Mental health issues do not choose their victims. Susceptibility to it is the same for any gender, age, and social status. However, problems still arise today when it comes to detection, diagnosis, and treatment due to cultural stigma and lack of awareness.
With some mental problems lacking any physical symptoms, it can be difficult to arrange for early mental analysis. This becomes even more challenging with children suffering from mental health issues due to the inability to properly communicate what they’re going through.
As an adult, it is your responsibility to pay close attention to the sudden changes in your child’s behaviour and listen to them. By actively communicating, you can better uncover any problems exacerbating their mental health. So, what symptoms of mental health problems should you be mindful of?
The 8 Signs
Reactions to trauma and mental health issues vary greatly from one person to another. However, there are general behavioural changes that can serve as symptoms of underlying illnesses. And, according to the best clinic in trauma therapy from Los Angeles to Canada, here is a list of sudden personality shifts that you can look out for and consider for diagnosis:
- Sudden Shift in Temperament and Interests
Dramatic shifts in a child’s interest, without any context, can be a troubling situation. With impressionable minds, their likes and dislikes can be easily influenced by famous music and literature. However, if such behaviour is caused by neither factor, then it could be a coping mechanism to recent trauma.
A sudden proclivity for morbid topics, dark imagery, death, and the exhibition of risky behaviours like stealing and lying could be ways to preoccupy their minds while the undealt psychic shock continues to fester.
- Deterioration of Hygiene
Maintaining cleanliness among children and teens is a crucial part of their development. Not only will it teach them to be more responsible but it promotes healthy living as well. The intensity of cleaning habits will vary from one child to another.
However, when this suddenly decreases or increases, then it may be a cause for alarm. Disinterest in keeping oneself clean could be a sign of loss of motivation and drive. While a surge of cleaning activity may be a symptom of OCD.
- Disinterest in Usual Hobbies
Having a hobby or favoured recreational activity is vital to your child’s learning and relaxation process. By immersing themselves in these activities, they get to expand their imaginations and explore their creativity.
However, when they lose this passion in such an abrupt nature, then this could be a sign of distress. This disinterest may be caused by many factors varying from bullying, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
- Heightened Irritation Reaction
With the lack of environmental control, children and teens often manifest their frustrations through irritation and agitated responses. Extreme cases of irritability can lead to temper tantrums, rage, aggression, and physical violence.
These episodes could be triggered by different or minor things, so you have to be extra vigilant when determining it. These intense emotions could be symptoms of autism, dyslexia, learning disorders, and ADHD.
- Over Attachment
Being clingy is a natural behaviour of dependent children. As an adult, since you provide them with their food, home, and basic needs, this attachment is warranted.
However, as they grow older, this becomes less prevalent, which is why over-attachment in older children could be a sign of separation anxiety and abandonment issues. This is caused by the fear of strangers and lack of self-esteem. If left unchecked this could lead to childish and irresponsible behaviour.
- Frequent Isolation
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Introverted and extroverted children can have different ways of communicating with their friends. Some may prefer going to social events while others prefer to chat online, but the important thing is that they socialize.
If your children suddenly spend more time in their room, more than usual, and have cut off contact with their friends, then it’s probably a cause for alarm. Too much time in isolation at such a formative age may trigger depression, anxiety, and mood swings.
- Major Sleep Pattern Shifts
Sleep is a vital component in childhood and teen development. It helps them process their thoughts, repair their cells, and help them grow. However, too much, or too little of it, may lead to harmful effects on their brains and body.
Children with mental health issues may often experience this sudden change in sleeping patterns, as some of them use sleep as a way to escape their current anxieties.
While others experience the exact opposite and have a hard time falling asleep as they are continuously bombarded by stressful thoughts. Nevertheless, whatever the case, this change in sleep patterns could negatively affect their cognitive skills and general mental health.
- Increased Fear of the Unknown
Resilience and resourcefulness are important qualities to develop in a child. By giving them more responsibility as they grow older, they’ll have a better time managing their independence.
With that said, these values cannot be honed without the encounter of unpredictable problems and unknown factors. A child who has a difficult time dealing with these challenges may have unresolved personal issues that make them hesitant to face new problems.
Children who have this increased fear of the unknown tend to be constantly picturing out the worst outcomes that could happen and searching for answers on the web. This might seem like a normal thing, but being obsessive on such matters could be a sign of anxiety and OCD.
Finding a Good Therapist
Pinpointing the symptoms of underlying mental health issues is one thing, but taking active action towards healing is another. The first step that you’ll have to do is find the best services on children counselling in Windsor, Toronto, or Vancouver.
From there, you can then start the psychotherapy and recovery process that will help your child deal with their trauma and problems. Certain conditions will require specialized care. Here is a list of the types of therapists that you can reach out to:
- Child Psychologist
- Guidance Counsellors
- Clinical Social Workers
- Clinical Mental Health Therapist
Whichever expert you choose, a good therapist service should offer:
- Insurance coverage and cost affordability
- Easy communication and contact convenience
- License and proper credentials
It’s pretty hard to ignore the fact that mental health issues are still stigmatized in society today. With the lack of awareness and empathy, children who may be undergoing therapy might feel unwelcome and bullied by their peers.
As their parents, you should let them know that it is not shameful and is perfectly normal to ask for help. Mental health issues should not be something that is swept under the rug. Rather, it should be treated like any physical illness – with care and compassion.