Pay attention to the following 10 signs that are commonly seen in mental and behavioral health problems.

  1. Changes in sleeping habits: Keep an eye on your child’s sleep routine. Sleeping much more than usual or requiring far less sleep may be cause for concern.
  2. Persistent nightmares: Occasional bad dreams are normal, but research in the British Journal of Psychiatry shows that children who have recurring nightmares or night terrors are more likely to experience psychotic episodes later in life.
  3. Physical aches and pains: Headaches, stomachaches, muscle pain, and other forms of physical discomfort are commonly seen in anxiety and depression. If your child has frequent physical symptoms with no apparent cause, it may be time to investigate.
  4. Difficulty making friends: Kids who have trouble relating to their peers or developing friendships may be showing signs of behavioral or developmental disorders.
  5. Changes in appetite or diet: If your young one suddenly loses their appetite or makes big changes to their daily diet, it could mean they’re having trouble.
  6. Mood swings: You may think moodiness is typical behavior for young people, especially teenagers, but having emotional outbursts, temper tantrums, or crying spells can be a sign they’re struggling.
  7. Poor school performance: Having trouble in school can be a red flag warning that a child is having some form of issue that’s keeping them from performing up to their potential. Taking a long time to complete homework that should only take a short while is another indication that there may be an underlying issue.
  8. Avoiding or missing school: Pay attention if children or adolescents are skipping school, as it can be a sign that something is troubling them. This is also a common sign of substance abuse.
  9. Persistent boredom: Tired of hearing your child say “I’m bored” all the time? Everyone feels bored from time to time, but chronic boredom is associated with mental health issues, like ADD/ADHD and depression.
  10. Argumentative, aggressive, and oppositional behavior: The “terrible twos” when a child says no to everything, stomps their feet, and throws tantrums are cute for a 2-year-old. It isn’t cute in older children or teens. This type of behavior deserves professional attention.

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