Most Common Psychological Disorders in Children

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It is a common misconception that children don’t suffer from mental health issues. However, the reality is quite opposite to what the general masses believe. Reports clearly show that one out of every five kids suffers from some sort of mental illness.

When children suffer from mental or psychological disorders, it affects their behavior and personalities to a great extent. This can lead to paving a way for a life that often leads to drug abuse, alcohol and violent behavior. 

Psychological disorders are very common among children especially those from ages of 13 to 18. Reports from several psychologist in UAE show that only 50% of the children have their disorders identified and treated. 

On this note, today, we’re going to throw some light on the most common mental health issues or psychological disorders that children can develop. So, let’s delve deeper in it, shall we?

What Are the Symptoms?

Raising kids isn’t an easy job especially when they’re going through emotional ups and downs. Almost every kid goes through emotional restlessness and shows periods of moodiness that can impact their overall life.

However, being a parent, it is your duty to know if your child is just going through a phase or struggling with something serious. Although there’s no single cause for these mental illnesses, children can display a number of symptoms that help in identifying the disorders. Some of the most signs are:

  • Sudden changes in their sleeping habits.
  • Poor performance at school.
  • Persistent boredom.
  • Frequent headaches and stomachaches.
  • Constant nightmares or sleepwalking.
  • Bedwetting, throwing tantrums or becoming too clingy.
  • Aggressive behavior.
  • More risk-taking behaviors that show less concern for their safety.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Disturbance in their eating habits.

If you feel or observe any of the following signs in your kid, schedule a visit with a  psychiatry expert at your earliest as the longer a child struggles with the disorder, the more difficult its treatment becomes.

Most Common Psychological Disorders in Children

Among many psychological disorders, the most common are anxiety, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). On the other hand, developmental disorders and psychotic disorders are less common, but have a high probability of having a lifelong impact on the children.

With that said, let’s take a look at some common mental health issues children are prone from suffering: 

Anxiety Disorder

Being anxious sometimes or fearing to try new things is quite normal in children. However, showing this anxiousness and fear frequently shouldn’t be taken lightly as it can be a sign of anxiety disorder. 

Anxiety disorder is the most common mental health issue in kids. It includes separation anxiety and panic attacks. Children with this disorder display persistent fear and worry that disrupts their participation in everyday activities like school. This often occurs in children who form a strong dependency with an adult.


Some children have consistent feelings of sadness, loneliness and lack of interest in general. This can disturb their attention span and limit their interaction with other children. This can be a sign of depression. Also, it gives way to bipolar disorders where children have extreme mood swings, which are dangerous for both the child and the people around them.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral disorder that results from a number of factors affecting the development and functioning of the brain.

It is basically a disruptive behavioral disorder which impacts a child’s impulsiveness, attention span and hyperactivity. Children that have ADHD usually show a lack of attention to details, have trouble finishing the work they’ve started, are impatient, and can be hyperactive. These children also make careless mistakes and can show impulsive behavior. Often it is a combination of all these.

Parents generally complain that these children often lose themselves in daydreaming, are generally forgetful, have a hard time resisting temptation and are difficult to get along with.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Children experiencing this psychological disorder become extremely worried in different situations. The continuous feelings of unease and fear are common symptoms of this disorder. Situations such as separation from parents can trigger this disorder in small children.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

ASD is a developmental disorder or a neurological condition that appears in early childhood. It impairs children’s ability to communicate and to socially interact with others. The severity of ASD varies from child to child. However, it’s signs usually begin to appear around the age of 3.

Eating Disorder

This particular disorder deals with the preoccupation of an ideal body type. One’s thoughts gravitate towards weight and weight loss, unsafe eating and severe dieting habits.

This disorder usually develops alongside others like bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa and binge- eating disorder. These can result in social and emotional dysfunction and often life-threatening physical complications. If not treated in time, eating disorders can cause death as well.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

This disorder results from prolonged emotional distress, disturbing and distressing memories, anxiety, nightmares and disruptive behavior. The root cause of this problem is usually some type of abuse, violence or injury.

PTSD generally develops in children in response to some past traumatic experiences such as physical, sexual or emotional abuse. The children who develop or show signs of PTSD may be the victim themselves or may have seen someone close getting abused.

The common symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, episodes of panic attacks, disturbance in sleeping patterns, flashbacks, etc. It can give rise to several other psychological issues such as OCD, ASD, etc.


It is a disorder dealing with perceptions and thoughts that cause one to lose touch with what’s real or their reality (psychosis). This usually occurs in the late teens and may develop throughout your 20s. It can result in hallucinations, disordered thoughts and behavior as well as delusions.

Moving Forward

In a nutshell, like adults, children are also prone to develop psychological disorders that can greatly impact their everyday life. Being a parent, it is your duty to closely monitor your kid’s behavior and if you feel they are suffering from a mental illness, be sure to get them the help that they need. Remember taking your little one to a well-reputed psychiatrist dubai clinic in time will not help in early diagnosis, but it’ll also make the treatment easy.


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