Children and adolescents can be afflicted by any of several prevalent mental health disorders, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Disruptive behavioral disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Mood disorders
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Addiction to drugs

A mental health problem can not only affect the way a child thinks or feels emotionally, but also can strongly influence behavior as well as producing physical complications as well.

Many parents unnecessarily blame themselves for the mental illness of their children. The causes of mental illnesses are complex and may have little or nothing to do with parental responsibilities. Regardless of cause, treatment of mental problems during childhood is essential because if they remain unresolved, they can interfere with development of intellectual capacity and emotional maturity. Some mental problems do not emerge until adolescence, when peer pressure to achieve in school or engage in rebellious behavior exerts strong emotional influence, sometimes resulting in:

  • Mood disorders (including depression, dysthymia and bipolar disorder)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorders
  • Social phobias or disruptive behavioral disorders such as ADHD
  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • Conduct disorder

The Child and Adolescent Division of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UC Davis Children's Hospital operates an advanced clinical program to analyze and treat children and young adults exhibiting symptoms of these and other mental disorders. The rapidly growing Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is recognized as a leader in high-quality education, treatment and research benefiting children in northern and central California.