Emotional Disturbance is a mental disorder that affects children. It is a disorder characterized by long periods of inappropriate behaviors, mood swings, and inability to perform in school. The emotional disturbance has the biggest toll on school performance. The emotions have a major impact on learning. Children begin to have an inability to learn that is not related to sensory, physical, or mental abnormalities. There are also feelings of depression and sadness which may also lead to withdrawal from social activities. Fear may also become a norm, and behavioral issues may begin. Treatment for emotional disturbance requires therapy not only for your emotions but also for behavior.
Diagnosing Emotional Disturbances
Emotional disturbance is typically diagnosed in a school setting. It is commonly found amongst children. If a child is usually upbeat and excelling in their classes, and may have a day they are down, you will not classify them as having an emotional disturbance. Emotional disturbances last for years. It sounds like something that is a one-time occurrence, but it is not. Emotional disturbance is a general term used for many different disorders. Some disorders that fall under this category is anxiety disorders, conduct disorders, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and OCD. We are more familiar with these specific disorders. Most of us would not characterize them all under the same umbrella. But when you look at it, they are all emotional disturbances.
When talking about emotional disturbances, you cannot just talk about one specific disorder because it includes many. This also means that there are many different symptoms. Emotional disturbances can sometimes go undiagnosed because children are sometimes hard to read. They are changing and developing so much; you are unaware whether or not they are just going through a phase, or they are having real mental issues. In cases where a child’s normal behavior completely changes or school performance starts to decrease, there may be an emotional disturbance. There are a few symptoms of emotional disturbance.
Most children tend to be happy and full of life. When a child is persistently in a somber mood, they could be suffering from an emotional disturbance. The inability to pay attention may also be related to the emotions. Children do not have a long attention span. As kids get older, their attention span increases which allows them to learn more. When a child cannot sit down long enough to learn, that is a problem. Behavior is another major factor for emotional disturbances. Unexplained anger, crying, or laughing can be an emotional disturbance. Children should not start crying or become angry for no reason. This is something that you should be concerned about and seek help for. Impulsive behavior, as well as inappropriate behavior, should also be monitored. When a child enjoys gruesome activities, that should raise concern.
Causes of Emotional Disturbances
There are many different causes of emotional disturbances. Not all of them are related to mental illness. They may also come from your diet and family dysfunction. Genetics plays a role in emotional disturbances. Genetics usually becomes a factor when mental illness is involved. Things like that can run in the family. Diet is important not only for physical health but also mental and emotional health. A poor diet can make you emotionally unstable. The food you eat fuels your mind. When you do not give your body the nutrients it needs, it can affect you emotionally. The home should be a happy place, but when stress and dysfunction are the norms, you may become emotionally disturbed. It can lead to anxiety and depression. In children, especially, it affects their school work and behavior.
Psychologists and psychiatrist treat emotional disturbances. The first step of treatment is determining which emotional disturbance a child has. Treatment for bipolar disorder will be different from treatment for OCD. You do not want to start treating the wrong disorder or else that may lead to other problems. If mental illness is the cause, medication is usually the best form of treatment. The diet-related emotional disturbance is first diagnosed through a blood test. When certain substances in the body are too high or too low, changes need to be made. The doctor may change your diet altogether or add vitamins to the diet. Family or stress related emotional disturbances can be treated through therapy. Changing the family dynamics or removing stressful situations out of your life can cure your emotional disturbance.
We have all had moments where we get emotional or behave inappropriately; this does not mean we have an emotional disturbance. Anytime this behavior becomes persistent there is a problem. Pay attention to your children’s behavior, especially in a school setting. The first diagnosis is typically made based on the child’s inability to perform well in class. It may not mean your child does not want to learn; they may have a deeper issue. Talking with a psychologist about these things will help them make a diagnosis. Treating the symptoms early will help your child excel in class again.
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