Mental illness in children facts
- Mental disorders in children are quite common, occurring in about one-quarter of this age group in any given year.
- The most common childhood mental
disorders are anxiety disorders, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity
- Although less common, developmental disorders and psychotic
disorders in children can have a lifelong impact on the child and his or her
- As in any age group, there tends to be no single cause for mental
illness in children.
- In addition to the specific symptoms of each mental
disorder, children with a psychiatric illness can exhibit signs that are
specific to their age and developmental status.
- Establishing the diagnosis of
a mental illness in children usually involves the combination of comprehensive
medical, developmental, and mental-health assessments.
- There are a variety of
treatments available for managing mental illness in children, including several
effective medications, educational or occupational interventions, as well as
specific forms of psychotherapy.
- Children with mental-health problems can have
lower educational achievement, greater involvement with the criminal justice
system, and fewer stable placements in the child welfare system than their
- Attempts at prevention of childhood mental illness tend to address both
specific and nonspecific risk factors, strengthen protective factors, and use an
approach that is appropriate for the child's developmental level.
- Research on
mental illness in children is focused on a number of issues, including
increasing the understanding of how often these illnesses occur, the risk
factors, most effective treatments, and how to improve the access that children
have to those treatments.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/20/2015