Treat children's mental disorders early

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Mentally ill children should be treated before they start school

Around ten percent of preschool children are affected by mental disorders such as depression or ADHD, which are clinically relevant and therefore require treatment. This is what Professor Alexander von Gontard, Director of the Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University Clinic of Saarland, points out in the course of the current conference "Mental disorders in pre-school age" in an interview with the news agency "dpa". The specialist in child and adolescent psychiatry advises treating mental disorders as early as possible, before starting school.

Early treatment of mentally disturbed children saves a lot of suffering. Currently around 450 experts in Homburg are discussing the topic of mental disorders in children. "This conference is dedicated to mental disorders in toddlers and preschoolers and aims to provide an overview of the current state of research as well as specific aspects of diagnostics and therapy. Well-known experts have kindly agreed to contribute to this conference with their scientific knowledge and clinical experience, ”Professor Alexander von Gontard is quoted in a press release from the university hospital. In an interview with the news agency, the expert explains what parents should look out for in their children.

"According to many studies, about ten percent of preschool children have clinically relevant mental disorders, that is, those with impairments and high levels of suffering," reports the expert. The range of disorders ranges from "eating disorders, excessive screaming to post-traumatic stress disorders to autistic and ADHD disorders". If parents notice any abnormal behavior in their children, the pediatrician is the first point of contact. “Educators or early intervention centers should increasingly stimulate an idea in psychiatry in the event of psychological abnormalities. However, many parents come on their own, ”explains von Gontard. Unfortunately, there are only a few centers in Germany that specialize in preschool children. The offer must be expanded further.

Parents are involved in the therapy of mentally disturbed children. If a child shows behavioral problems, the first step is to clarify whether it is actually a disorder that needs treatment. Heap is already enough advice. “Then there is parent training, parent interaction training and parent groups. From the age of four you can also carry out individual therapies for the child, ”says the specialist in child and adolescent psychiatry. “The younger the children are, the more important it is to work with and with their parents.” Von Gontard advises that children with mentally ill children should be started before starting school. This could prevent a lot of suffering and secondary consequences.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common diagnosis in children. Von Gontard, however, advises caution. ADHD can only be diagnosed at the age of three. "For young children, ADHD often has significant social consequences, such as problems with their peers, parents and educators, or exclusion from kindergarten." Parent-child training must first take place. Only if this shows no success, the child is significantly restricted due to the disorder and is at least four years old, can drug therapy be considered. (ag)

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