If a person who is far from the medical world glances into the medical encyclopedia, the article entitled “Neurosis” will surely impress him. First of all, its impressive volume and long list of phenomena that (as it turns out) are included in this concept.
Today, a whole list of the most diverse problems is attributed to neuroses: from hysterics, fears, aggressiveness and obsessive actions like thumb sucking to stuttering, ticks, sleep disorders, appetite and even urinary and urinary incontinence. Such seemingly dissimilar phenomena have common features.
All of them, firstly, are connected with our psyche and emotions, and secondly, are reversible. Neurosis, unlike more serious disorders, is not associated with impaired perception of the world or changes in consciousness, and therefore is amenable to adjustment.
This is not so much a diagnosis as a borderline, a signal that a crack has appeared in a person’s nervous system or in a person’s state of mind. How deep it is and by what methods it is better to eliminate it, only a specialist can decide. And he immediately faces the main problem – to distinguish the norm from pathology.
In other words, to understand what exactly a child needs: medications, help from a psychologist, or simply the love and attention of parents.
A pediatrician, a neurologist or a child psychotherapist, but not the parents, grandmothers and friends of the family should deal with this issue. If something in the condition of the child bothers you, a visit to the clinic will definitely not be superfluous. The specialist will assess the fairness of your concerns and figure out whether the problems are caused by natural growth processes.
After all, this is the main feature of all childhood diseases that babies, unlike adults, are growing. Their nervous system is also gradually improving, and as soon as the “foundation” becomes more stable, the “cracks in the facade” also cease to deepen, gradually becoming imperceptible.
Many neurotic disorders also eventually disappear in babies by themselves, and some even occur because of too active growth. For example, tics and obsessive movements (finger sucking, winding hair on the finger, scratching, swaying the body, grimacing, etc.), which are sometimes found in children 4–7 years old, are associated with the peculiarities of the maturation of the nervous system.
They, as a rule, stop as soon as the imbalance between the needs and capabilities of the body is eliminated.
At the same time, there are a number of neurotic disorders in which the child necessarily requires not only a doctor’s consultation, but also a thorough examination. These include incontinence of urine and feces (they may be associated with the pathology of internal organs), sleep disturbances (sometimes caused by brain dysfunction) and appetite (problems of the digestive or endocrine systems must be excluded), as well as any situations involving pain.
Nevertheless, even for doctors, the answer to the question whether everything is in order with the child may be far from simple. Where is the line that separates the natural fear of the dark from an obsessive phobia? And children’s whims with tearful crying and shouts – from neurasthenia?
A universal diagnostic algorithm for all children simply does not exist. Sometimes, to understand the situation, the doctor or psychologist has to conduct a whole investigation with long conversations, tests, analyzes.
Parents, without risking self-diagnostics, it is first necessary to know when it is time to be on their guard and seek qualified help.
The main criteria for psycho-emotional problems are stereotype and insuperability. This may be the same persistent fear (for example, the baby is afraid only of sewer manholes and nothing more, but this fear keeps him out of the staircase every day) or the same intrusive movement (for example, an irresistible craving for sucking with changing “Does not disappear, but only transforms: instead of the nipple, the child begins to suck a finger, a handkerchief, a strand of hair, etc.). At the same time, it is extremely difficult to influence a child with a neurological disorder with a word: persuasion, conviction, punishment not only have no effect, but aggravate the problem even more.
And vice versa: if the little horny beats his head against the floor in front of his mother and grandmother, but for some reason never arranges such ideas in the presence of the father, then he is fully capable of controlling himself and is clearly a behavioral problem.
Pathological disorders do not just “spoil the image” of a child and annoy parents. Like any disease, they are different from the normal state that interfere with normal life activity.
If the fear of darkness allows the child to eventually fall asleep (albeit after whimpering) and can be calmed by leaving a lit night light, this is a natural and familiar situation for most of us. When the crumb every night with sobs refuses to go to bed, because someone scary lives under the bed, and monsters crawl out of the dark window – he needs help.
And the next question: what should it be?
There is a bearded joke: “In our hospital we are cured of what they die of.” Almost any condition can be regarded as a symptom of the disease and summarized under one or another medical term. Unfortunately, sometimes parents come to the doctor with just such an unconscious desire: to hear the diagnosis and get a prescription, and not having achieved either one or the other, they feel disappointed.
In case of neurosis, one should not count on a long list of appointments, rather the opposite: after all, they do not even treat him, but correct him. In the fight against most neurotic disorders, the main role is not played by pills (although vitamins, amino acids, and sedatives can be given to the child), but by other means: educational, pedagogical, psychotherapeutic.
The reason for most neuroses is the traumatic experience a child has received. That is why the main task of treatment is to find and eliminate it. Moreover, not only large-scale events that change a child’s life (such as entering a kindergarten, moving or divorcing parents) can have a long-term negative effect.
The emotional state of the baby is a reflection of what is happening in the family. Anxiety, fears, stress parents are guaranteed to be transmitted to the child.
The situation in the family itself can be a traumatic factor for a child, and not necessarily with violent scandals – a rather cold and hidden negative attitude towards each other.
A perfect trifle can turn out to be traumatic (from the perspective of adults): a dog barked, drove in a stuffy crowded bus, my mother scolded me for a soiled little dress. That is why, in search of the source of the problem, it is impossible to dismiss even children’s fictions and whims. Parents from the height of their years and mind is very difficult to imagine how this or that event can affect a small child.
Where it is thin, it breaks there: one and the same fact on a child with a “stable” nervous system will not produce any impression, an emotional and excitable crumb can deprive sleep and rest for a long time, and in a child with a vulnerable urinary system it will lead to enuresis.
Children’s psychologists, psychotherapists and neurologists help in correcting neuroses, but the main work falls on the shoulders of parents. If a traumatic event happened in the past, you need to help your child cope with its consequences – for example, gradually overcome fear through conversations, play and fairy tale therapy.
If the baby is “undermined” by an unhealthy life situation, it will be necessary to make adjustments to the way of the whole family. A banal change in the mode of the day can sometimes have a more noticeable effect than any pills.
It is only important to understand what the child needs: someone needs more mother’s attention, someone needs less tiring circles and sections, someone needs a change of scenery and moving out of town. No doctor can understand the needs of a little man better than loving parents.
But just to see the world through the eyes of their child, they need to squat down to start.