How We Can Help Our Children When They Are Struggling 

The reach of mental illness is vast, and it seems to keep growing. More people are coming forward about their struggles and experiences with mental health. While this may be alarming, we are also getting an idea of how people of different backgrounds are dealing with it. We are beginning to understand how long it has been a part of our world and how much work needs to be done for us to handle it properly. Mental health issues are a complicated part of our society and affect people from all walks of life. Mental illness is challenging to understand and manage with adults, so it becomes even more complicated when a child is suffering. 

The Difficulty in Diagnosing Children

In children, mental illnesses can be hard to identify. Some behavioral problems are a natural part of growing up. As children grow and understand themselves better, some behavioral issues straighten out on their own. Young people are dealing with changes in their bodies, emotions, and social circles. These issues can make a child confused and lead them to lash out. While this can be healthy and normal, there is a point when it becomes too much, and professional help should be sought. Just like adults, it is incredibly important to address a child’s mental health, and they are not issues that should be taken lightly. They cannot be ignored and it is okay to pursue help when needed. If they go untended, they can create problems for a child’s development and future.  

It is essential – and difficult – to know when a problem is just a consequence of growing up and when it is indicative of something much worse. The thing to keep in mind is whether these problems are continually affecting the child’s daily life and behavior. When the effects of the issue become severe and long-lasting, it’s time to consider finding help. Here are some things to keep an eye out for when trying to make this decision:

  • Your child is often sad, afraid, or worried
  • Their sleeping habits and patterns are changed 
  • Their appetite is changing in significant ways
  • Their grades and schoolwork begin to suffer
  • Choosing to spend their time alone
  • They are becoming more hyperactive, impulsive, or is having trouble focusing
  • Exhibiting self-destructive behavior
  • Displaying violence towards animals

Taking Steps to Safeguard Your Child’s Mental Health

These are all signs that a child’s problems are more severe than simple growing pains. So what do you do when these signs are present? The first step is to seek help for your child. You should take your child to their usual healthcare provider or physician. This will allow the doctor to rule out any physical conditions that could be affecting your child. Your primary care physician will also have the resources you may need after this appointment. This can be a referral to a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, or other professionals in the area. You may even seek out the help of counselors at school. They will ask for a family history, including any family members that have struggled with any illnesses, and any trauma they may have sustained. The doctor will take note of anything that stands out to them. They will monitor behaviors and watch for current symptoms. Some testing may be done to further help their understanding. If specific criteria are met, the doctor can make a diagnosis. Common illnesses that children suffer from are anxiety disorder, ADHD, depression, and bipolar disorder. All of these can manifest themselves in different ways in children, and they can all be treated. 

What Treatment for Childhood Mental Illness Looks Like

In many cases, treatment will include psychotherapy, behavioral analysis, and family support. The doctors and therapists will help you develop a sound strategy to ensure your child does not suffer. Additionally, there are several programs in place to help your child continue to succeed academically despite a mental health diagnosis. Your child is not going to fail just because of their mental health. Likewise, you don’t have to be afraid that your child will never get better. Treatment is available and effective, and many people are standing by to help you. 

 Children are just susceptible to mental illness as adults, and they deserve to be treated for it just as we do. If your child is exhibiting warning signs, do not hesitate to seek professional help. Even if the signs you’re seeing aren’t listed here, speak up and talk to someone about it. We have to stay on top of these things and make sure our children are helped when they need it. Be there for them and help them find the right path. Continue to love them and give them the support they need, and your child will be just fine. 

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]