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Learning about Different Symptoms and Disorders 

What are the symptoms of mental disorders?

Symptoms of mental disorders change over time as a person ages, and may include difficulties with how a person, learns, speaks, and acts, or how the person handles their emotions. Symptoms often start in early childhood, although some disorders may develop during the teenage years as well as adulthood. The diagnosis is often made in the school years and sometimes earlier; however, some children with a mental disorder may not be recognized or diagnosed as having one.


What is the impact of mental disorders in children and Adults?

Mental health is important to overall health. Mental disorders are chronic health conditions—conditions that last a long time and often don’t go away completely—that can continue through the lifespan. Without early diagnosis and treatment, children and adults with mental disorders can have problems at home, work, in school, and in forming friendships and relationshop . Mental disorders can also interfere with a child’s healthy development, causing problems that can continue into adulthood.

What you can do if you are a:


Parents: You know your child best. Talk to your child’s healthcare professional if you have concerns about the way your child behaves at home, in school, or with friends.


Youth /Adult: It is just as important to take care of your mental health as it is to take care of your physical health. If you are angry, worried or sad, don’t be afraid to talk about your feelings and reach out to a trusted friend or adult.


Healthcare professionals: Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment based on updated guidelines are very important. There are resources available to help diagnose and treat children’s mental disorders.


Teachers/school administrators: Early identification is important so that children can get the help they need. Work with families and healthcare professionals if you have concerns about the mental health of a child in your school.


                  Mental Disorders

Mental disorders among children, young adults and adults are described as serious changes in the way a person typically learns, behave, or handle their emotions, which cause distress and problems getting through the day.

Healthcare professionals use the guidelines in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical to help diagnose mental health disorders.

Click on these links to learn more about selected disorders, including symptoms, treatment:

Group Meeting


Anxiety and Depression 

Many have fears and worries and may feel sad and hopeless from time to time. Strong fears may appear at different times during development. For example, toddlers are often very distressed about being away from their parents, even if they are safe and cared for. Although fears and worries are typical in children, persistent or extreme forms of fear and sadness could be due to anxiety or depression. Because the symptoms primarily involve thoughts and feelings, they are sometimes called internalizing disorders.



Occasionally being sad or feeling hopeless is a part of everyday life. However, some feel sad or uninterested in things that they used to enjoy or feel helpless or hopeless in situations they are able to change. When the feeling persistent of sadness and hopelessness, they may be diagnosed with depression.


Oppositional Defiant Disorder

When someone acts out persistently so that it causes serious problems at home, in school, or with peers and coworkers, they may be diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). ODD usually starts before 8 years of age, but no later than by about 12 years of age. People with ODD are more likely to act oppositional or defiant around people they know well, such as family members, a regular care provider and or everyday people. 


Behavior or Conduct 

Sometimes argue, are aggressive, or act angry or defiant around adults. A behavior disorder may be diagnosed when these disruptive behaviors are uncommon for the child’s age at the time, persist over time, or are severe.  Because disruptive behavior disorders involve acting out and showing unwanted behavior towards others they are sometimes called externalizing disorders.

Conduct Disorder (CD) is diagnosed when children show an ongoing pattern of aggression toward others, and serious violations of rules and social norms at home, in school, and with peers. These rule violations may involve breaking the law and result in arrest. People with CD are more likely to get injured and may have difficulties getting along with peers.


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder 

People that have OCD occasionally have thoughts that bother them, and they might feel like they have to do something about those thoughts, even if their actions don’t actually make sense. For example, they might worry about having bad luck if they don’t wear a favorite piece of clothing. For some the thoughts and the urges to perform certain actions persist, even if they try to ignore them or make them go away. Some may have an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) when unwanted thoughts, and the behaviors they feel they must do because of the thoughts, happen frequently, take up a lot of time (more than an hour a day), interfere with their activities, or make them very upset. 


Post-traumatic Stress Disorder 

People that have PTSD may experience very stressful events that affect how they think and feel. Most of the time, children recover quickly and well. However, sometimes children and adults who experience severe stress, such as from an injury, from the death or threatened death of a close family member or friend, or from violence, will be affected long-term. The child could experience this trauma directly or could witness it happening to someone else. When children and adults develop long term symptoms (longer than one month) from such stress, which are upsetting or interfere with their relationships and activities, they may be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder


People with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (may act without thinking about what the result will be), or be overly active. Although ADHD can’t be cured, it can be successfully managed and some symptoms may improve as the child ages.


Tourette Syndrome


Tourette Syndrome (TS) causes people to have “tics”. Tics are sudden twitches, movements, or sounds that people do repeatedly. People who have tics cannot stop their body from doing these things.

 For example, a person might keep blinking over and over. Or a person might make a grunting sound unwillingly.

Having tics is a little bit like having hiccups. Even though you might not want to hiccup, your body does it anyway. Sometimes people can stop themselves from doing a certain tic for a while, but it’s hard. Eventually the person has to do the tic.

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