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FC Home Mental Illness in Children Treating Mental Illness


The information provided in this section is re-printed from WebMD.  To access more information about mental illness in children, you can visit their website at www.webmd.com.  If you have questions about childhood mental illness, or wish to make an appointment for your child to have a consultation, please contact the Fulton County Oak Hill Child, Adolescent & Family Center at (404) 612-4111.


Mental illnesses are like many medical disorders, such as diabetes and heart disease, that require ongoing treatment.  Although much progress has been made in the treatment of adults with mental disorders, the treatment of children is not as well understood.  Experts are still exploring treatment that work best.  For now, many of the treatment options used for children, including many medications, are the same as those used in adults but with different dosing.  The most common treatment options include the following:

  1. Medication - the medications often used to treat mental disorders in children include anti-psychotics (neuroleptics), anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, stimulants, and mood stabilizing drugs.
  2. Psychotherapy - psychotherapy (a type of counseling often called therapy) addresses the emotional response to mental illness.    It is a process in which trained mental health professionals help people deal with their illness, often by talking through strategies for understanding and dealing with their symptoms, thoughts, and behaviors.  Types of psychotherapy often used with children are supportive, cognitive - behavioral, interpersonal, group, and family therapy.
  3. Creative Therapies - certain therapies, such as art therapy or play therapy, might be helpful, especially with young children who might have trouble communicating their thoughts and feelings.

What Are the Side Effects of Treatment for Mental Illness?

Different medications have different side effects, and some children are not able to tolerate certain drugs.   Although the medications used to treat mental disorders in children are generally considered safe, the doctor might need to change drugs or dosages to minimize side effects.

What is the Outlook for Children with Mental Disorders?

Without treatment, many mental disorders can continue into adulthood and lead to problems in all areas of the person's adult life.  People with untreated mental disorders are at high-risk for many problems, including alcohol or drug abuse, and violent or self-destructive behavior, even suicide.

When treated appropriately and early, many children can fully recover from their mental disorder or successfully control their symptoms.  Although some children become disabled adults because of a chronic or severe disorder, many people who experience a mental illness are able to live full and productive lives.

For more information on treatments for mental illness in children, you can visit the WebMD website at www.webmd.com.  You also can contact the Fulton County Oak Hill Child, Adolescent and Family Center at (404) 612-4111.  The Fulton County Oak Hill Child, Adolescent & Family Center provides behavioral health services to Fulton County youth between the ages of 0 to 21 years old.



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