Athma Child Guidance Clinic

Introduction

India is the youngest country in the world. The wealth of a nation is not so much in its economic and natural resources alone, but it lies more decidedly in the kind and quality of its children and youth. It is they who will be the creators and shapers of the nation tomorrow. As such, it is essential to ensure their physical as well as psychological health to be able to contribute commendably for oneself, family, and the community. 

Childhood and adolescence are phases where children experience lots of changes, physically, emotionally, cognitively, behaviorally, and socially. 

 It is not an easy task to distinguish childhood and adolescence perception upon life as expected due to many factors, and it mostly lies in the hands of parents how quickly they identify the children’s problems and how they choose to handle the issues. This would principally determine the outcome of the future of children with mental issues.

If untreated, these conditions severely influence children’s development, their educational attainments, and their potential to live fulfilling and productive lives. 

Children with mental disorders face significant challenges with stigma, isolation, and discrimination, as well as lack of access to health care and education facilities, in violation of their fundamental human rights.

Who will do the counseling?

Any level headed person can do it. Nowadays, it is not possible because of the modernization of society. Interestingly on par with scientific advancements, psychology, and counseling along with psychiatric medicine, has made a big leap.

In western countries that are socially and economically advanced, mental health professionals are adequate to deal with while our country has very few counselors and mental health professionals, not even in the ratio of 1:50000. Fortunately, Athma Child Guidance Clinic has managed to assemble a host of mental health professionals who are dedicated, empathetic, and also scientific and systematic.

How ATHMA CHILD GUIDANCE CLINIC works?

A team of experts, including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors, and occupational therapists, form the core of ATHMA CHILD GUIDANCE CLINIC. Consultation services are strictly by appointment only to avoid unnecessary wastage of time. 

For the convenience of school and college-going students, the sessions are only in the evening.

Counsellors and psychologists do the initial evaluation. The client’s problems will be discussed with the psychiatrist, and the action plan will be decided. We have more than 200 assessment tools and scales to evaluate in detail about the personality, problem areas, IQ, EQ, learning capacity, aptitude, adjustment virtues, and defects. Based on the counseling, a mode of treatment is decided. If required, drugs will be prescribed. ATHMA CHILD GUIDANCE CLINIC is the only counselling centre in Tiruchirappalli run entirely by qualified specialists in a cordial and harmonious atmosphere. 

Psychological Problems of Children and Adolescents

  • Developmental delay
  • Poor communication that needs a lot of articulation 
  • Hyperactive reduced attention span.
  • Aggressive, short-tempered, and violent behaviour.
  • Speech delay.
  • Scholastic backwardness.
  • Learning difficulty.
  • Lack of concentration, memory problem
  • Forgetfulness and fear of examinations.
  • Playing truant, bullying other students, lying, stealing, and being abusive.
  • Severe sibling rivalry.
  • Stereotypic behaviour, not mingling or playing with other children, and always keep themselves aloof.
  • Throwing tantrums, aggressive, crying very often. Fear of phobias.
  • Sleep disturbances, nightmares caused by terror-filled dreams, and bedwetting.
  • A disturbed melancholic mind that loses the will to live and triggers suicidal attempts.
  • Always in opposition to what their parents feel or say.
  • Problems in the family, broken homes, and alcoholic, abusive fathers. 
  • Inability to cope with stress.
  • Difficulty in choosing academic courses.
  • Cerebral palsy and any form of mental and physical disability.
  • Misconceptions in sex.
  • Infatuation and trivial love affairs.
  • Failure in exams.
  • Drug abuse

Warning signs

Warning signs that your child might have a mental health condition include:

  • Mood changes: Look for feelings of sadness or withdrawal that last at least two weeks or severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships at home or school.
  • Intense feelings: Be aware of feelings of overwhelming fear for no reason — sometimes with a racing heart or fast breathing — or worries or fears intense enough to interfere with daily activities.
  • Changes in sleep pattern: The child may sleep excessively or experience sleep disturbances. 
  • Behavioural changes: These include drastic changes in behaviour or personality, as well as dangerous or out-of-control behaviour. Fighting frequently, using weapons, and expressing a desire to hurt others also are warning signs.
  • Difficulty in concentrating: Look for signs of trouble focusing or sitting still, both of which might lead to poor performance in school.
  • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain: A sudden loss of appetite or increased food intake, especially junk foods, ice creams, and chocolates. 
  • Physical symptoms: Compared with adults, children with a mental health condition might develop headaches and stomachaches rather than sadness or anxiety.
  • Physical harm: Sometimes, a mental health condition leads to self-injury, also called self-harm. This is the act of deliberately harming your own body, such as cutting or burning yourself. Children with a mental health condition also might develop suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide.
  • Substance abuse: Some kids use drugs or alcohol to try to cope with their feelings.
  • Social withdrawal: Reduced ability to function during events and activities at home or with friends, in school, extracurricular activities, and in other hobbies, vocal outbursts or crying

Common Mental Health Problems of Children and Adolescents

Children can develop all of the same mental health conditions as adults but sometimes express them differently. 

Children can experience a range of mental health conditions, including:

Intellectual disability

Intellectual disability (ID), formerly termed as mental retardation, is characterized by below-average intelligence or mental ability and a lack of capabilities required for day-to-day living. People with intellectual disabilities can and do acquire new skills, but they learn them more gradually. There are different levels of intellectual disability, from borderline, mild to profound.

Anxiety disorders

Children who have anxiety disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social phobia, and generalized anxiety disorder experience anxiety as a persistent problem that interferes with their daily activities.

Some worry is a normal part of every child’s experience, often changing from one developmental stage to the next. 

However, when fear or stress makes it hard for a child to function normally, an anxiety disorder should be considered. 

Depression

 The symptoms of depression in children vary. It is often undiagnosed and untreated because they are passed off as normal emotional and psychological changes that occur during growth. Children may not always have clinical symptoms of depression; we term it as “masked” depression, where a child’s depressed mood was evidenced only by acting out or angry behaviour.

Symptoms of Childhood Depression

  • Changes in appetite – either increased appetite or decreased
  • Changes in sleep – sleeplessness or excessive sleep
  • Continuous feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue and low energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Impaired thinking or concentration
  • Increased sensitivity to rejection
  • Irritability or anger
  • Physical complaints (such as stomachaches or headaches) that do not respond to treatment
  • Reduced ability to function during events and activities at home or with friends, in school or during extracurricular activities, or when involved with hobbies or other interests
  • Social withdrawal
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Vocal outbursts or crying

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder causes people to undergo notable, sometimes severe, shifts in mood and behaviour. Sometimes adolescents with bipolar disorder feel happy or “up” and are much more energetic and active than usual. This is called a manic episode

Sometimes children with bipolar disorder appear extremely depressed or “down” and are much less productive than usual. This is called a depressive episode.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

This condition typically includes symptoms in difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behaviour. Some children with ADHD have symptoms in all of these categories, while others might have symptoms in only one.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a severe developmental disorder that appears in early childhood — usually before age 3. Though symptoms and severity vary, ASD always affects a child’s ability to communicate and interact with others.

Cardinal symptoms of ASD

  1. Minimal response to sounds and familiar voices is another common characteristic. We can notice your child does not flinch or seem to register loud noises in the environment, he or she may not respond to your voice when you call or speak to them.
  2. Lack of gestural communication to get attentions such as holding arms out, pointing, waving, or shaking head.
  3. Child  may not make vocalizations such as cooing, babbling, or other baby talk. Many parents begin to feel concerned when they notice that their child is not speaking or attempting to make vocal sounds during infancy.
  4. Disinterest in acts of affection such as cuddles, hugs, or other forms of touch. Many children with autism are sensory sensitive and may not like to be touched, other children simply lack interest in these social practices.
  5. Delayed imitation typically relating to “watch and learn” behaviors from parents, siblings, or other children.

Eating disorders

Eating disorders — such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder — are dangerous, even life-threatening conditions. Children can become so preoccupied with food and weight that they focus on little else.

Schizophrenia

This chronic mental illness causes a child to lose touch with reality (psychosis). Schizophrenia most often appears in the late teens through the 20s.

Early symptoms of schizophrenia 

  1. social withdrawal
  2. Hostility or suspiciousness, extreme reaction to criticism
  3. Deterioration of personal hygiene
  4. Flat, expressionless gaze
  5. Oversleeping or insomnia; forgetful, unable to concentrate
  6. Odd or irrational statements; strange use of words or way of speaking

Hebephrenic Schizophrenia

Hebephrenic or Childhood schizophrenia is a schizophrenia spectrum disorder that is characterized by hallucinations, disorganized speech, delusions, catatonic behavior and “negative symptoms”, such as neglecting personal hygiene or appearing to lack emotion. 

: here the boy may have abnormal postures or gestures or movements like he may stand for hours at one place without any movement, or may wave his hands in the air continuously or repeatedly gesture like military salute at everyone or speak or repeat actions of others.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

ODD is a persistent behavioural pattern of angry or irritable mood; argumentative, defiant behaviour towards authority figures; and vindictiveness. In some children with ODD, these behaviours are only in evidence in one setting—usually at home.

Conduct disorder

 This is a severe behavioural and emotional disorder that can occur in children and teens. Fighting, bullying, being cruel to others or animals, Destructive behaviour such as arson (deliberate fire-setting) and vandalism (harming another person’s property), repeated lying, shoplifting, or breaking into homes or cars to steal, violation of rules, frequent temper tantrums, abuse of drugs and alcohol are some of the symptoms. These children when they reach adulthood turn to Anti social Personality.

Social Media Addiction

Social Media Addiction networking addiction is a phrase sometimes used to refer to someone spending too much time using Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media so much so that it interferes with other aspects of daily life.

Facts to know

  •  Not all children show clear warning signs. Most will display different symptoms at different times and in different settings. 
  • Children’s problems/changes can be noticeable in social activities, their interest in school and academic performance, or a change in appearance. 
  • Children may also begin using drugs or alcohol, especially if they are over age 12.
  • Rarely children under 12 attempt suicide – and may do so impulsively when they are upset or angry. 
  • Girls are more likely to attempt suicide, but boys are more likely to kill themselves when they attempt. 
  • Children with a family history of violence, alcohol abuse, or physical or sexual abuse are at higher risk for suicide, as are those with depressive symptoms that are more prone to suicide attempts or personality deviation.

FEATURES OF ATHMA CHILD GUIDANCE CLINIC

  • No Long Waiting Hours- Consultation strictly by appointment. 
  • Two hundred assessment tools and scales to evaluate the personality, IQ & EQ, aptitude, skills, adaptive capacity, depression, anxiety, Autism, ADHD, etc.
  • Multi-Disciplinary Approach- A team of experts including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors, and occupational therapists 
  • 24 X 7 Emergency Service- People can approach us anytime through our hotline number (98424-22121) in case of any emergency.
  • High confidentiality & Medications – if needed.
  • Group Therapy- Focused group therapy for students and parents.
  • School Mental Health Programmes- Mental health programmes have been organized in schools and colleges to handle stress, exam fear, suicidal thoughts, romantic break up issues, memory, concentration, and parental counselling. 

Statistics

  • 25% of school-going children are having some form of the psychological problem besides being mentally or physically challenged. Suicide has been noticed as a significant problem among adolescents in India. 
  • Tamil Nadu and Kerala hold the highest positions in the statistics. As we are all aware, putting students under enormous pressure to study could be a leading contributory factor in this matter.
  • Globally 10-20% of children and adolescents experience mental disorders. 
  • Half of all mental illnesses begin by the age of 14 and 
  • Three-quarters by mid-20s. Psychiatric conditions are the leading cause of disability in young people in all regions.
  • The prevalence of Learning Disorder was quoted as 15% of the Indian population.
  • The prevalence of developmental delays is about 30 per 1000 in the 14 year-old population. In rural areas, the incidence of mental retardation is 3.1% and in urban, it is 0.9%.
  • The number of disabled persons is highest in the age group 10-19 years 17% (46.2 lakhs). 

Team

Mr. D. Randheep rajkumar 

                                      Clinical Psychologist                                                                   

Ms.T. Monica   
Psychologist