Common Childhood Mental Health Disorders

A child’s mental health problem may be harder to identify, but you can learn to recognize the symptoms. Pay attention to excessive anger, fear, sadness or anxiety. Sudden changes in your child’s behavior can tip you off to a problem. So can behaviors like exercising too much, or hurting or destroying things.

Some common mental health problems in children are

Mental health problems can disrupt daily life at home, at school or in the community. Without help, mental health problems can lead to school failure, alcohol or other drug abuse, family discord, violence or even suicide. However, help is available. Talk to your health care provider if you have concerns about your child’s behavior.

Conduct Disorder

Persistent antisocial behavior (theft, cheating at games, lying, etc.), not isolated antisocial acts. Children may project toughness, but usually have low self-esteem. Conduct disorders often co-occur with depression, low problem-solving skills, learning disorders, substance abuse, or ADHD. Conduct disorders may be mild, moderate, or severe.


A mood disorder which may occur singly, recurrently, or following a manic episode as bipolar disorder. Youth may be sad, overtired, or express hopelessness. Conversely, they may become angry or irritable, get into trouble at school, or abuse alcohol or drugs.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Follows a psychologically distressing event, such as child abuse, natural disasters, seeing a homicide or other violent or traumatic event. These youth may be detached from others, have trouble sleeping, concentrating, or have various physical symptoms like headaches or stomachaches.

Pervasive Developmental Disorders

A group of serious conditions(Autism, Rett’s Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder) marked by distortions, deviations, and delays in social and motor skills, language, attention, perception, and reality testing.