Understanding and addressing mental health issues with our primary care team.
According to AAFP, one in six children in the US have a mental health disorder. While we tend to focus on our child's general health and keeping them healthy, we often forget that staying healthy means also tending to our mental health. After all, our mental health affects us emotionally, socially, professionally, physically and psychologically. If your child's health has taken a dip due to mental health issues, our Brookfield, IL, and Addison, IL, pediatrician Dr. Walter Perez can help.
How Can My Primary Care Doctor Help My Child Deal With Mental Health Problems?
Our mental health affects how we feel, think and behave. Everything from our life experiences and family history to our genes can dictate our mental state. Mental health problems are widespread, but there are many ways for us to help you recover. A child with a mental health disorder may act out, no longer enjoy activities they once loved or experience changes in eating and sleeping habits. If your child is dealing with mental health problems, one of the first people you can turn to is our Brookfield, and Addison, IL, physician.
Burnout, depression, anxiety…we’ve seen it all, and we want your child to feel comfortable talking with us. Dr. Perez can assess your child's mental health, prescribe medication, educate you and them on lifestyle changes that could improve their mood, and provide a referral to a pediatric mental health professional.
What Are the Warning Signs of Declining Mental Health?
First, it’s essential to recognize the warning signs of a mental health problem in children and teens. Symptoms will vary from child to child, but some of these telltale signs include,
- Avoiding friends and family and withdrawing from social engagements
- A loss of enjoyment in activities you once loved
- Having little to no energy
- Sleeping too much or not sleeping enough
- Experiencing unexplained aches and pain
- Noticing feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
- Eating too much or not eating enough
- Feeling on edge, angry, forgetful or upset
- Experiencing more discord or fights with family and friends
- Mood swings
- Misusing alcohol, tobacco and other drugs
- Experiencing feelings of self-harm or harming others
- Having trouble with work or school performance
Understanding these warning signs means you can immediately get your child the care they need from our Brookfield, IL, and Addison, IL, pediatric team. There is no shame in getting treatment. Just as you turn to a doctor for medication when you have an infection, you can also turn to our team when your child is dealing with mental health issues.
Maintaining good mental health offers an endless array of long-term benefits for your child, including,
- A more fulfilling life
- Reduced stress and better coping strategies
- Significantly improved quality of life
- More rewarding relationships
- Increased productivity and school performance
There are also so many habits that children can adopt every day to improve their mental state, including,
- Getting enough sleep each night
- Eating a healthy diet
- Getting regular physical activity
- Finding outlets to reduce stress (e.g., meditation)
- Enjoying social interactions and connecting with others
- Staying positive
You don’t have to do it alone. If your child is dealing with anxiety, depression, PTSD or other symptoms, our Brookfield, and Addison, IL, physician Dr. Perez and the A to Z Pediatric and Youth Healthcare team. Call (708) 905-5993 or (630) 757-4010 to schedule an appointment.