Overview of Children’s Mental Health Disorders

Anxiety Disorders - Characterized by excessive fear, worry, or uneasiness that interferes with daily life.

Attachment Disorder (or Reactive Attachment Disorder) - Condition in which a person has difficulty forming loving, lasting, intimate relationships. Children with attachment disorder often are unable to be genuinely affectionate with others, have an underdeveloped conscience, and are not able to trust.

Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD, ADHD) - Characterized by short attention span and distractibility. Many children with ADHD are extremely impulsive and have difficulty remaining still, taking turns, and keeping quiet.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) - Developmental disabilities that share many of the same characteristics. These neurological disorders can affect a child’s ability to understand and use language, play and relate to others, and understand the world around them. Impairment may range from mild to severe. Children with ASD are at increased risk for other mental disorders.

Bipolar Disorder - Marked by exaggerated mood swings between extreme lows (depression) and highs (excited or manic phases).

Conduct Disorder - Children and adolescents act out their feelings or impulses toward others in destructive ways. Youth with conduct disorder repeatedly violate the basic rights of others and the rules of society.

Depression - Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, guilt or worthlessness accompanied by inability to concentrate, loss of energy and a change in eating or sleep patterns that interfere with daily living.

Eating Disorders - Characterized by self-starvation or binge-eating and purging.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder(OCD) - A type of anxiety disorder characterized by intense, unwanted impulses that interfere with daily routine and cause the individual to compulsively and repeatedly perform tasks to try to deal with those obsessions.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) - Characterized by a persistent or consistent pattern of defiance, disobedience and hostility toward various authority figures including parents, teachers and other adults.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - Psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of violent or life-threatening events. Age-specific features for some symptoms are now part of the diagnostic criteria (see below for symptoms of some mental illnesses).

Schizophrenia - Symptoms may include an alteration of senses, inability to synthesize and respond, delusions (false ideas believed by person that cannot be explained with reason), hallucinations (sense things that do not exist, such as hearing voices), and behavioral or emotional changes. It is an uncommon psychiatric illness in children.
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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on April 08, 2009

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