I was shocked to learn that twenty percent of Amercian children suffer from mental illness according to the U.S. Surgeon general. This should make us, as parents, more aware of what the illnesses are that can affect young minds so that we can prevent them from growing up into troubled addicts.
Children are prone to suffering from anxiety orders. This causes them to respond to certain fears and situations with a great deal of dread. If your child is nervous, sweating and suffering from a rapid heartbeat in certain situations it may not be because he or she is being defiant. There may be a real phobia triggering the anxious reactions behind it that require treatment by a psychiatrist.
Kids with pervasive disorders have trouble understanding the world around them. They are not stupid kids. They simply perceive the world differently than everyone else. Kids like these might also suffer from learning or communication disorders; this is very common and keeps your kid from finding a great job as an adult or going on to higher education.
Teens with eating disorders are a great concern. Do not ignore this one! If you have a daughter who eats and then throws up to keep her weight down or one who is stick thin, get her to therapy immediately. This type of behavior is very self-destructive and also lingers into adult-hood. Teens with these disorders may also have trouble eliminating or urinating. They may develop phobias around eating because they do not want to make any waste.
Disruptive behavioral disorders, such as defiance disorder (where the child is very rebellious) can be a real problem and affect your child's chances of staying in school. Defiant kids are often angry kids that go down the wrong path in life so be sure to get you kid help if he does exactly the opposite of what all of the elders tell him to do in life. Remember too, that as you take this kind of child to treatment, that is not a bad or evil kid, he simply suffers from a compulsion to defy anything that he feels might control him.