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Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses

Introduction to Disorders of Childhood

Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses

Children are precious; As parents we worry about their health. When our children have issues and crises, these issues and crises affect us just as much, if not more, than it affects them. We fear that which might bring them fear; we hurt when we see them hurt; and sometimes, we cry just seeing them cry. Writer Elizabeth Stone once said "Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." So, when it seems like something is not quite right with your children - perhaps they seem more afraid than other kids, or they seem to get a lot angrier than their playmates do over certain things - this odd or "off" behavior can be experienced as terrifying. In fact, a child's difficulty can be just the starting point for your parental worry and concern. You might not know what to do to help your child, or where to go for help. Possibly, you may worry because you don't even know if your child's problem is somethi...More

Fast Facts: Learn! Fast!

What Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses can children be affected by?

  • Intellectual disabilities are a specific type of disability that is caused by limited mental capacity (intelligence). These limitations make it difficult for someone to care for themselves without additional support.
  • Children that appear to have extremely poor coordination that interferes with achievement or age-appropriate activities of daily living (e.g., walking, playing catch, etc) may be suffering from a Motor Skills Disorder.
  • Children or adolescents may be diagnosed with a Learning Disorder when their achievement on standardized tests in reading, mathematics, or written expression is significantly below what is expected for their age, schooling, or level of intelligence.
  • Communication Disorders are problems of childhood that affect learning, language, and/or speech.
  • A child who demonstrates severe and persistent difficulties in several areas of development (social interactions, language and communication, repetitive and stereotypical behavior) may be affected by a Pervasive Development Disorder.
  • Children who have chronic difficulties in maintaining attentional focus, completing work, being impulsive, or repeatedly engage in antisocial behaviors such as lying and cheating may have one or more Attention-Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders. The disorders in this category include Conduct Disorder, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
  • Disorders in the "Feeding and Eating Disorders of Infancy or Early Childhood" category include Pica, Rumination Disorder, and Feeding Disorder of Infancy or Early Childhood. 
  • Elimination disorders (Enuresis and Encopresis) occur when children who are otherwise old enough to eliminate waste appropriately repeatedly void feces or urine in inappropriate places or at inappropriate times.
  • Selective Mutism occurs when a child persistently fails to speak in certain social situations where speaking is expected.
  • Children and adolescents affected by Separation Anxiety Disorder become severely distressed when separated from their familiar surroundings and caregivers.
  • In Reactive Attachment Disorder, children develop abnormal relationships with caregivers that are described, in the language of the DSM criteria for the disorder as either Inhibited or Disinhibited.
  • Children with Stereotypic Movement Disorder can't seem to stop themselves from engaging in repetitive, and seeming nonfunctional motor behavior.
  • Tic Disorders are diagnosed when people have chronic (i.e., repeated across time) motor and vocal tics that interfere with their daily activities.

For more information

News Articles

  • Treatment Trajectories Vary for Children With Depression

    For youths with depression, there are distinct treatment trajectories, which have varying health outcomes, according to a study published online Nov. 20 in JAMA Pediatrics. More...

  • Peer Review Policy Cuts Atypical Antipsychotic Use in Children

    For young children, implementation of a peer review prior authorization policy can reduce the use of atypical antipsychotic medications, according to a research letter published online Nov. 15 in JAMA Psychiatry. More...

  • Researchers Learn More About Gender's Role in Autism Risk

    When oldest female child has the disorder, risk is raised for younger siblings, especially boys: study. More...

  • Genetics a Cause of Autism in Most Cases: Study

    Re-analysis of stats from earlier study shows new estimate of DNA impact. More...

  • Parents Say Schools Don't Help Kids With Mental Health, Chronic Disease

    Only 38 percent believed schools could assist a student suspected of having a mental health problem. More...

  • 24 More
    • CBT, SSRIs Effectively Cut Anxiety Symptoms in Childhood

      Cognitive behavioral therapy and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are effective for reducing symptoms of anxiety in childhood, according to a review published online Aug. 31 in JAMA Pediatrics. More...

    • Back to School, Back to Planning for Kids With Autism, ADHD

      Thinking ahead and keeping a calendar with important dates can help make transition smoother. More...

    • Depression, Anxiety May Affect Bone Metabolism in Older Teens

      Major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor use are associated with bone metabolism in older adolescents and young adults, according to a study published online Aug. 16 in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. More...

    • Therapy for Kids With Autism Pays Off for Moms, Dads

      Study found when parents become therapy partners, they become less depressed, learn to keep emotions in check. More...

    • ADHD Rx Associated With a Lower Risk for Alcohol, Drug Abuse

      Teens and adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may have a lower risk of developing an alcohol or drug problem if they take medications to treat their ADHD, according to a study published online recently in the American Journal of Psychiatry. More...

    • Why People With Autism Avoid Eye Contact

      Direct gaze stresses part of the brain tied to social behavior; the study finding might improve therapies. More...

    • Communication Problems Not at Root of Tantrums in Kids With Autism

      Study shows outbursts occur just as frequently among children without speech, language troubles. More...

    • No Proof Special Diets, Supplements Work for Autism

      There is no solid evidence that any diet changes or supplements to ease symptoms of autism spectrum disorder work, according to research published online May 26 in Pediatrics. More...

    • Could a Century-Old Drug Help Ease Autism Symptoms?

      Small study produced positive results with the sleeping sickness medication suramin, but more research needed. More...

    • Special Diets, Supplements for Autism Still a Question Mark

      Analysis of 19 trials turned up little proof they actually work; more definitive research needed. More...

    • Program Helps Young Adults With Autism Find Jobs

      Navigating adult services is challenging, autism experts say. More...

    • Tracking Devices May Ease Minds of Parents of Kids With Autism

      Wandering is a hazard for these children, and this technology helps, review finds. More...

    • Young Adults With Autism Need Help Managing Money: Study

      Many feel unprepared to handle responsibilities such as paying bills on their own. More...

    • Autism Greatly Boosts Kids' Injury Risk, Especially for Drowning

      Swimming lessons are essential -- even before other therapies, researcher says. More...

    • Could a Blood Test Spot Autism in Childhood?

      Preliminary study was reportedly nearly 98 percent accurate in kids ages 3 to 10. More...

    • Experimental Test Can Spot Autism in Infancy

      Researchers report brain scans plus computer algorithm show which high-risk babies might develop the disorder. More...

    • Brain Differences Hint at Why Autism Is More Common in Males

      Women with the disorder appear more likely to have brain anatomy that's typically seen in men, study says. More...

    • For Kids, Regular Exercise Seems to Put Depression on the Run

      Finding could be significant because it suggests physical activity can be used to boost mental health. More...

    • Microbiota Transfer Therapy Could Help Children With Autism

      A new approach to alter the gut microbiome and virome may be an effective treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder, according to research published online Jan. 23 in Microbiome. More...

    • Kids With ADHD Make 6.1 Million Doctor Visits a Year in U.S.: CDC

      Mental health specialist says study raises more questions than it answers. More...

    • U.S. Families Spend 1.5 Billion Hours Yearly on Kids With Special Health Needs

      Care provided by parents adds up to nearly $18 billion in lost wages, study says. More...

    • Down Syndrome May Not Be Big Financial Burden on Families

      Having a child with the condition costs about $80 more a month in medical expenses, study finds. More...

    • Guideline Changes Have Asperger's Community on Edge

      Change in psychiatric manual will fold it into autism spectrum disorders, leaving many unsure about getting needed services More...

    • Harmless Brain Abnormalities in Kids Pose Disclosure Dilemmas

      Doctors need guidelines for discussing anomalies found in 'routine' MRIs, researchers say. More...


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Juneau Alliance for Mental Health, Inc.
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