Mental Disorders During Childhood

Tourette, ADHD & Other Childhood Mental Disorders  have been clearly linked, and so has childhood Obsessive-Compulsive disorder. All can create very difficult issues in the life of a child and the entire family.

The good news is that treatments continue to be developed that are proving effective in relieving symptoms and helping children lead healthier and happier lives. This guide will help you know if your child might have one of these common childhood disorders. It includes symptoms as well as options for treatment.

Categorization and Symptoms of Childhood Mental Disorders

Here are the most common childhood disorders and their most recognizable symptoms.

  • Tourette or Tourette Syndrome: The best research indicates Tourette is an inherited neurological disorder that appears first in childhood. The symptoms include one or more types of tics which can be physical or vocal, called phonic tics.
  • ADHD: This disorder also has a neurological basis and can have related components including inattentive behavior and impulsive behavior. ADD, without the hyperactive component, is common as well. Signs include constant motion, restlessness, seeming inability to listen or pay attention, difficulty in being still or calming down, distracted easily, tendency to talk too much and interrupt, and being unable to finish tasks.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD: This disorder is reflected in intruding thoughts or fears known as obsessions that give rise to repeated and irrational behaviors and rituals that are compulsively followed. Symptoms include an inability to control thoughts, irrational behavior, pulling out hair and excessive interest in cleanliness, rules or religion.
  • Autism: Both genetic and environmental factors have been suggested as the cause of autism. Its signs are varied. They include impairment in social interaction, difficulty in communicating such as delaying a response or inability to sustain a conversation, preoccupations and repetitive behaviors or the parts of an object, strict adherence to routines or rituals and a lack of ability to understand make-believe.

There are many other childhood disorders related to these. They include Asperger’s disorder which is an antisocial disorder, Enuresis which is the inability to control urination at night (bedwetting), Encopresis which is the inability to control bowel movements, Pica which is the eating of non-food items and Transient Tic disorder which is related to Tourette. Unfortunately, children can also suffer from disorders such as anxiety and depression which are common in adults.

The Causes of Childhood Mental Disorders

The causes of childhood disorders are as varied as their symptoms. Many have a genetic basis, some with a neurological component. Some of the disorders may also have an environmental component triggered by early childhood trauma such as neglect or illness. Research is ongoing to determine if some childhood vaccines are a cause of autism. Brain chemistry issues involving serotonin and dopamine are often connected.

Finding Help for Tourette, ADHD & Other Childhood Mental Disorders

Outstanding advances in the treatment of these disorders have been made in the last 25 years and continue. Awareness of these disorders continues to grow, along with very effective treatment options.

The first step is to have your child evaluated by a specialist. Your pediatrician or family doctor can point you in the right direction as well as be an essential part of your child’s care going forward.

Medication is often part of the treatment as well as psychotherapy and counseling for the child and for the family.

The Cost of Treatment and the Place of Insurance

Hospitalization, which is very expensive, is rarely required for these childhood disorder. The cost of testing, medication and ongoing therapy is moderately expensive.

The good news is that treatment for these disorders is covered by health insurance. The level of coverage varies, and your health care providers will work with you and with your insurance company to develop a treatment plan that meets your child’s needs.

Where confusion and fear was once common, parents are now finding effective help and treatment for their children that suffer from childhood mental disorders.