How Early Can We Detect Mental Health Struggles?

Therapy session with woman on couch

How Early Can We Detect Mental Health Struggles?

There are a wide array of mental health disorders that exist in today’s world.  Fortunately, doctors, psychiatrists, and counselors are well educated and able to detect early signs, which can be key for prevention of some illnesses.  The presence of mental health struggles has been around for centuries.  Before the utilization of research studies and neurological technology, a mental health disorder could go undiagnosed and unmedicated for many years.  


Nowadays, the early signs of some illnesses can be spotted as early as infancy.  When a baby is in their first year, they see the doctor for numerous check-ups.  The doctor looks for signs the child is developing normally, such as head circumference, eye contact, vocalization, and meeting proper milestones.  While children can vary greatly in regards to milestones, there are general ages where doctors should begin doing testing to rule out the development of any disorders.  One red flag of autism is when a child has mastered a skill, but then regresses or loses that skill after a short time.  While there are signs in the first year that suggest its presence, autism can typically be diagnosed sometime during the second year of life.


Depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia all have the ability to present themselves during childhood, as well.  Although it is rare for someone under the age of 13 to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, it does have the possibility of developing before the age of 18.  Bipolar disorder, which is characterized by severe mood swings and socially inappropriate behavior, can show in earlier years of childhood.  When bipolar presents itself in childhood, it is typically more severe than when it starts in adolescence.  Depression among children is becoming much too prevalent, with 2.5% of children in the United States suffering from it.  


Learning early signs of some mental health disorders can keep them from getting out of control.  Many times, a person may suffer from more than one illness at a time, so combatting one early enough can prevent the other from showing up.  If your child or someone you know has disorganized thinking, abnormal behavior, skill regression, severe paranoia, or other similar symptoms, it may be a good idea to have them evaluated.  The presence of mental illness in the United States is at an all time high, and early prevention can be the key to reducing it.


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