Knowing When to Seek Treatment

Knowing When to Seek Treatment for Mental Health
Disorders

Knowing when to seek treatment for
mental health disorders is important for parents and families. Families, spouses,
teachers,
or friends are often the first to suspect that their loved one or their student is
challenged by feelings, behaviors, or other conditions that cause them to act disruptive,
rebellious, or sad. This may include:

  • Problems with relationships with friends or family members

  • Problems with work or school

  • Sleep problems

  • Changes in appetite

  • Trouble expressing emotion

  • Substance abuse

  • Delays in development

  • Trouble coping

  • Inattentive

It’s also important to know that people of different ages will show different
symptoms and behaviors. Getting familiar with the common behaviors of children, teens,
and
adults that make it hard for them to adapt to situations will often help to identify
any
problems early when they can be treated. It’s important for families who suspect a
problem
in one or more of these areas to seek treatment as soon as possible. Treatment for
mental
health disorders is available and usually works well.

What are the symptoms of a potential problem in a young child?

These are the most common symptoms
of a possible emotional, behavioral, or developmental problem in the younger child.
But
each child may have different symptoms. Symptoms may include:

  • Poor grades or a big drop in
    school performance. This can happen even though the child studies and tries hard
    to succeed.

  • Withdrawal from activities, friends, or family

  • Sleep disturbances such as
    like sleep terrors, nightmares, or insomnia

  • Hyperactivity

  • Constant or frequent
    aggression or “acting out” for longer than 6 months

  • Constant or frequent
    rebellion; opposition to authority and direction for longer than 6 months

  • Refusal to attend school on a regular or frequent basis

  • Refusal to take part in school or family activities

  • Excessive worry or anxiety

  • Excessive, regular temper
    tantrums without cause

The symptoms of a possible
emotional, behavioral, or developmental problem may look like other conditions. Always
talk with your child’s healthcare provider for a diagnosis. You can involve school
staff for consistency and support.

What are the symptoms of a potential
problem in a teen?

These are the most common symptoms
of a possible emotional, behavioral, or developmental problem in a teenager that leads
to a mental health assessment. But each teen may have slightly different symptoms.
Symptoms may include:

  • Poor grades or a big drop in
    school performance. This can happen even though the teen studies and tries hard to
    succeed.

  • Social withdrawal from
    activities, friends, and/or family

  • Concern expressed by
    teachers, friends, or family about the teen’s behavior

  • Abuse of alcohol or drugs

  • Sleep problems such as
    persistent night terrors, nightmares, insomnia, or hypersomnia

  • Depression. This includes
    poor mood, negativity, and mood swings.

  • Appetite changes such as
    refusal to eat, excessive eating, food rituals, bingeing, or purging

  • Constant or frequent
    aggression or “acting out” for longer than 6 months

  • Constant or frequent
    rebellion; opposition to authority and direction for longer than 6 months

  • Constant or frequent anger
    for longer than 6 months

  • Skipping school

  • Refusal to take part in
    school, family, sport, or social activities

  • Excessive worry and/or
    anxiety

  • Self-injurious behaviors

  • Threats to self or others

  • Thoughts of death

  • Thoughts or talk of
    suicide

  • Running away or threatening
    to run away

  • Destructive behaviors such as
    vandalism, or criminal activity

  • Sexually “acting out”

  • Lying or cheating

  • Many physical complaints

The symptoms of a possible
emotional, behavioral, or developmental problem may look like other conditions. Always
talk with your teen’s healthcare provider for a diagnosis. You can involve school
staff
for consistency and support.

What are the symptoms of a potential problem in an adult?

These are the most common symptoms
of a possible emotional, behavioral, or developmental problem in an adult. But each
person may have different symptoms. Symptoms may include:

  • Big drop in work
    performance, poor work attendance, or lack of productivity

  • Social withdrawal from activities, friends, or family

  • Abuse of alcohol or drugs

  • Sleep problems such as
    persistent nightmares, insomnia, hypersomnia, or flashbacks

  • Depression. This includes
    poor mood, negativity, or mood swings.

  • Appetite changes such as
    losing or gaining a lot of weight

  • Constant or frequent
    aggression

  • Constant or frequent anger
    for longer than 6 months

  • Excessive worry or anxiety

  • Threats to self or others

  • Thoughts of death

  • Thoughts or talk of suicide

  • Destructive behaviors such as
    criminal activity or stealing

  • Sexually “acting out”

  • Lying or cheating

  • Many physical complaints, including being constantly tense or frequent aches and pains
    that can’t be traced to a physical cause or injury

  • Sudden feelings of panic, dizziness, or increased heartbeat

  • Increased feelings of guilt, helplessness, or hopelessness

  • Decreased energy

The symptoms of a possible
emotional, behavioral, or developmental problem may look like other conditions.
Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.