical cause can be found, it could be time to call our Boca Raton psychiatrist for help.
If you think your child or teenager is suffering from mental illness symptoms, call our Boca Raton psychiatrist today at 561-338-7725.