Emotional Disorders List
An emotional or behavioral disorder is related to emotional difficulties experienced by children and adolescents. It is hard to separate troubling behavior from a serious emotional problem because children's behaviors exist on a continuum. A child is said to have a specific "disorder" or diagnosis when his or her behaviors are severe and occur frequently. Professionals can tell from a child's behavior whether he or she has a specific mental health disorder or if it is just a problem that all children might experience from time to time.
According to research on the cause of emotional disorders, the brain of a child with a disorder receives and processes information in a different way compared with those who do not have those problems. However, this is not the case with all children with emotional disorders. Technologies that study the central nervous system and the relationships between brain chemistry and behavior provide new understanding on the development of emotional disorders. However, one of the most important sources of information used by professionals to diagnose emotional or mental disorders remains interviews with the child, parents or other family members.
Professionals view emotional and behavioral disorders in different ways. Their training, their experience and their philosophy about the cause for a child's problems usually shape their outlook and their treatment plan. The classification system Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition Revised (DSM-IVR), which is the most popular in the United States, provides a list of emotional and behavioral disorders from its diagnostic criteria.
Adjustment disorders refer to emotional or behavioral symptoms displayed by children when they are not able to appropriately adapt to changes or to stressful events in their lives for a specific period of time (between three and six months after a stressful event or a change). The symptoms are marked distress, or impairment in school or social functioning. Adjustment disorders are relatively common, affecting between 5 and 20 percent of children.
Anxiety disorders are disorders whose main feature is exaggerated anxiety. This group includes school phobia, post traumatic stress disorder, avoidant disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder and panic attack. Temporal anxiety is typical of all children as a reaction to stressful experiences at home or in school, but when it is intense and persistent and interferes with the child's functioning it may be diagnosed as anxiety disorder.