AnswerChildren with a tendency toward attention deficit/hyperactivity have a hard time sustaining attention, make careless mistakes, seem not to listen when spoken to, do not follow instructions, are disorganized and easily distracted. They fidget and squirm in their seat, run and climb everywhere and have a hard time staying quiet. They have difficulty waiting for their turn, interrupt others and butt into conversations and games.
AnswerBorderline personality is characterized by marked recklessness and instability in interpersonal relations, self-image and emotions. Excessive, shifting emotions generate aggressive or self-destructive behavior. Relationships are unstable and intense. Threats to commit suicide and suicide attempts reflect both distress and manipulation. Risky behaviors are aimed at feeling alive and fighting an impression of emptiness. Borderline teenagers often are alcohol and drugs users. Stress can bring in depersonalization and short-term hallucinations.
Conduct disorder is a set of repeated, persistent behaviors that involve violating the basic rights of others or age-appropriate social norms and rules.
These kids show little empathy. They interpret others’ intentions as hostile and threatening, and respond with aggression they feel reasonable and justified. They don’t feel guilt or remorse. They show poor tolerance towards frustration, irritability, temper outbursts, and recklessness.
Boys are prone to fighting, stealing, vandalism and behavior problems at school; girls are more likely to lie, skip school, run away, use alcohol and drugs, and prostitute themselves.
AnswerDepressive disorders are characterized by a depressive or irritable mood, a loss of interest or pleasure, and a number of other symptoms like sadness, thoughts of death, trouble sleeping, etc. Children and adolescents describe themselves negatively and think no one loves them. Parents notice irritability, mood swings, endless complaints about minor things, and a lack of interest in favored activities. Depressed children and adolescents cry easily.
AnswerGeneralized anxiety is a tendency toward anxiety in general. It involves disproportionate worries about events or activities like school performance. Worries may concern almost anything and are difficult to control.
Opposition and Defiance
AnswerOpposition involves a set of negative, hostile or provocative behaviors. It manifests itself through stubbornness, resistance to following instructions and a refusal to compromise, yield or deal with adults. Provocation involves deliberately and permanently testing limits, ignoring or challenging orders and refusing criticism. Hostility is expressed through verbal aggressiveness and the desire to annoy others. The child or teen is in constant conflict with parents, teachers and classmates and justifies this behavior as a response to unreasonable demands or unfair circumstances.
AnswerSeparation anxiety is excessive anxiety over separation from home or from people the child is attached to, generally her/his parents. Reactions to separation are excessive and inappropriate, beyond what is expected based on the child’s developmental level. Separation anxiety is normal in young children, but it tapers off before they go to school.
AnswerThe fear or intense anxiety that characterizes social phobia is based on the fear of being negatively judged (crazy, stupid, boring, unlikeable, etc.). The adolescent fears blushing, sweating, hands trembling, stuttering, offending others, etc.
Phobias are persistent, intense, unreasonable or excessive fears, triggered by a specific object or situation (e.g., flying, heights, animals, injection, seeing blood).
Because it is normal for children to have fears, for a phobia to exist, the child or adolescent has to feel a pronounced, persistent and unreasonable fear in the presence of, or when anticipating a confrontation with a specific object or situation.
Strengths and Competencies
AnswerThe strengths and competencies of a child are a set of personal abilities and skills that are important to keep balanced behaviors in various social situations and environments (home, peer, school). This includes a positive impression of one’s personal skills and an ability to establish and sustain good relations. These skills protect children/adolescents against mental health problems and create ‘resilience ‘.
AnswerPsychoactive substances use often starts during adolescence. Cannabis, alcohol and tobacco are generally the first substances they try. Potentially addictive substances stimulate the pleasure inducing brain reward system.
AnswerSuicidality refers to the whole range of behaviors and thoughts related to suicide, i.e. a continuum from suicidal ideation (thoughts about the desire to die) to threats of committing suicide, suicide attempt and completed suicide. The intentionality of the desire to die takes the form of a plan.