Text Box: Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month:
Autism and Co-morbid Disorders 

May is Children’s Mental Health Awareness month, May is dedicated to the children who suffer from many of the same illnesses as we hear about from adults. Most recently, Autism has become the one most identified in the media and public discussion areas. However, many of these children also suffer from co-occurring mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and ADHD. Our center is dedicated to early detection of these disorders and successful treatment therapies. Many parents of autistic children report they suspected something different about their child from infancy. Many of their concerns may have been minimized or dismissed all together,  by themselves, the pediatricians and other professionals. Fortunately, society has taken notice of this devastating illness and is focusing efforts on learning more about autism and other childhood mental health issues. Though there are no known cures for autism, we now are more aware of the warning signs which are listed below courtesy of the National Alliance for Mental Illness.
The child…    
does not cuddle or respond to affection and touching. 
does not make eye contact. 
appears to be unable to communicate. 
displays persistent failure to develop two-way social relationships in any situation. 
does not show a preference for parents over other adults. 
does not develop friendships with other children. 
has poor language skills; or nonexistent ones. 
shows unusual, extreme responses to objects – either avoidance or preoccupation. 
finds moving objects, such as a fan, hold great fascination. 
may form an unusual attachment to odd objects such as a paper or rubber band. 
displays repetitive activities of a restrictive range. 
spins and repeats body movements, such as arm flapping. 
may repeat television commercials.
 may indulge in elaborate bedtime rituals
The symptoms of autism range from mild to severe. Although symptoms of the disorder sometimes can be seen in early infancy, the condition may appear after months of normal development. About 7 in every 10 children and adolescents with autism also have mental retardation or other problems with  brain function or structure.
Autism and Mood Disorders	
Studies have shown there seems to be a high prevalence of children and adolescents with autism and Bipolar disorder and Major Depressive disorders, with or without anxiety.  According to the National Mental Health Information Center , children and adolescents who demonstrate exaggerated mood swings that range from extreme highs (excitedness or manic phases) to extreme lows (depression) may have bipolar disorder (sometimes called manic depression). Periods of moderate mood occur in between the extremes. During manic phases, children or adolescents may talk nonstop, need very little sleep, and show unusually poor judgment. At the low end of the mood swing, children experience severe depression. Bipolar mood swings can recur throughout life however a thorough history may reveal only one manic episode; all that is needed to meet the diagnostic criteria. Adults with bipolar disorder (about one in 100) often experienced their first symptoms during their teenage years (National Institutes of Health, 2001).
Diagnosis of these disorders can be difficult because many of the symptoms overlap among disorders. A thorough evaluation by a trained professional should be completed to, determine the most effective course of treatment. Treatment plans may include pharmacological, psychological, behavioral, and educational interventions.
Text Box: May Thought of the Month

May 2009

Issue 6

Carolina Center for Counseling

& Behavioral Interventions, LLC

Contact Information

304 A North East Main Street

  Simpsonville, SC 29681    


Phone: 864 - 963 - 4028

Fax: 877-201-4878


Click to email

Text Box: Symptoms of Mood Disorders

· Manic episodes (unusually high energy/euphoric mood/pressured speech and thoughts)

· Excessive worry and compulsive behaviors

· Angry or explosive outbursts

· Violent behavior

· Hallucinations (seeing, feeling, or, hearing things that are not real)

· Delusional thinking

· Depressed mood

· Complaints of feeling tired or bored

· Thoughts of death or suicide

· Crying episodes for little or no reason

· Irritability

· Decreased interest in usual activities

· Irregular or abnormal sleeping patterns or disturbances