Warning signs

Every year, many parents face an unsettling family situation. With little warning, their child’s behavior takes a noticeable change for the worse. They may become unusually sad or constantly disruptive. Their performance in school may noticeably decline, eating habits change, or they avoid their usual friends. How does a parent know if this is just a phase or truly a problem? The best way is to become familiar with the warning signs of emotional and behavioral problems, and to seek professional help if they persist.

Pay Attention to Warning Signs

A child is troubled by feeling:

  • Really sad and hopeless without good reason, and the feelings don’t go away.
  • Very angry most of the time, cries a lot, or overreacts to things.
  • Worthless or guilty a lot.
  • Anxious or worried a lot more than other young people.
  • Grief for a prolonged time after a loss or death.
  • Extremely fearful or has unexplained fears or more fears than most children.
  • Constantly concerned about physical problems or appearance.
  • Frightened that his or her mind is controlled or is out of control.

Experiences big changes, such as:

  • Doing much worse in school.
  • Losing interest in things he/she usually enjoyed.
  • Unexplained changes in sleeping or eating habits.
  • Avoiding friends or family and wanting to be alone all the time.
  • Daydreaming too much and unable to get things done.
  • Feeling that life is too hard to handle or talking about suicide
  • Hearing voices that cannot be explained.

Is limited by:

  • Poor concentration and can’t make decisions.
  • Inability to sit still or focus attention.
  • Worry about being harmed, hurting others, or about doing something “bad.”
  • The need to wash, clean things, or perform certain routines dozens of times a day.
  • Thoughts that race almost too fast to follow.
  • Persistent nightmares.

Behaves in ways that cause problems, including:

  • Use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Eating large amounts of food and then forcing vomiting, abusing laxatives, or taking enemas to avoid weight gain.
  • Continuing to diet or exercise obsessively although bone-thin.
  • Often hurting other people, destroying property, or breaking the law.
  • Doing things that can be life threatening.
  • Unexplained cuts and burns.
  • Extreme moods.

How to Seek Treatment

If a child is displaying any of the warning signs listed above, it’s important to get help as soon as possible. A primary care doctor can help guide you in the proper direction by referring you to health care professionals who specialize in child and adolescent behavioral issues. The counselor at your child’s school may be another good source of information. Help is available, so don’t let anything stand in the way of a child’s healthy future.

We’re Here to Help

Offering a wide range of youth and adolescent programs for emotional and behavioral issues, Clarity Child Guidance Center is a nonprofit organization and United Way Agency specializing in treatments in San Antonio for children with mental illness . We accept commercial insurances, CHIP, TRICARE, Medicaid and also have many alternative methods to fund a child’s treatment.

Our licensed professionals will help you evaluate your child’s situation and decide the next step. This assistance is free. A quick call today will start putting your mind at ease.