According to Canopy Children’s Solutions, about 14.5 million children suffer from symptoms of mental illness. Only 20 percent of those children get the help they need. Here are some warning signs that your child may be suffering from mental illness.
With younger children and teens it may be hard to tell the difference between what is and is not normal. Frequent tantrums and feelings of intense sadness or anger may be a sign that your child has a bigger problem. If you feel like your child is experiencing feelings beyond what is normal, it may be best to seek help.
This is a symptom you may find in older children. If you notice your child seems to be regressing back to toddler fits, bedwetting or becoming clingy you should certainly take note of this. It may be a concern for mental illness.
Nightmares and Sleepwalking
Around 3 percent of children may suffer from night terrors. A night terror is when a child wakes up abruptly and may either scream or be wide eyed and frozen. About 10 percent of children suffer from nightmares, and 1 percent suffer from sleepwalking. Studies of EEG data suggest that sleepwalking occurs during the deepest part of sleep, also known as REM.
Risky behavior can be defined as a child who basically has no fear or acts impulsively. A child who runs out in traffic, uses drugs, fights, or climbs too high are all examples of risky behavior.
A child who seems overly active beyond what is normal is defined as hyperactive. An inability to calm and extremely overactive behavior may be signs of mental disorder. While it may be hard to discern hyperactivity in toddlers, your child’s teachers may be able to help pinpoint this symptom, if they are school aged, by comparing them to other children of the same age.
Feelings of intense sadness or fear that seem to come out of nowhere may be a sign of anxiety issues. Anxiety may also physically affect a child, giving them stomach aches or headaches. Anxiety may be a symptom of several different disorders.
If your child has expressed thoughts of suicide, you should take them seriously. Just because your child has suicidal thoughts, however, does not necessarily mean that they will act upon it. Suicidal thoughts are a red flag that something is wrong and may be a sign of a mental disorder.
Delusions might come in many forms. Your child may think their mind is being controlled by demons. Your child might be hearing voices or speaking to people that are not there. Delusions are a serious symptom of mental illness. If you think your child might be suffering, seek immediate help.
This article is meant to be informative and not to diagnose. If your child is experiencing symptoms like the ones listed above, consult a doctor or a child psychiatrist. Don’t let stigma stand in your way of getting your child the help they may need.
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