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Psychological Disorders in Children: Early Diagnosis is Key

Experts estimate that roughly 20 percent of all children suffer from some sort of psychological disorder. Diagnosing a mental disorder in a child is important to healthy development. Because the brain of a child is still growing, it can be difficult to diagnose these issues in kids. 


Among those ailments most common among children are anxiety disorders, ADHD, behavior disorders, eating disorders, learning disabilities and mood disorders. A trained child psychologist can help ensure that if one of these or another disorder is present, it is properly addressed and treated.


Early Diagnosis is Vital

Early diagnosis of a childhood disorder is essential to addressing and treating the problem. If a mental health issue goes untreated, severe secondary symptoms can result. This can create a range of problems including:


·      Social awkwardness

·      Academic problems

·      Issues with self-image and self-esteem

·      Self-harming or suicide

·      Addiction

·      Depression and further mood disorders


Early diagnosis can lessen the impact of mental illness and prevent the issue from getting worse over time.


Diagnostic Criteria

Each disorder has its own signs, symptoms and diagnostic criteria. These criteria are contained in a volume called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Psychologists use this manual, currently on its fifth edition, to diagnose and address the underlying causes of most known mental health issues.


Mental health experts know how to best use the DSM to apply symptoms to a diagnosis. Because the process is tricky with children, it can take time to reach a proper conclusion. A psychologist can make adjustments during evaluation until the right treatment for your child is determined.


Know the Signs

There are many symptoms that can be indicative of a mental disorder in a child. These symptoms include:


·      Mood swings and sudden, extreme changes in mood

·      Extreme emotions, particularly overwhelming feelings of fear, worry, anxiety or rage

·      Changes in behavior that are extreme or unusual for your child

·      Severe concentration issues

·      Sudden weight loss or gain

·      Attempts at self-harming

·      Use or abuse of chemical substances


It should be noted that not everything is a sign of mental disorder. For example, all kids throw tantrums from time to time. Many experience mood swings within a normal spectrum. But if these issues are extreme, uncommon or sudden, you should consult a psychiatrist.


If you think your child is experiencing mental illness and you need a child psychologist, Edmonton area services are available. Give our office a call for a consultation and remember, early diagnosis is vital to effective treatment.



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