Mental health conditions and disorders do not only affect adults. Children and teens can experience mental health problems, too. Research has shown that most mental disorders follow a developmental course that usually starts early in life. This is the case with conditions, such as autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which are known for beginning in childhood. Mood, anxiety and psychotic disorders may also be recognized in childhood. Many people who suffer from depression, social phobias, obsessive compulsive and bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia showed signs before they reached the age of 24.
Just like adults, children and adolescents can experience intense emotions as they get older or when stressful or traumatic events occur in their lives. For instance, it is common for children to feel anxious about school or friendships, and teens can have periods of depression after a death in the family.
Mental disorders can cause ongoing, severe symptoms that affect how a child feels, thinks, acts and handles daily routines, such as attending school, sleeping or eating. It is crucial to know the signs and seek help.
Many times, it can be confusing to know whether your child is experiencing pain or is going through a normal stage. When a child who usually excels in school begins to get failing grades, finds they can’t fall asleep or stay asleep, is angry or irritable, it may be a good idea to seek therapy for them. Thriveworks in Reston, VA Child and Adolescent Therapy/Counseling offers the expertise and knowledge of therapists and counselors that are professionally licensed and have years of experience in the field.
Reasons to Seek Fairfax Child and Adolescent Therapy/Counseling
It can be tough to tell if troubling behavior in a child is just a normal part of growing up or a problem that should be discussed with a therapist or psychologist. If signs and symptoms last weeks or months or if issues interfere with the child’s daily life at home, at school and with friends, it is prudent to contact a therapist.
Your child or adolescent may need the help of a therapist if they show the following signs.
- Often is anxious and worried.
- Has frequent tantrums or is intensely irritable much of the time.
- Is in constant motion and can’t sit quietly for any length of time.
- Has trouble sleeping, including frequent nightmares.
- Fear of gaining weight; exercises, diets obsessively.
- Has low or no energy.
- Has spells of intense, inexhaustible activity.
- Harms himself, such as cutting or burning the skin.
- Engages in risky, destructive behavior.
- Has thoughts of suicide.
- Thinks his mind is controlled or out of control, hears voices.
Scenario for a Child or Adolescent with an Eating Disorder
Eating disorders are described by having irregular eating habits and severe distress or concern about body weight or shape. Eating may include inadequate or excessive food intake, which can ultimately damage an individual’s well-being. The most common forms of eating disorders include Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder and affect both females and males. Eating Disorders are treatable, but the symptoms and consequences can be harmful and deadly if they are not addressed. In addition, eating disorders commonly coexist with other conditions, such as anxiety disorders, substance abuse and depression.
Types of Eating Disorders
The three most common Eating Disorders are:
- Anorexia Nervosa. Individuals suffering from anorexia nervosa usually have an obsessive fear of gaining weight, refusal to maintain a healthy body weight and an unrealistic perception of body image. Many people with Anorexia Nervosa will limit the quantity of food they eat and view themselves as overweight—even when they are obviously underweight. Anorexia can have many negative effects on the health, such as brain damage, multi-organ failure, bone loss, heart difficulties and infertility. The risk of death is highest in people with this Eating Disorder.
- Bulimia Nervosa. Bulimia is characterized by repeated binge eating, followed by behaviors that compensate for overeating, such as vomiting that is forced, excessive exercise or the extreme use of laxatives or diuretics. People with Bulimia may fear weight gain and feel very unhappy with their body size and shape. Binge eating and purging is usually done in secret, which creates feelings of shame, guilt and lack of control. Bulimia can have effects like gastrointestinal problems and heart difficulties that result from an electrolyte imbalance.
- Binge Eating Disorder. People with this disorder lose control over eating frequently. It is different from Bulimia, because the binging episodes are not followed by purging, fasting or excessive exercise. Many people suffering from this disorder may be obese and have an increased risk of developing other conditions, such as cardiovascular disease. Individuals who deal with this disorder may also have intense feelings of guilt, distress and embarrassment related to their binge-eating, which, in turn, could cause the Eating Disorder to further progress.
Signs and Symptoms of an Eating Disorder
- Chronic dieting despite being seriously underweight.
- Constant weight fluctuations.
- Obsession with calories and fat contents of food.
- Engaging in ritualistic eating patterns, such as cutting food into tiny pieces, eating alone or hiding food.
- Continued fixation with food, recipes or cooking.
- Cooking intricate meals for others, but refusing to participate.
- Depression or lethargic state.
- Avoidance of social functions, family and friends.
- May become isolated and withdrawn.
- Switching between overeating and fasting.
The therapists and counselors at Thriveworks ensure the environment is a safe and inviting one, helping children and adolescents feel protected from any threats they may have of their sense of control. The therapist will work with the child to find out about their issue, uncover what they are feeling and take the journey with them to make a strategy to a healthier and enjoyable life.
Thriveworks in Reston, VA Child and Adolescent Therapy/Counseling: Experienced, Professionally Licensed and Credentialed Therapists
The therapists, counselors, and psychologists at Thriveworks Reston, VA in Fairfax have professional licenses, credentials and the knowledge of the many kinds of issues that children and adolescents face—from eating disorders and parental divorce to learning disabilities and the loss of an individual in the family or somebody close. Thriveworks therapists work with the child and parents in order to find the path to mental wellness.
Therapists and counselors at Thriveworks in Reston, VA have an understanding of the physical, mental and behavioral development of children and adolescents and are experts in the specific issues they face. Schedule a session with Thriveworks Reston, VA for child and adolescent therapy and counseling, where you won’t be placed on a waiting list. Appointments are available in 24 hours for most new clients.