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How do mood disorders differ from normal behavior in children?

James J. McGough, MD
Psychiatry
Mood disorders in children need to be distinguished from normal development. It’s normal for children who are 10 to 13 years old to be somewhat oppositional or noncompliant with their parents. If a child is bad tempered at the dinner table but otherwise has good grades, healthy friends and engages in healthy activities, you need not worry about a mood disorder. Children who suddenly have intense moodiness that lasts for several days or who seem irritable or angry for a long time should be seen by a healthcare professional.
 
Medication and psychosocial therapy can help control symptoms of mood disorders. Parents may want to seek help from a mental health professional for an evaluation.
Mood disorders in children need to be distinguished from normal development. It’s normal for children who are 10 to 13 years old to be somewhat oppositional or noncompliant with their parents. If a child is surly at the dinner table but otherwise has good grades, healthy friends and engages in healthy activities, you need not worry about a mood disorder. Children who suddenly experience intense moodiness that lasts for several days or who seem chronically irritable or angry should be evaluated.

Medication and psychosocial therapy can help control symptoms of mood disorders. Parents may want to seek help from a mental health professional for an evaluation.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.