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When to See the Doctor

Unlike standard medical illnesses such as colds or earaches, emotional problems don’t always present clear-cut symptoms. As a parent, you often have to play detective, watching your child closely for any changes or inconsistencies that appear in his behavior or habits.

If your child presents any of the following, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician or other specialist to talk about what might be happening:

  • Changes in level of concentration: Is your child’s focus constantly shifting?
  • Sudden anger or outbursts: Does your child become angry over seemingly insignificant things?
  • Reduced level of communication: Has your child stopped talking with you and confiding in you?
  • Isolationism: Does your child spend more and more time alone?
  • Lack of attention to hygiene and personal appearance: Does it seem you child no longer cares how she looks?
  • Unexplained drop in school performance: Are your child’s teachers concerned?
  • Disinterest in formerly enjoyable activities: Has your child lost interest in things that used to excite him?
  • Unusual conflict with friends: Is your child having more-than-the-usual trouble with her friends?
  • Increased aggression and argumentativeness: Do you see increased combativeness and uncooperativeness in your child?

This list is not all-inclusive. You know your child better than anybody else does, so use the above to help you determine if a call to the doctor is necessary. Remember that many emotional conditions begin with these types of symptoms and can grow more serious if untreated.