Children are extremely susceptible to mental illnesses. At their young age, their minds rely on instinct instead of reasoning, thus making them vulnerable to mental disorders, particularly when placed under certain circumstances. Bullying in school, household problems, and problems with their friends, can all lead to mental problems if undetected and untreated.

The US Surgeon General reported that around 20% of children in America suffer from some sort of mental illness that can be diagnosed and treated if detected at an early stage. Unfortunately, many children around the world, and not just in the US, are suffering from undiagnosed mental problems. A good amount of them carries these problems into adulthood where it can be more difficult to treat.

Whether you have children of your own, or have been designated as a guardian of a child, you need to be aware of the most common mental health illnesses that are associated with children. Once you are familiar with the signs and symptoms of these illnesses, you will be able to seek treatment early on, thereby preventing it from getting worse.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are common in children who have been subjected to unusually harsh environments. This happens when a child expects the worst of a given situation. Some of the symptoms are:

  • Rapid heart beat
  • Excessive sweating even when not engaged in physical activity

If you suspect that your child is suffering from an anxiety disorder, you should seek treatment before it develops into something much worse.

Development Disorders

Children with development disorders have difficult time understanding their environment. It is normal for children to ask questions to try to understand a given situation, but if the situation is explained and the child still does not understand, then it could be a case of development disorder.

Eating Disorders

Parents know that children, especially toddlers, reach an age where they can be difficult to feed. However, when children reach an age where they should be able to eat on their own, but they are still experiencing difficulty or refusing food on a regular basis, the child may be suffering from an eating disorder.

Eating disorders in children are associated with emotional trauma or very intense emotions. It is important to realize that the disorder is merely a symptom of a much deeper emotional problem.

Mood Disorders

It is not uncommon to see children exhibit mood swings at times. However, if their “moody” behavior occurs on a regular basis or they just can’t seem to lift themselves up from this behavior, they could be suffering from a mood disorder. Children with mood disorders often display a certain degree of sadness. If there is absolutely no reason for a child to be sad, then they could be suffering from this type of disorder. It would be advisable to seek treatment for a child suffering from it in order to correctly identify the source of the problem and treat it accordingly.


Schizophrenia is one of the worst forms of mental illnesses found in children, and often in adults as well. This happens when children have a distorted perception of the world around them. It is important to realize that this is a serious disorder and must be treated as early as possible.


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