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What can trigger mental illness in your child? Keep an eye out

Published on:16 August 2021, 17:00pm IST
Mental disorders among children are described as serious changes in the way they typically learn, behave or handle their emotions. There are certain causes, which trigger mental illness in children.
Aayushi Gupta
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Be vigilant about your child's behaviour. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Every parent wants their child to be a happy kid. But mental health disorders in children can take a major toll on their overall health and well-being. A child dealing with mental health issues is more likely to be unhappy at any place like school, playground, home, with friends or family, or anywhere. This largely impacts a child’s growth and inhibits him or her to retain information, or make social relations. This can turn a child’s behavior into aggression. 

Although the exact cause of most mental disorders is not known, there are some factors that primarily contribute to mental health issues. 

These are certain causes and risk factors for mental illness in children:
1. It can be genetic

Mental disorders are the result of both genetic and environmental factors. If mental health issues run in the family or if someone is struggling with mental disorders, these can pass on from parents to children. Such disorders include autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder and major depression, anxiety disorder, and schizophrenia. 

Read the study: There might be a genetic link between depression and anxiety, says new study

2. Stress can be related to bodily changes

Mental health disorders in adolescence are a significant problem. In children, mental health disorders are somewhat associated with the stress of bodily changes. Children who are unhappy with their physical appearance are at a significantly heightened risk of mental health issues. This happens because the impact of body dissatisfaction can increase pressure on a child, which can turn into stress.

causes of mental illness in children
Most children are worried about their physical appearance. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
3. Psychological trauma

Some mental disorders might be triggered by psychological trauma such as severe emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. Traumatic reactions can include a variety of responses such as intense and ongoing emotional issues, depressive symptoms or anxiety, behavioral changes, difficulties with self-regulation, problems relating to others or forming attachments, regression or loss of previously acquired skills, and academic difficulties. 

Read the study: Do we carry the trauma of childhood bullying into our adulthood? A clinical psychologist reveals

4. Environmental stress

Childhood mental illnesses may be a reaction to environmental stress, which refers to a negative environment. For example, if a child is a victim of bullying or peer pressure, it can cause mental stress.

Read the study: This study suggests how bullying impacts the mental health of young boys and girls

5. Insomnia

Childhood insomnia has been linked to a range of mental health problems. For example anxiety, depression, conduct problems and aggression. Insomnia affects the brain’s concentration ability, memory and sometimes, leads to mood swings. 

causes of mental illness in children
Poor sleep has been shown to significantly worsen the symptoms of many mental health issues! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Read the study: Childhood insomnia can become the reason for mental health issues in future: Study

Symptoms and signs of mental illness in children

Symptoms of mental disorders in children change over time as the child grows.
However, some mental disorders may develop symptoms that you can pay attention to. These are:

  • Constant poor performance at school
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Avoiding or missing school
  • Persistent sadness
  • Sleeping issues like interrupted sleeping, nightmares, or sleepwalking
  • Frequent complaints of physical symptoms like headache or stomach ache
  • Loss of weight
  • Any drastic change in mood, behaviour, or personality
  • Excessive worrying or anxiety
  • Loss of interest in friends or social interaction

Parenting plays a major role in a child’s good health. You can help your child to overcome issues to live a better life. So, let your child know you will always be there for them!

Aayushi Gupta Aayushi Gupta

Candid, outspoken, but prudent--Aayushi is exploring her place in media world.