Every child has behavioral issues from time to time, but a child exhibiting chronic and exaggerated behavioral problems or severe social maladjustment can cause parents and teachers a great deal of distress. While many behavioral outbursts are nothing more than a regular part of the maturing process, others may be routed in more concrete, physiological causes. As part of every well-child visit, we will evaluate children for behavioral issues across the pediatric spectrum. However, it’s important to note that we do not treat anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disease, but we will be able to refer you to a mental health provider to confirm diagnosis and determine what kind of treatment may best benefit your child.
While every child’s personality is unique, there are a number of relatively common issues that may result in behavioral problems:
Children’s Conduct Disorder (Oppositional Defiant Disorder)
- Conduct disorder is a serious behavioral and emotional disorder that can occur in children and teens. A child with this disorder may display a pattern of disruptive and violent behavior, have problems following rules, and can become a danger to themselves or others.
Children’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of mental illness that causes repeated unwanted thoughts. To get rid of the thoughts (obsessions), a person with OCD does the same tasks over and over (compulsions). For example, you may fear that everything you touch has germs on it, so you wash your hands over and over again. Medication and psychotherapy can often help bring these feelings under control.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- This well-known condition makes is extremely difficult for a child to pay attention and focus on a single task for any length of time. People who have ADHD tend to act without thinking, have trouble sitting still, and find it difficult to even complete projects that they enjoy. Without treatment, ADHD may cause problems at home, at school, at work, and with relationships.
Autism and Autism Related Disorders (Asperger’s Syndrome)
- Both Asperger’s syndrome and autism belong to the group of disorders called autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), once known as pervasive developmental disorders. They are characterized by a pronounced difficulty communicating with and relating to others. Children with these conditions may have poor social skills, prefer routine, and experience extreme anxiety in the face of changing routines.
- Depression is a problem with the brain’s neurochemistry that causes feelings of extreme sadness, loss of interest in things that were once enjoyed, withdrawal from others, and loss of energy and initiative. It’s more than normal sadness, grief, or low energy. Most people get better with medicine, counseling, or a combination of the two.
Social Anxiety Disorder
- Social anxiety disorder causes a child to be so fearful about what they will say or do in front of other people that they avoid social settings like work or school completely. It’s more than just being shy or nervous before public speaking, but can eventually develop into a truly debilitating condition. Counseling and certain medications can often help.