YOUTH - Emotional disorders in childhood and adolescence

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Emotions are part of every man's life. They are normal, natural and adaptive. Whether they are positive or negative emotions, they provide valuable information about the experiences we are confronted with and especially about how we represent in mind those situations. The purpose of a healthy emotional life is not to completely eliminate the negative emotions that we feel, such as fear, worry, remorse, dissatisfaction, but to have a balance between them and the positive ones. Emotions become maladaptive when they are not in balance with the situations they appear. For example, when you are preparing for an important test, the anxiety you may feel is a normal reaction that can help you to motivate you to study. Instead, if anxiety is so high that it prevents you from concentrating to learn, then emotions become maladaptive.

When an abnormal functioning of thoughts and emotions occurs, the resulting psychological condition defines an emotional problem. Mental problems in childhood and adolescence are often classified into two main categories: emotional (internalizing) disorders and behavioral (externalizing) disorders. In contrast with externalizing disorders characterized by maladaptive (external) behaviors (e.g. destruction, aggression), those with emotional (internalizing) disorders maintain problems "for them". Whatever the situation, it interferes with the social, familial and academic functioning of young people.

Just like when we spend too much time in the cold and the next day our head and neck hurt, we have fever, our nose is clogged, we sneeze very often, and the doctor tells us that we have a cold, the mind can tell us that something is not ok. The sleep program may be irregular, whether we spend much more time sleeping than usual, or do not sleep enough, which lowers our level of energy. We lose the interest in things that previously enjoyed us and we avoid to spend time with friends.

Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate between an emotional problem and a normal behavior for a certain period of development in a man's life. During childhood, anxiety can be a normal and often encountered, due to the fact that the little ones have fewer experiences than adults and they can often see multiple situations as terrifying. For example, children aged 1-5 are afraid of strangers, storms, certain animals or darkness, but they overcome these fears over the time. In addition, children are dependent on their parents for emotional support, and often seek attachment people when they face with situations they consider dangerous.

However, if the signs or symptoms persist for a longer period of time after the end of a certain stage of development and affect the normal functioning of the person, not only at home, but also at school or with friends, then discussing with a mental health specialist is of good augur. For instance, it is not normal for a child aged 8-9 to be afraid of strangers, and this will significantly affect how he adapts to school or makes new friends.

Later, during adolescence, young people go through a period of transition, governed by physical and psychological changes that mark the pass to adulthood. Most changes in adolescent life are normal, and familial support and understanding are extremely important in this period. The transition to maturity also has a major impact on the emotional functioning of young people. Often, adolescents, especially girls, can face depressing periods, where everything seems hopeless, they have the impression that they are misunderstood and their own person is depreciated. In many situations, depressive mood can be replaced by irritable mood for children and adolescents.

In conclusion, emotional health is as valuable as the physical one, and it is extremely important to be mindful of how we feel and think. Normal and natural emotions, whether positive or negative, must always be respected, and emotional states that affect our familial, social or academic functioning must be discussed with a specialist. Remember: Keep a healthy mind in a healthy body!