Consequences of mental and developmental disorders in childhood and in adolescence

Consequences of mental and developmental disorders in childhood and in adolescence
Photo by Marisa Howenstine / Unsplash

Dealing with the subject of mental disorders, we generally talk about neurotic disorders. Still, other selected psychiatric behavioural disorders have their onset and effect on human beings like autism, attention-deficit/ hyperactivity, and conduct disorder.

India is home to the largest number of adolescents in the world. Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation data estimated the prevalence of mental health morbidity among adolescents in India, at 10.67 %, and in schools, it was more than 23 %. In 2019, there were an estimated 51.8 million adults aged under 19 in India with any mental disorders. However, more than 8 million Indian children and adolescents are suffering from conduct disorder which is the highest.

Conduct disorder is a child’s antisocial behaviour towards the basic social standard and rules. Autism and Neurodevelopmental disorder are other behavioural disorders that need public health attention. Behavioural disorders can be explained as emotional disturbances, concentration, forgetfulness, impulsiveness, unexplained headache, and aggressiveness.

Studies state that risk factors for Mental and Developmental Disorders in Children and adolescents have poor social support, the breakdown of extended and joint families, the ambiguity of societal values, inadequate parenting, an increasing gap between aspirations and possible achievements, substance abuse, and other developmental-behavioural problems. Studies on school-going children stated that Peer problems, emotional problems, hyperactivity problems followed by conduct problems were the most common mental health problems. It is more common with boys due to the prevalence of bullying-related involvement in schools. The study in North India identified the consequences related to behavioural disorders such as stigma, parental stress, and the burden of care as only a few families believe that their child has any psychiatric problem. Most parents, teachers, and other adults are not sensitive to notice their subtle forms of behavioural problems.

Childhood and adolescent mental and developmental disorders are an emerging challenge to the health care system. Children’s health is highly dependent on the health and the well-being of their caregivers, the environments in which the children live (including home and school); and the social environment where they transition into adolescence. Where Mental health problems are one of the most unattended issues among adolescents, and there is a high mental health treatment gap, schools need to be increasingly promoted as educational environments have a significant influence on adolescents’ well-being. It can addresses the determinants of mental health by educating parents and teachers to improve the quality of relationships with children to ensure a safe, secure, and appropriate environment.

Children under parental care significantly have fewer problems than children out of parental care. Therefore, many Indian and International studies recommended Parental skill training or Family-based care through educating them about psychotic care and teaching behavioural strategies and to enhance the parental role through education and training, thereby improve the emotional and behavioural outcomes of their children. For children or adolescents with autism and intellectual disabilities, parent-mediated interventions are helpful for children.

Consequences of mental and developmental disorders in childhood and adolescence
By Shipra Agarwal, Senior Qualitative Researcher, Health Care