The Most Common Mental Disorders in Children

Mental disorders are devastating, but they’re especially difficult to deal with when they affect children. Although some mental disorders don’t really show their signs until later in life, some very young children begin exhibiting the symptoms of a mental illness. It’s imperative that parents get these children the care that they need, including any medications that can keep the illness at bay, so that they can lead normal lives.


The first step is to understand mental disorders in children. The list below will give you insight into some of the most common ones diagnosed today.

Behavior Disorders

Behavior disorders are also known as disruptive behavior disorders. These are actually the primary reason that children are admitted to mental health facilities in the first place. There are a variety of different types of behavior disorders, and different children will exhibit different symptoms. For example, one child may show a lot of emotional trauma while another will have difficulty interacting with others in a peaceful and relaxed manner. Often, there’s a combination of emotional problems and social anxiety at play.

Most people have heard of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and this is actually one of the most common types of behavior disorders in children. These children find it difficult to focus and tend to be very disruptive both at home as well as in school. If left untreated, they will have difficulty advancing in education and may not be able to properly develop socially either.

Adjustment Disorders

Adjustment disorders are also quite common in children of all ages. These children respond negatively to stress in their lives and changes in their environment. Rather than being able to cope and adapt in a healthy way, they resort to depression, anxiety, or reckless and violent behavior. It may take months for symptoms to show up after a stressor has affected a child. Common stressors may include parents getting divorced, a move, the loss of a loved one, or even the birth of a sibling.

Children who exhibit these symptoms should be thoroughly evaluated by a mental health professional because these signs are similar to those of other mental ailments. The sooner you can get your child help, the sooner he or she can get back on track and start enjoying life again while learning how to cope with stress more successfully.

Tourette’s Disorder

Surprisingly, up to 24 percent of children will experience Tourette’s Disorder at some point during their childhood in the form of transient tic disorder, which can last anywhere from a few months to a full year. Again, stress is a major cause of this disorder, so teaching your children from a very young age how to properly handle stressors is a good idea. Chronic tics only affect less than 1 percent of children, but this condition will last longer than one year.

But, when there are multiple tics that are constantly repeated, a child is exhibiting the symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome, which is a neurological disorder. Most symptoms will appear between the ages of 5 and 10, and when they do, it’s important to get treatment right away.

About the author: Laura is a freelance writer who enjoys discussing and educating others on a variety of health issues, including mental ailments. If you’re interested in getting into a career in which you’ll be able to help children suffering from mental disorders, look at this website for information on a mental health counseling degree.

Laura Ginn

Laura Ginn is a full time writer and editor and writes for a number of health and sports websites. Aside from writing Laura loves to read and is interested in such a vast range of subjects that it would be impossible to list them all here.

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