Mental illness can happen to anyone, from adults to young children and adolescents. If you have kids, you know that sometimes you might be “too close” to a situation to see it for what it is.
So, how would you know whether your child is just dealing with normal childhood emotions, or whether they are actually suffering from a mental illness? Let’s talk about some of the signs you shouldn’t ignore, and where you can go in the Greater Tampa/St. Pete area to see an outstanding pediatrician who will make your child feel welcomed and comfortable while receiving an evaluation and possible treatment.
Signs of Mental Illness to Pay Attention To
You know your child and how they normally act. Medical professionals often refer to this as a “baseline.”
If you notice sudden negative changes in your child’s behavior, these changes may indicate a mental illness. These behaviors can include the following:
- Excessive fear or crying over minor issues, or for no reason
- Extreme difficulty and sadness when separating from a parent, such as when walking into school every day
- Frequent temper tantrums, difficulty controlling anger, and having outbursts
- Behavioral problems, displaying excessive aggression at school or during play, and deliberate destructiveness
- Extreme disobedience
- Hyperactivity and difficulty sleeping
- Constant nightmares and bedwetting
- Issues with making and maintaining friends, and loss of interest in spending time with friends
- Social withdrawal
- Doing poorly in school, and a sudden drop in grades and performance
- Excessive preoccupation with appearance and body-image issues
- Overeating or undereating, and sudden weight loss or weight gain
- Taking up habits such as smoking, drinking, or substance abuse
- Persistent feelings of sadness or anxiety
- Loss of interest in favorite activities
- Attempting self-harm, and engaging in dangerous activities
- Withdrawal from family
Having one or more of these symptoms could indicate a mental illness. However, they can also indicate an underlying physical health issue, so be sure to bring your child to an experienced pediatrician for a knowledgeable evaluation and possible treatments that will help your child get back on track.
What to Do if Your Child Has Signs of Mental Illness
With professional medical help, your child can get better. Since children are still growing and developing even into their 20s, a doctor who specializes in pediatric development issues can evaluate your child’s behavior, determine the underlying cause, and design a personalized treatment plan to help tackle the problem.
Developmental Pediatric Care in Lutz, Trinity, Palm Harbor, and Westchase, FL
The highly experienced and compassionate developmental pediatricians at Children’s Medical Center are here to diagnose and treat a wide range of behavioral and developmental issues, as well as learning problems. Of course, we also provide the full spectrum of children’s healthcare.
We regularly treat children who are having frequent temper tantrums and anger management issues, and also those who have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sleep disorders, and addiction. We will help you understand the cause of your child’s issues, and we will include discipline strategies in the treatment plan. We may recommend services and prescribe medication that will be therapeutic for your child.
Our developmental pediatricians will help you and your child through this challenging time. To schedule a consultation, call us today at (727) 787-6335 or contact our clinic nearest you. We have children’s medical clinics located in Palm Harbor, Trinity, Westchase, and Lutz, and we look forward to serving you!