Emotions run deep
It's not just physical vulnerabilities that your child can inherit from you. Certain psychological and emotional issues can also be a family affair. In particular, there's a strong genetic component to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as to several mood and anxiety disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
While it may feel harder to reveal a history of mental health problems to your pediatrician, it's important that you do. That way, if your child develops certain warning signs, such as unusual sadness, irritability, anxiety, inattention, or a change in appetite, sleep or ability to enjoy things, the doctor may be able to zero in on the cause—and get your child help—a lot sooner.
To learn more, check out:
- AAP.org/parents.html Click on "behavioral health" in the topics menu.
- AACAP.org Use the search tool to find a child and adolescent psychiatrist.
- NIMH.NIH.gov Click on "mental health topics" for links to info on ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression, and more.
Stacey Colino lives in Chevy Chase, MD.