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While itís easy for caregivers to recognize that their child has a high fever, evaluating a child's mental health is different. Some of the warning signs that a child or adolescent might have a mental health problem include poor performance in school, loss of interest in activities and people previously enjoyed, sleep problems, obsession about or lack of interest in appearance or weight, or unexplained fears.

It is critical that caregivers seek help for their child as soon as they suspect a problem. Without help, mental health problems can lead to alcohol or other drug abuse, school failure, family discord, violence, or even suicide.

The fact is that many children--and adults--have mental health problems. Caregivers need to seek help for their child just as they would seek treatment if their child had a high fever.

While many children with mental health problems and their families only need brief counseling, other children with more severe problems and their families may require comprehensive services, such as mental health treatment, primary health care, special education, or medical assistance.

Three of the most common brain disorders in children and adolescents are attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), major depression, and anxiety disorders. For more information on these and other childhood onset brain disorders, click on the "Disorders" icon for disorder-specific information.

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