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.