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Children And Mental Health: Impact Of Mental Illness On Children

CHILDREN AND MENTAL HEALTH IMPACT OF MENTAL ILLNESS ON CHILDREN

Child mental health refers to a child’s overall well-being and optimal growth in cognitive as well as emotional, social, and behavioral domains. In children, mental health problems are seen as difficulties in behavior, emotional, and psychological development as well as social relationships.

When mental health problems become severe and persistent such that they impair the normal functioning of the child, then they are called mental health disorders. In this article, we will focus on the impact of mental illness on children. 

What are the various mental health disorders in children?

1. Anxiety disorders

These are the persistent worries or fear in children that hamper their ability to participate in school, play or other age-appropriate situations.

2. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Compared to most children of the same age, there is more difficulty with attention, hyperactivity, impulsive behavior or a combination of these features in children with ADHD.

3. Autism spectrum disorder(ASD)

It is a neurological condition which usually appears before the age of 3 years. An ASD child has difficulty interacting and communicating with others.

4. Eating disorders

These include anorexia nervosa, binge eating, and bulimia nervosa. They are defined as disordered thinking about body weight and weight loss, fixed ideas about an ideal body shape, and unsafe dieting and eating habits. Eating disorders can cause serious physical complications as well as emotional and social dysfunction.

5. Depression and mood disorders

It refers to prolonged sadness and lack of interest that affects a child’s ability to interact with others or function at school. Bipolar disorder refers to extreme mood swings between behavioural and emotional highs, and extreme depression.

6. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Refers to prolonged anxiety, emotional distress, nightmares, distressing memories, and disruptive behavior in response to abuse, injury, violence, and other traumatic events.

7. Schizophrenia

It is a psychotic condition in which the person loses touch with reality due to altered thoughts and perceptions. It often appears in the late teens through the 20s and results in delusions, hallucinations, disordered behavior and thinking.

Also Read Care Your Child Safely With Homeopathy

 What is the impact of mental illness on children?

Mental illness affects the thoughts, emotion regulation and behavior of children. These mental illnesses have a severe impact on the children such as: –

  • They may have persistent sadness which may last for two weeks or longer.
  • They may avoid or withdraw from social situations and interactions.
  • They may hurt themselves or talk about hurting themselves.
  • They may blame themselves or say negative things.
  • Extreme irritability or outbursts.
  • Harmful, out-of-control behaviour.
  • Drastic changes in behavior, mood, and personality.
  • Change in eating habits.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Spending a lot of time daydreaming.
  • Weight loss.
  • Difficulty in sleeping.
  • Frequent stomach ache and headache.
  • The problem is concentration.
  • Changes in academic performance.
  • Missing and avoiding school.
  • Nervous habits such as thumb sucking, hair twisting, nail-biting, etc.
  • Recurring infections due to weakened immune response.

What are the various causes of mental illness?

In many people, there is a combination of factors that causes poor mental health. The factors that lead to poor mental health are: –

  • Abuse, neglect or trauma in childhood.
  • Loneliness or social isolation.
  • Experience of stigma and discrimination.
  • Poverty or social disadvantage.
  • Loss of someone close. 
  • Long-term or severe stress.
  • Having a prolonged physical health condition.
  • Poor housing or homelessness.
  • Alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Bullying or domestic violence.
  • Witnessing significant trauma such as being a victim of a violent crime, military combat, experiencing a serious accident where there is fear for life, etc.
  • Physical causes – Such as head trauma or neurological condition.

What are the steps to prevent mental health problems? 

  • Help the child develop strong relationships.
  • There should be a person who is always present in a child’s life whom they can turn to whenever in need. 
  • Help the child to solve troubles.
  • Show love and acceptance as much as possible.
  • Praise them for their efforts and not the results.
  • Help them have realistic goals.
  • Explore their interests and activities.
  • Encourage kids to talk about their feelings.
  • If they don’t feel comfortable talking to you help the child find someone to talk to.
  • Be aware of the media use of the child in terms of duration as well as the content.
  • Encourage outdoor play and physical activities.
  • Avoid discussing serious issues such as marital problems, finances or illnesses in front of children as they are sensitive. 
  • Be a role model by talking about your feelings and taking out time for things you like.
  • To improve a situation, discuss possible ideas or solutions but avoid taking over.
  • Teach the child to use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, going for a walk, etc when upset.

Also Read Why Homeopathic Medicines Are Beneficial For Children?

What is the role of homeopathy in treating mental health disorders?

Homeopathy provides safe and effective treatment of various psychological disorders including behavioral and emotional problems, especially in children. For treatment, the trained homeopathic physician elicits symptoms from the child’s mental and physical sphere and prescribes medicine for their overall well-being. 

Along with medications, therapies like psychotherapy, etc have a significant role in the treatment of various health disorders. Psychotherapy or talk therapy involves talking with a mental health professional or a psychologist. In children, psychotherapy involves playing with children and talking about their thoughts and feelings, how to deal with them and how to learn coping skills and new behavior.  

CONCLUSION

Only a child who is mentally and physically healthy can grow into a healthy adult. Therefore, it is important to promote steps for optimum mental health in the pediatric age group. Generating awareness regarding various mental disorders in children is essential.

Anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism and schizophrenia are common mental disorders among children. Common causes of mental disorders include abuse, neglect or trauma in childhood, loneliness or social isolation, the experience of stigma and discrimination, poverty, social disadvantage, and others.

Poor mental health has a severe impact on children which may manifest as persistent sadness, withdrawal from social interactions and situations, inflicting self-harm, self-blame, extreme irritability and outburst, trouble sleeping, changes in eating habits, daydreaming, avoiding school, poor concentration, drop in academic performance and physical symptoms such as weight loss, frequent headache and stomachache, recurrent infections, etc.

Certain steps that can help to boost the mental health in children include helping them develop strong relationships, showing them love and acceptance, helping them in problem-solving, encouraging them to talk about their feelings, helping them have realistic goals, exploring their interests, encouraging them to be physically active, teaching them how to manage their stress and emotions, etc.

For the treatment of mental disorders homeopathy along with the talk, therapy can play a significant role.

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