Common Childhood Disorders

***The following information is for informational purposes only.  If you suspect your child has a mental health disorder, please be sure to schedule your child to see a licensed mental health professional for a comprehensive evaluation.***



Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

A common mental disorder which affects both children and adults.

ADHD Facts
  • ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed disorder in children.
  • ADHD is not only limited to children.  It can continue into and sometimes is not even diagnosed until adulthood.
  • The cause of ADHD is not known for sure; however, it is believed to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
  • ADHD is a brain-based disorder and is strongly inherited (twin studies show that ADHD runs in families).
  • Parenting styles do NOT cause ADHD.
  • More research is being done as to what  causes ADHD.


3 Types of ADHD
  • Predominantly Inattentive
  • Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive
  • Combined
Each type has its own symptoms.


Symptoms of ADHD

Predominantly Inattentive: 
  • Failure to pay close attention to details or making careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
  • Difficulty sustaining attention to tasks or leisure activities
  • Not seeming to listen when spoken to directly
  • Not following through on instructions and failing to finish schoolwork, chores, or workplace duties
  • Difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  • Avoiding, disliking, or reluctance to engage in tasks requiring sustained mental effort
  • Losing things necessary for tasks or activities
  • Becoming easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  • Forgetfulness in daily activities.
 Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive:
  • Fidgeting with hands or feet or squirming in seat
  • Leaving seat in situations in which remaining seated is expected
  • Moving excessively or feeling restless during situations at times when such behavior is inappropriate
  • Having difficulty engaging in leisure activities quietly
  • Being "on the go" or acting as if "driven by a motor"
  • Talking excessively
  • Blurting out answers before questions have been completed
  • Having difficulty awaiting turn
  • Interrupting or intruding on others
Combined:

A combination of inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms.

*Refer to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual for diagnostic criteria. 


Effects and Complications
Common effects of ADHD include:
  • —Disruptions to learning, peer relationships, functional performance, and behavior 
  • Challenges with organization and time management
  • Challenges with writing skills
  • Difficulty focusing on goals 
  • High frustration levels 
  • Parenting challenges
  • Higher risk for substance abuse
  • Juvenile delinquency

More than half of children with ADHD have a co-occurring disorder.  Common co-occurring disorders include:
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Learning Disorders
 
Treatment


Therapy and medication are the most common treatments for ADHD.  
Alternative and supplemental treatments (which are not necessarily proven to be effective) include:
  • Elimination Diets
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Chiropractic Treatments
  • Neurofeedback
  • Interactive Metronome Training

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)


A disorder characterized by persistent anger-guided disobendience, defiance, and hostility.
  
ODD Facts
  • ODD is one of the most commonly co-existing disorders with ADHD.
  • The onset of ODD is typically by age 8.
  • It is estimated that 2-16% of children and teens have ODD.
  • In younger children, ODD is more common in boys.  In older children, ODD occurs equally among boys and girls.
  • If untreated, ODD may lead to a more serious disorder - Conduct Disorder.
  • The cause of ODD is not known for sure; however, it is believed to result from a combination of biological, genetic, and environmental factors.

Symptoms of ODD
  • Negative, hostile, and/or defiant behavior
  • Temper tantrums
  • Arguing with adults
  • Refusing to comply with requests and rules
  • Intense rigidity and inflexibility
  • Sense of entitlement to make unreasonable demands
  • Touchiness, resentfulness, spitefulness 
  • Blaming others for mistakes
  • Saying mean and hateful things, swearing
*Refer to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual for diagnostic criteria.  


Effects and Complications

Effects of ODD include:  
  • Parenting issues
  • Social issues with peers and family members (i.e., rejection)
  • Difficulty in school
Disorders that commonly co-occur with ODD include:
  • ADHD
  • Learning disabilities
  • Mood disorders

Treatment
  • Therapy
  • Medication
  • Parent Training
Treatment is usually very effective when started early.


Conduct Disorder
A disorder, usually in children and teens, characterized by antisocial types of behavior (violent, disruptive, in violation of the rights of others).

Conduct Disorder Facts
  • Conduct Disorder is less common but is more severe than ODD.
  • Children with Conduct Disorder tend to be irritable and have low self-esteem.
  • It is estimated that 2-16% of children in the US have Conduct Disorder.
  • The onset of Conduct Disorder is usually in late childhood or early adolescence.
  • Conduct Disorder is more common in boys than girls.  
  •  The cause of ODD is not known for sure; however, it is believed to result from a combination of biological, genetic, environmental, psychological, and social factors.







Symptoms of Conduct Disorder
  • Violation of rules 
  • Aggression and cruelty toward people and animals
  • Bullying and fighting
  • Destructive behavior (i.e., setting fires, destroying property)
  • Deceitful behavior (i.e., lying)
  • Lack of remorse for behavior
*Refer to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual for diagnostic criteria.  

  
Effects and Complications

Possible effects of Conduct Disorder include:  
  • Parenting issues
  • Legal problems
  • Injuries to self and/or others
  • School-related problems
  • Suicide
  • STDs
  • Substance abuse
  • Higher risk for other mental disorders, such as Antisocial Personality Disorder, mood disorders, anxiety disorders

Treatment
  • Therapy
  • Medication
  • Parent Training 
  • Treatment Foster Care
  • Mentoring
Treatment outcomes vary greatly but early intervention may help reduce risks for long-term effects.



Adjustment Disorder

 Adjustment Disorder Facts
  • Adjustment Disorder occurs when a person has difficulty adjusting or coping with a particular source of stress (i.e., a change or loss).
  • Adjustment Disorder is a short-term condition and generally goes away when the person has adjusted to the situation.
  • Adjustment Disorder is sometimes called "situational depression" because it shares many characteristics with depression.
  • Adjustment Disorder can affect anyone at any age.


Symptoms of Adjustment Disorder

Symptoms of Adjustment Disorder may include:
  • Sadness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Frequent crying
  • Anxiety and frequent worry
  • Frequent headaches or stomachaches
  • Dangerous/destructive behavior (i.e., fighting, reckless driving)
  • Absence from school
  • Changes in appetite (loss of appetite or overeating)
  • Insomnia
  • Low energy
    
*Refer to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual for diagnostic criteria.  








Effects and Complications
Possible effects of Adjustment Disorder include:
  • Poor school performance
  • Impairment in social relationships
  • Substance abuse
  • Risk of developing more serious depression or other mental illness if untreated. 
Treatment
  • Therapy
  • Medication
  • Family education and support


Depression

 Depression Facts
  • Childhood Depression often co-occurs with ADHD. 
  • Depression can be caused by biological factors, genetic factors, psychological factors, environmental factors, and social factors.  


Symptoms of Depression

Symptoms of depression in children include:
  • Extreme irritability, aggression, and combativeness
  • Frequent headaches or stomachaches
  • Low self-esteem and self-criticism
  • A drop in grades, feeling anxiety about tests and refusing to go to school
  • Suicidal thoughts and/or self-harm
  • Inability to have fun and refusal to join in activities
  • Overreacting to disappointment and frustration
  • Lethargy and/or apathy
Symptoms of depression in adolescents include:
  • Feeling sad, hopeless and empty
  • Appearing lethargic, slow-moving and sleepy
  • Irritability
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Restlessness and aggression
  • Overreacting to disappointment or failure
  • Self-destructive behaviors
  • Suicidal thoughts and/or self-harm
*Refer to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual for diagnostic criteria.  


Effects and Complications

Possible effects of Depression include:
  • Suicide
  • Poor school performance
  • Impairment in social relationships
  • Substance abuse

Treatment
  • Therapy
  • Medication
  • Family education and support
Depression in children is highly treatable.


Anxiety
Anxiety Facts
  • Anxiety often co-occurs with ADHD. 
  • The cause of ODD is not known for sure; however, it is believed to result from a combination of biological, genetic, environmental, psychological, and social factors.

Symptoms of Anxiety
  • Excessively worry
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Digestive problems
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Panic attacks
  • Feelings of discomfort and unease in situations generally regarded as unthreatening
  • Missing school
  • Being rude and noncompliant when trying to avoid encounters that trigger anxiety
  • Shunning the spotlight or “hiding out;”

*Refer to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual for diagnostic criteria.  


Effects and Complications

Possible effects of Conduct Disorder include:
  • Poor school performance
  • Impaired social relationships
  • Physical ailments (i.e., stomach aches) 

Treatment
  • Therapy
  • Medication
  • Family Education and Support
Anxiety in children is highly treatable.


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Trauma:  a powerful experience that may have long-lasting effects.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): a disorder resulting from a traumatic event or events. Includes:

     (1 )An event that threatens injury to self or others.

     (2) A response to those events, involving continual fear, horror, or helplessness.


PTSD Facts
  • PTSD can affect any person of any age, race, gender, etc.
  • Women are diagnosed with PTSD more often than men because they are more likely to be exposed to some of the traumatic events that are known to cause PTSD.
  • Approximately 10% of women and 5% of men are diagnosed with PTSD at some point during their lifetime.
  • —Millions of Americans are diagnosed with PTSD every year, and many more people may go undiagnosed.
  • —Many people will experience negative effects due to trauma during their lifetime but not meet the criteria for PTSD.
  • Approximately 21-43% of people with PTSD will develop a long-term substance abuse problem (compared with 8-25% of the general population).
  • —PTSD can be treated.

 Causes of PTSD
  • War/combat
  • Sexual assault (rape, molestation)
  • Surviving a natural disaster or terrorist attack
  • Physical abuse
  • Violent crimes
  • Death or serious illness of a loved one
  • Virtually any event that is upsetting and dangerous.
*Events can happen one time or be recurring! 


Symptoms of PTSD
  • —Bad dreams
  • —Flashbacks or other re-experiencing of the trauma
  • —Uncontrollable scary thoughts
  • —Avoidance of places, things, and other reminders of the trauma
  • —Feelings of worry, guilt, and sadness
  • —Feeling alone
  • —Trouble sleeping
  • —Irritability and anger outbursts 
  • Suicidal and/or homicidal thoughts

Symptoms of PTSD in Children
  • —Regressive behavior
  • —Inability to talk
  • —Frequent complaints of stomach problems and/or headaches
  • —Refusing to go places
  • —Refusing to play with friends
*Refer to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual for diagnostic criteria.


Effects and Complications

Individuals with PTSD have an increased risk for:
  • —Depression
  • —Drug abuse
  • —Alcohol abuse
  • —Eating disorders
  • —Suicidal thoughts and/or actions
  • —Cardiovascular disease
  • —Chronic pain
  • —Autoimmune diseases
  • —Musculoskeletal conditions
Disorders that often co-occur with PTSD include:
  • —Depression
  • —Anxiety
  • —Sleep disorder
  • —Substance abuse

Treatment

It is important seek treatment for PTSD, as it does not go away on its own. Treatment can take as little as 6-12 weeks and as long as several years.  Length and type of treatment depend upon the individual. Common treatments include:
  • —Psychological first aid/social support (Note: do not push a person with PTSD to share more than he/she can tolerate)
  • —Psychotherapy
  • —Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
  • —Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocess (EMDR)
  • —Group Therapy
  • —Service Dogs
  • —Medication

Intermittent Explosive Disorder

An impulse-control disorder characterized by extreme expressions of anger and rage that are disproportionate to the triggering event.

IED Facts:
  • IED can effect children and adults.
  • IED most commonly begins in teens and 20s.
  • Males are more likely than females to develop IED.
  • A history of substance abuse or physical abuse put an individual at higher risk for developing IED.
  • Some clinicians believe that IED is only a symptom of other diagnoses, rather than its own disorder.
  • The exact causes of IED are unknown; however, scientists do know that physical and emotional factors play a role.
Symptoms of IED 
  • Aggressive episodes, which include irritability, increased energy, rage, racing thoughts, tingling, tremors, palpitations, chest tightness, and a feeling of pressure in the head. 
  • Explosive eruptions, usually lasting less than 30 minutes, which frequently involve verbal assaults, property destruction, and injuries.
  • A degree of aggression during incidents that is out of proportion to the triggering event.
  • Failure to resist aggressive impulses that resulted in property destruction or assault.  
*Refer to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual for diagnostic criteria.


Effects and Complications



Self-harm
Impaired interpersonal relationships
Trouble at work, home, or school
Predisposition for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders 


Treatment for IED
Therapy
Medication
















































 




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