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Pediatric Behavioral Health

If your child is having behavioral problems, it can be hard to know where to turn. Benefis Health System is here to help with individualized care for a full range of mood, developmental, learning, and other disorders in kids.

Does Your Child Need Help?

Kids have a wide range of behaviors, and not all of them are cause for concern. In general, young children may need help if they:

  • Complain frequently about stomachaches or headaches with no obvious cause.
  • Sleep too much or too little or seem sleepy during the day.
  • Aren’t interested in playing with other kids.
  • Seem to be constantly moving and can’t sit still.
  • Are irritable or withdrawn most of the time.

These issues sometimes resolve on their own in a few weeks. If they last longer than that, it’s time to call a mental health professional.

In older children and adolescents, watch for issues such as loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy, too much or too little sleep, social isolation, or excessive worry about weight. If your older child engages in risky behaviors or talks about suicide, get help right away.

Diagnosing the Problem

The Pediatric Behavioral Health team at Benefis works with you and your child to determine what is causing the problem behavior. They use a range of resources to get a true picture of your child.

The evaluation may include interviews with you about your child’s developmental history, how they get along with friends and family, and any recent issues such as an illness in the family or a change in schools. Your provider may also gather information from your child’s school, such as standardized test results and reports of behavior problems.

Your provider will also talk with your child about how they are feeling, and may use psychological testing to gather more information.

How We Help

At Benefis, our pediatric behavioral specialists treat the full range of behavior problems in kids. They are experts in diagnosing both the mental and physical causes of these problems and in designing personalized treatment plans.

Our pediatric psychiatrist may use some of these treatments:

  • Talk therapy. Depending on your child’s specific condition, they may do well with a counseling technique such as cognitive behavioral therapy, play therapy, or behavior therapy. You will always be involved in this treatment.
  • Medications. Some conditions respond well to medications such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and others. They are often used in combination with talk therapy.
  • Family counseling. When parents and other family members are included in counseling, it can give them techniques for promoting good behavior. It can also help you understand how family dynamics affect your child.
  • Parenting support. Counselors can give you encouragement and strategies for managing your child’s behavior. And in a group setting, talking with other parents can help you understand that you’re not alone.
  • Substance abuse treatment. If your adolescent or teen is abusing alcohol or drugs, our Addiction Services provides a full range of services that can fit each individual situation.

Our pediatric neuropsychologist helps kids when their behavior problems arise from a brain injury or problem with how their brains developed. Troubling behaviors can arise from conditions such as:

  • ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Brain tumors
  • Developmental delays
  • Down syndrome
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Learning difficulties
  • Pediatric stroke
  • Seizures

If your child needs a neurologist or other specialist, he or she will work closely with your pediatric neuropsychologist to create an individualized treatment plan.

Ongoing Care

Your pediatric behavioral health providers at Benefis will always keep you involved in your child’s care. Once your child’s condition is under control, we’re here for follow-up onsultations as they grow and mature. Our goal is to help your child and your family stay on track for happy, productive lives.