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    Signs of problems and disorders

    All children may experience problems with their mood or behavior from time to time. In some cases, these problems may be a normal part of a child's stage of development. In other cases, behavioral or emotional problems may be understandable reactions to a change in a child's environment or routine, such as sadness after the divorce of parents or the death of someone close to them.

    When a child's problems persist over a long period of time or begin to interfere with relationships, performance at school or everyday living, these may be signs of a mental health problem or disorder. Many people are surprised to learn that mental health problems are relatively common among young people – in fact, they are as common as a fractured limb. 

    The path to improved health often begins with a family's awareness of concerning behaviors, which may include:

    • Overactivity or difficulty paying attention
    • Anxiety, worry or fear
    • Sadness and depression
    • Problems with food or body image
    • Extreme anger, aggression or defiance
    • Tendency to use drugs or alcohol
    • Unusual thoughts or experiences

     


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