Mental Health Illness in Children: Know the Signs and Treatment Options

mental health

Discovering mental illness in children might be tricky and daunting because the situation of a child differs from that of an adult. These are serious problems that impact the ways children behave, learn, cause distress, change in handling emotions, etc.

Around 10-20% of children are found mentally disturbed across the world. It ruins their future and present activities, which necessitate immediate mental health illness, a cure.

This alarming issue needs quick attention. So to make it easier to fathom what factors can cause mental illness in children and how they can get it treated, we have compiled up all the required information. Go through each aspect and save childhood by early diagnosis and treatment!

How Does Mental Illness in Children Differ from that of Adults?

Children differ from old age and adults on many grounds such as emotional, mental, physical changes that they go through as a part of natural development. Besides being in the learning process they carry different abilities to adapt to or cope with others or any situation they have been in.

So, contemplating ‘Normality’ in actions and behavior surrounds by varied sorts of abilities & attitudes is not so easy. This makes it hard for a health care provider to gauge what actually going on as every child has its own pace towards maturity.

It makes child mental health to be different from adults. The doctor needs to diagnose their mental state by going through the functionality of the child at home, outside his comfort zone, with peers and all.

The situation is getting worst and if we talk about India then around 50 million children are suffering from these disorders. Mental health illness in India is alarming!

Child Mental Health Illness Symptoms

  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  •  The incapability of coping with daily activities
  • Drug abuse
  • Increase in time spending alone
  • Negative moods for a long time
  • Excessive anxiety or worrying
  • Complaining excessively about physical ailments
  • Intensive fear about gaining or losing weight
  • Hyperactivity
  • Persistent aggressive behavior
  • Seeing things or hearing voices which are not actually there
  • Losing interest in activities and friends
  • Skipping school, damaging property, stealing, etc.
  • Instant anger outburst

On noticing unusual activity, parents should take quick action and work on taking desired treatments. No test is there to diagnose the issue or exact problem, so doctors observe the child and share a word with parents & other relatives to gauge the real situation.

What Causes Mental Illness in Children?

A wide array of causes of mental illness affects the person deeply and makes things complicated for him! Here are the most common causes people might go through!

  • Environmental Stressors before Birth
  • While in the womb many inflammatory conditions, alcohol, toxins, or other environmental exposure might develop the risk of mental illness of child nurturing within. These situations can worsen the new life by triggering the kiddo from the core.
  • Hereditary Traits
  • If any person from blood relations is a victim of mental illness, then also chances multiply for increased risk of the same in others. Mental health illness genetic reasons are a much prevalent cause of children’s mental health issues.
  • Discrimination and Stigma

Another important cause is social stigma and discrimination. A child who constantly face repelling from the society, get emotionally and mentally disturbed. It’s another reason for mental illness.

Other common causes of mental illness!

  • Imbalanced brain chemistry leads to depression and mental disorders
  • Trauma, childhood abuse, and facing negligence
  • Long term stress, bullying, abusing and domestic violence
  • Victim of violent crimes or other significant trauma
  • Losing someone very closed or bereavement

Treatment of Mental Health Illness in Children!

Like all other disorders and issues, treatment of mental health illness in children is quintessential. Researchers are in the process of finding the best treatments to suit the varied conditions of children. Here are some of the most recommended options!


Medication for mental health illness is the best way in treating most mental disorders. It subsumes antidepressants, mood-stabilizing drugs, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety drugs. The medication depends on the actual state of mind and helps a ton in recovering from it. However, it’s not a permanent solution, it can only manage or control the symptoms.


The emotional response of a child towards mental illness is addressed by using psychotherapy. The trained professionals contact with children to deal with the symptoms, behaviors, thoughts, etc.

It is a kind of counseling. By contacting the child, experts try to gauge their issue of the reason what is creating the problem and try to resolve them. It includes:

  • Supportive Therapy
  • Interpersonal Therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral Therapy
  • Family Therapy

These therapies are quite useful and bring desired results when implemented with proper strategies. It helps the child in controlling his/her mood, managing thoughts, and have an improvement in daily functioning.

The therapist keeps on involving the child by helping him and showing empathy towards him. These therapies help kicking out depression among children and empower them by raising their hopes and self-confidence. The family members and other near & dears play an imperative role in managing their condition effectively and efficiently.

Creative Therapies

These therapies ignite interest in life and rejuvenate feelings & thoughts of the child suffering from mental disorders. It includes:

  • Play Therapy
  • Art Therapy

In these therapies, young children are provided with a structured and secure environment with art tools or toys & games. As a result of it, they start gaining insight into their feelings and thoughts and initiate communicating the two. After that, slowly the therapist comes at thoughts or issues troubling the child and tries to sync them and create a balance in the child’s life.

Do Risk Factors for Mental Health Illness in Childhood Exist?

Well, unfortunately, yes! But that risk is not higher than the risk of non-treatment. The child going through mental trauma or mental disorders need immediate attention and treatment.

However, this is equally true that different medicines carry different side effects too. Sometimes, the child is not able to even bear the effects of certain drugs, which makes the situation even worst. But these chances are quite rare as every doctor takes the case after proper diagnosis and thorough analysis of the exact situation of the child.

Around 80% of people get access to treatment. This means many are still beyond the approach of treatment, which is again an alarming issue!

The medications provided to treat mental health illness in children have got FDA approval. These are generally fruitful and safe to recommend. The risks with these medicines are minimum. The doctor can adjust dosages to bring the risk to the nadir.

Bottom Line!

The important aspect to contemplate is that without treatment these issues can worsen and ruin the entire life of the child. So ignoring can’t ever be a solution. Diagnosis and immediate treatment are essential.

Most of the children get fully recovered from the issue after getting early and appropriate treatment. Mental health illness in children is an outcome of varied factors that cannot be prevented. But by getting early & timely treatment the effects of these factors can be minimized for sure.

Related Posts