Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

Early childhood mental health information

Mental health problems in childhood

Pre-school problems

Pre-school problems such as sleep problems, tantrums and feeding problems are relatively common. Moderate to severe behavioural problems have been found in 7 per cent with mild problems in a further 15 per cent, with a slight male excess. Disorders starting in pre-school years can persist into later life. Children with difficult temperaments are more likely to react to adverse family factors and present psychological difficulties beyond their pre-school years. Similarly, shy children are more likely to present with anxiety related problems later.


The essential features of this disorder are developmentally inappropriate degrees of inattention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity. The British have used more stringent criteria in the diagnosis of ‘hyperkinesis’ with a point prevalence of 1.7 per cent  with the condition being more frequent in boys. North Americans use a wider criteria for ‘Attention Deficit Disorder’ (ADHD) affecting around 10 per cent of children.

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