Sucks the thumb on a mental disorder

Mentally problematic children: when do behavioral problems become signs of a mental illness in the child?

When it comes to signs, experts differentiate between inward and outward-looking symptoms: Outward-looking symptoms include aspects of aggressive and violent behavior, irritability, hyperactivity, outbursts of anger, impulsiveness, refusal to perform, irresponsible behavior or even screaming for no apparent reason. Inward-looking symptoms include anxiety, over-cautiousness, depression (persistent sadness or apprehension), loss of personal interests, difficulty concentrating, decreased performance, sleep disorders and nightmares, regressions in development (e.g. bed-wetting, thumb sucking), physical complaints such as abdominal pain or Nausea for no apparent physical cause, withdrawal from social life or emotional dulling. In everyday life, these symptoms manifest themselves, for example, in frequent conflicts with other people, in noticeable eating and drinking behavior, in repeated lying or the reluctance to go to school, etc., a sudden drop in performance or an emotional sensation that others do not notice.


The most common psychiatric illnesses in childhood and adolescence include anxiety disorders (e.g. with panic attacks), regulation problems (e.g. attention deficit disorder - ADHD), attachment disorders, eating disorders, depression, behavioral disorders, addiction problems (e.g. Internet or gambling addiction), trauma-related disorders (e.g. sexual abuse) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (e.g. compulsive washing).


Parents who notice symptoms of the kind described above in their child over a longer period of time should consult the responsible pediatrician, who can consider in an initial consultation whether an appointment with a specialist in child and adolescent psychiatry or a psychologist is necessary.