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What a child psychologist in Malaysia can do for my child? When should I see a child therapist?

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

Psychological issues in children often have good results if treatment starts early. Early detection, diagnosis, and intervention are key to improving a child's psychological well-being. But even with the advancement of technology, children with issues are still not getting the help and support they need on time. This result in lifelong issues that affect the functionality and acceptability of the child into the standard common system of life.

What are the common disorders among children?

Children, like adults, experience mental health issues or developmental disorders requiring psychological and psychiatric intervention. Some of the more common disorders are:

Anxiety disorders. Is your child constantly and persistently worried, fearful or anxious to the point where it disrupts their ability to participate in play, school or typical age-appropriate social engagements? If so, get them diagnosed for possible social anxiety, generalised anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Have you noticed that compared to other children, your child seems to have difficulties with attention, exhibit impulsive behaviours, is hyperactive or has a combination of any of these issues? Or have the teachers at the child's daycare centre or kindergarten said that this child is disruptive to the classes and other children? If yes, get them diagnosed for possible ADD or ADHD disorders. Remember, early intervention makes a huge difference to the treatment outcome. Contact a child psychologist from 360 Wellness Hub.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Autism spectrum disorder is a neurological condition that appears in early childhood — usually before age 3. Although the severity of ASD varies, a child with this disorder has difficulty communicating and interacting with others. Is your child avoiding eye contact with you? Does your child engage in repetitive behaviours? Is your child sensitive to loud sounds and bright lights and does not like to be touched? if yes, get them diagnosed for ASD.

Eating disorders. Eating disorders are defined as a preoccupation with an ideal body type, disordered thinking about weight and weight loss, and unsafe eating and dieting habits. Eati

ng disorders — such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder — can result in emotional and social dysfunction and life-threatening physical complications. Is your child picky with food? Do you find that your child is losing weight fast? Is your child avoiding food? Do you find your child obsessed with their weight? if yes, your child may be suffering from an eating disorder. This is a very serious disorder and cannot be "cured" by your scolding or forcing your child to eat more.

Depression and other mood disorders. Depression is persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest that disrupt a child's ability to function in school and interact with others. Bipolar disorder results in extreme mood swings between depression and extreme emotional or behavioural highs that may be unguarded, risky or unsafe. Does your child have constant meltdowns and breakdowns? are they telling you that they are thinking of killing themselves, or perhaps you have noticed that they are self-harming? If you think your child is just going through a phase and will snap out of it soon, this is called denial, and your child will not be able to snap out of it without medical and clinical intervention. Early detection matters. Stop allowing the stigma of mental illness to prevent you from seeking help for your child.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is prolonged emotional distress, anxiety, distressing memories, nightmares and disruptive behaviours in response to violence, abuse, injury or other traumatic events. Has your child been bullied in school? or have they been molested or raped? or perhaps they have seen something terrifying that has caused them to wake up at night crying or screaming? If so, your child needs to be properly assessed for

PTSD. Remember, early intervention matters, and time is not your friend. Get your child assessed immediately once you notice these symptoms.

Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a disorder in perceptions and thoughts that cause a person to lose touch with reality (psychosis). Most often appearing in the late teens through the 20s, schizophrenia results in hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking and behaviours. Is your child who has been perfectly ok until their teenage years suddenly behaving strangely and telling you all kinds of weird stories? Your child may have developed schizophrenia, and taking this child to see an Ustaz, Bomoh or shaman to ward away the evil spirit is not the solution. The problem is that something is wrong in his brain, and we must address that properly using evidence-based methods. I am not discounting that some of the methods used by the spiritualists work, but your child may not have schizophrenia in those cases, so please assess them.

What are the warning signs of mental illness in children?

Everyone wants a perfectly healthy child, but this desire often causes parents to be in denial and to delay taking their child to assess for mental health issues. I blame this on the way that society stigmatizes mental health issues. Be part of the waves of highly aware parents who choose to destigmatize mental health issues and take your child for assessment as early as possible once you notice these signs:

  • Persistent sadness that lasts two weeks or more

  • Withdrawing from or avoiding social interactions

Hurting oneself or talking about hurting oneself

  • Talking about death or suicide

  • Outbursts or extreme irritability

  • Out-of-control behaviour that can be harmful

  • Drastic changes in mood, behaviour or personality

  • Changes in eating habits

  • Loss of weight

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Frequent headaches or stomachaches

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Changes in academic performance

  • Avoiding or missing school

What should I do if I suspect my child has a mental health condition?

Here is where a child psychologist in Malaysia can help. Once diagnosed, a child psychologist can work with your child to change their behaviour, emotional mood swings, and sensory and cognitive issues using treatment methods such as play therapy and art therapy. At 360 Wellness Hub, we have on board child psychologists who work in a team to help your child lead a better functioning life.

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About the Author


Dr. Lennie Soo

Founder and Clinical Director of 360 Wellness Hub.

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