It is normal for children and teens to go through a variety of emotional changes; however, when a child is experiencing symptoms of mental illness, these changes can continue to disrupt their daily life if left untreated.
What are some ways to tell if my child needs professional help?
1) Mood Swings. There has been a change in your child’s mood that is not consistent of them. You notice they are more negative, down or worried about things they typically would not be – or that seem extreme.
2) Behavioral Changes. There has been a change in their behavior that is not consistent of your child. You notice they seem to be a different person, or they aren’t interested or doing the things they used to do. Avoiding going places or acting out at home and/or school are some more examples.
3) Physical Symptoms. Your child is experiencing physical symptoms, such as changes in sleep, appetite, weight and concentration. Complaints of headaches and stomachaches, and decreased care for personal appearance may also be some symptoms of underlying mental health issues.
4) Decline in academic performance. Falling grades or skipping school are signs your child may be struggling.
5) Engaging in unhealthy behaviors. Finding out your child is using alcohol or drugs, or that they are engaging in self-harming behaviors are additional warning signs your child may need additional support by a professional.
If left untreated, children can develop unhealthy ways of coping with unpleasant symptoms such as using alcohol and/or drugs, develop an eating disorder, act out, and begin to decline socially. With appropriate intervention and treatment, these symptoms can be managed, and over time can improve.