Friday, January 27, 2006

Preschoolers Experiencing Mental Health Problems

Researcher Dr. Adrian Angold, from Duke University in North Carolina, found that more than one in ten preschool children may be experiencing early mental health problems that are likely to disrupt their lives. Scientists were shocked to discover large numbers of those under five meeting the criteria for mental and behavioral disorders seen in school age children, adolescents and adults. In more then 11 percent of cases, children suffered symptoms bad enough to affect their daily lives. They included ADHD, serious disruptive behavior, depression and anxiety.
By parents filling out questionnaires, psychiatrists rated 307 pre-school children. Questions were carefully designed to spot behavioral traits commonly associated with different kinds of mental illness and disability. Many were found to have a range of problems, often displaying symptoms of more than one kind of disorder. Anxiety showed itself in a number of ways, including generalized fear, phobias, and terror at being separated from parents. Children with depression showed typical symptoms of sadness, irritability, disturbed sleep ,and lack of appetite. In 11.3 percent of cases, the problems encountered were classified as “serious emotional disorders” bad enough to disrupt daily life. Older children with similar difficulties were held back at school, socially isolated and unable to forge relationships.

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