This disorder is characterized by persistent problems with focus, attention, hyperactivity, distractibility, and impulse control that interfere with a child’s development or ability to function.
ADHD begins in childhood, usually before age 12. While most children exhibit some of these symptoms from time to time, a child with ADHD struggles more frequently and more severely than other children.
These disorders include problems with anger and impulse control, as well as, disruptive and oppositional behaviors at home, in school, and in the community. Children with defiant disorders exhibit behavioral problems that violate the rights of others and often bring the child into conflict with authority figures. Defiant disorders are more common in boys than in girls.
Divorce, death, and stressful life changes are difficult for children to process. Their reactions may differ greatly from those of adults. Children who exhibit any of the following signs and symptoms following a major life event may need the guidance of a mental health professional:
Loss of interest in daily activities and events
Loss of appetite
Fear of being alone
Regressive, age-inappropriate behavior
Withdrawal from friends
Sharp drop in academic performance or refusal to attend school
Common mood disorders seen in children include depression, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, and bipolar disorder.
Children with mood disorders present as sad, tired, irritable, bored, or with heightened emotional responses. These mood states can affect the child’s ability to function.
Early diagnosis and treatment of mood disorders are essential. Effective intervention can reduce the severity of symptoms and alter the course of progressive mood disorders, helping the child grow into a happier and more functional adult.
Autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities, communication disorders, certain learning disorders, tic disorders, and sensory integration problems, are all types of neurodevelopmental disorders. These conditions usually become evident in early development and impair personal, social, academic, and occupational functioning. Any child suspected of having a neurodevelopmental disorder should undergo an evaluation. In some cases, a pediatrician may be able to offer a diagnosis. Neuropsychological testing, genetic evaluation, neurological screening, and laboratory testing may also be recommended.
Children with a psychotic disorder, like schizophrenia, experience one or more of the following abnormalities:
Childhood onset of schizophrenia is very rare. Some children may experience transitory auditory and visual hallucinations as part of normal development; however, it is important to evaluate a child who exhibits symptoms of a psychotic disorder. It may be a sign of psychiatric illness, atypical development, or a serious medical problem.
Trauma, abuse or neglect, and chronic physical illness can all result in severe stress. This stress can manifest as a reactive attachment disorder, disinhibited social engagement disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and acute stress disorder.
Following a traumatic event, a broad range of complex symptoms of distress can be seen in children and adolescents. Children may become fearful or anxious, lose interest in activities they once enjoyed, feel uneasy and dissatisfied with life, develop anger and aggression, or show signs of dissociation and numbness.
The root cause of addiction or substance abuse is often psychological. We do not offer detoxification or rehabilitation services, but we can assess the situation and make appropriate referrals. As needed, we remain involved to treat parallel psychiatric difficulties.
While we do not specialize in eating disorders, we are able to make referrals and can play an important part in the treatment process. Many adolescents who suffer from anorexia or bulimia also struggle with depression and anxiety. We are happy to collaborate with therapists, interventionists, nutritionists, and pediatricians to develop an effective behavior modification plan.