Austin Regional Clinic

Pediatric Mental Health

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As pediatricians, we manage the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of our patients, in every stage of development, in good health or in illness. When you have concerns about your child’s mental or behavioral health, your ARC pediatrician will help you determine the kind of help you need and will help you access the right resources for your child. 

As primary care physicians, we are concerned with more than physical well-being of our patients; we are also involved with the prevention, early detection, and management of other problems that affect children and adolescents, including the following: 

Signs to watch for 

Behavioral disorders-- Behavioral disorders involve a pattern of disruptive behaviors in children that last for at least six months and cause problems in school, at home, and in social situations. Nearly everyone shows some of these behaviors at times, but behavior disorders are more serious. Behavioral disorders may involve: 
  • Inattention
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsivity
  • Defiant behavior
  • Drug use
  • Criminal activity 
Behavioral disorders include: 
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
  • Conduct Disorder 

Developmental disorders—Developmental disorders are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. These conditions begin during the developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning, and usually last throughout a person’s lifetime. Developmental disorders in children include: 
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Intellectual disability 

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can keep a child from developing social skills. This is in part because a child with ASD may not be able to understand facial expressions or emotions in other people. A child with ASD may: 
  • Not want to be touched
  • Want to play alone
  • Not want to change routines 

Anxiety disorders--All children and teens have some anxiety. It is a normal part of growing up. But sometimes worries and fears don’t go away. They may interfere with a child’s normal activities. In these cases, an anxiety disorder may be present. The symptoms of an anxiety disorder may seem like other health problems. Symptoms may be a bit different for each child, but a few of the most common symptoms of general anxiety disorder are: 
  • Many worries about things before they happen
  • Many worries about friends, school, or activities
  • Almost constant thoughts and fears about the child’s safety or the parents’ safety
  • Refusing to go to school
  • Frequent stomachaches, headaches, or other physical complaints 

Anxiety disorders in children include: 
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Phobias
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 

 If you have any questions about your child exhibiting these or other concerning behaviors, be sure to bring them to your pediatrician’s attention. 

Just as we believe that we are on a team with our patients and their families, ARC pediatricians and clinical staff also work together, using the ARC philosophy of coordinated care to help keep your child’s entire healthcare team informed. Because pediatrics is a collaborative specialty, ARC pediatricians work with other medical specialists and healthcare professionals to provide for the health and emotional needs of our patients.

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