Emotional Behavioral Disorders in Children
Emotional Behavioral Disorders in children occur because something is not quite right in a child’s life. A bio-chemical issue might be causing the unwanted symptoms and behaviors, such as a mood disorder, anxiety or ADHD; there might be environmental factors that are creating difficulties or both. A thorough diagnostic assessment is needed to titrate out what factors most likely are causing the unwanted behaviors in the child. After this occurs, treatment recommendations are made and the work begins. Although my work entails using play therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy tailored to children and/or psycho-education to treat the underlying conditions, sometimes medication appears warranted also. I collaborate with doctors and pediatricians when needed.
Parenting is a serious, long-term, ever-changing job that can be overwhelming at times. It can cause depression and/or anxiety in parents. As children continue to develop and grow, their needs change as well as the way they need to be parented. It is often times hard to keep up with how to work with the unique needs of each child or adolescent. My work with parents is geared toward assisting them in determining the strategies they need in order to effectively parent their child or children.
Depression can present with some of these symptoms: having a low mood, having little interest or pleasure in everyday activities, social withdrawal, sleep disturbance, feelings of hopelessness or helplessness, eating too much or too little, loss of energy, negative thinking, difficulty concentrating and sometimes thoughts of death or dying.
Bipolar disorder has a component of depressive symptoms as well as an experiencing of an overly elevated mood, such as manic or hypomanic episodes.
Anxiety disorders include symptoms such as excessive worry, muscle tension, restlessness, trouble concentrating, sleep disturbance and sometimes a feeling of dread. Under the umbrella of anxiety, some people experience separation anxiety (in children), panic, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, specific phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Sometimes people have difficulty sitting still, paying attention, or controlling impulsive behavior. But for some children and adults, the problem is so pervasive and persistent that it interferes with their daily lives at home, at school, at work, and in social settings.
Research shows that Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has a strong neurobiological basis. It is characterized by developmentally inappropriate impulsivity, inattention, and in some cases, hyperactivity. Although individuals with ADHD can be very successful in life, without appropriate identification and treatment, ADHD can have serious consequences. These consequences may include school failure, depression, conduct disorder, failed relationships, and substance abuse. Early identification and treatment are extremely important.
Until recent years, it was believed that children outgrew ADHD in adolescence. This is because hyperactivity often diminishes during the teen years. However, it is now known that many symptoms continue into adulthood. If the disorder goes undiagnosed or untreated during adulthood, individuals may have trouble at work and in relationships, as well as emotional difficulties such as anxiety and depression.
Some of this information was compiled and adapted from CHADD, a national organization providing education to adults and parents with children who have ADHD.
Being in a relationship, whether with a spouse/partner, a child, a parent or a friend, can help us to learn more about ourselves as we interact with them. Often these are the people for which we have our most serious conflicts. Learning how to accept and respect the differences between ourselves and work with them in a kind, caring and respectful nature can be a challenge at times but a worthy goal to accomplish.
Understanding the mind/body connection and how we can use this knowledge to become healthier can make a significant difference in our happiness and general well being. Such simple attentions to sleep, diet, exercise and the practice of living in the present moment more regularly can greatly improve our mental and emotional health.