What are Children's Disorders?

There are certain disorders which are specific to children and if these disorders are neglected then it may lead to severe consequences in the future. Children have less self-understanding and they have not yet developed a balanced sense of identity and they also don’t have enough frame of reference concerning reality, possibility and value. Therefore, they aren’t able to cope up with stressful events that are shown in behavioural and emotional issues. 

Classification of children's disorders:

Achenbach identified 2 major factors i.e. externalization and internalization

  • Externalising disorders: Also known as under-controlled problems, these disorders include behaviours which are disruptive and generally aggressive and callous to others in the child’s surroundings. 
  • Internalising disorders: Also known as over-controlled disorders, these disorders include those conditions where the child experiences depression, anxiety and discomfort which may not be apparent to others. 

Types of Externalizing Disorders

  • Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  1. The two main features of ADHD are inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity.
  2. Children who suffer from inattention find it hard to sustain mental effort or focus attention during work and play. They cannot keep their mind on one thing and find it difficult to follow instructions.
  3. Common complaints are that the child is disobedient, cannot concentrate, is disorganised, forgetful and absent-minded, does not finish assignments and quickly loses interest.
  4. Children who are impulsive are found to be unable to withhold or control their immediate reactions or think before acting. They find it hard to wait or take turns, they have a hard time in resisting temptations or delaying gratification of needs. Minor mishaps like throwing things over are common but major accidents and injuries may follow.
  5. Children suffering from ADHD are in constant motion. This is also termed as hyperactivity. The child cannot sit still in one place for a long time. He/she may shout, squirm, fidget and run around the place aimlessly. Parents and teachers define them as “driven by a motor” always on the go and talkative. Boys are 4 times more likely to be given this diagnosis than girls.
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
  1. Children suffering from ODD exhibit age-inappropriate levels of stubbornness, irritation, defiance, disobedience and show hostile behavior. The rates of ODD in boys and girls are similar.
  2. Terms like Conduct Disorder and Antisocial Behavior point out to age-improper actions and attitudes which disregard family and societal norms.
  3.  In Conduct Disorder, the child shows aggressive behavior which may cause or threaten harm to people and animals or may also show non-hostile behavior like major deceitfulness and serious rule-violations.
  4. Aggressive behavior includes, verbal aggression like name-calling and cursing, physical aggression like fighting, hostile aggression like inflicting injury to others and proactive aggression like bullying others.

Types of Internalizing Disorders

  • Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
  1. The most noticeable symptom of SAD is excessive anxiety and panic experienced or faced by children when they are separated from their parents.
  2. Children suffering from SAD have a hard time in being in a room all by themselves, going to school alone or entering new situations and surroundings and thus, they cling to their parents.
  3. To avoid the separation the children may fuss, scream, cry, hide and throw severe tantrums.
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)
  1. Children suffering from PDD have severe and widespread impairments interacting with others and communication skills. They show stereotyped behavioral patterns, interests and activities.
  2. Autistic Disorder or Autism is the most common of PDD. Children suffering from Autism have hardships in social interaction and communication. They have a small range of interests and a rigid desire for routine. About 70% of such children are also intellectually disabled.
  3. These children face extreme hardships in relating to other individuals. They seem unable to exhibit behavior in accordance to societal norms. They may be unresponsive to other’s feeling and are unable to share emotions and experiences. They have abnormalities in language and communication skills. 
  4. Children suffering from Autism have repetitive and irregular speech patterns. They show narrow patterns of interests, repetitive behaviors like lining things up and stereotyped body movements like rocking. Some behaviors may be self-injurious like banging the head against the wall.
  • Eating Disorders:
  1. These disorders are of special interest to young individuals and include Bulimia Nervosa, Anorexia Nervosa and Binge Eating.
  2. Anorexia Nervosa: the person has a distorted body figure which leads him/her to consider him/her self as obese. The individual often refuses to eat and exercises in a compulsive manner thus, losing large amounts of weight and may sometimes even starve him/her self to death.
  3. Bulimia Nervosa: the individual eats large amounts of food and then purges his/her body of the food by using laxatives or vomiting. The individual often feels ashamed when he/she binges and feels relieved of all tension and worries when he/she purges.
  4. Binge Eating: in this disorder, there are regular episodes of out-of-control eating.

By understanding these disorders and the factors that cause them, every community can lend a hand in promoting healthy brain development of the children.