Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED)

Youth with complex emotional and behavioral challenges are often misunderstood. We’ve all seen or known children who were “nothing but trouble.” Many people look down on them. They blame the children because they can’t “behave.” They blame the parents for failing to raise them properly. But there is no blame.

What is often the cause, though, is complex emotional and behavioral challenges or, as it is sometimes called, Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED). A child with complex emotional and behavioral challenges often shows these signs:

  • Photo-SEDfinding it difficult to learn things in school
  • finding it hard to make and keep friends
  • is often angry
  • often seems sad or hopeless
  • seems more afraid of things than other children
  • loss of interest in things he or she once enjoyed
  • avoiding friends and family
  • preferring to be alone most of the time
  • hurting themselves
  • damaging or destroying things
  • breaking the law
  • refusing to follow directions
  • making poor choices

Nearly all children do one or more of these things at some time. A child who has many of these signs or has some of them for a long period of time could have complex emotional and behavioral challenges.

These conditions are diagnosed by a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. Nobody knows what causes it. Many things have been suggested — heredity, diet, stress, family environment and even disease of the brain have been suggested, but none has been linked with any certainty.

These challenges can be managed with the right kind of care. Saginaw MAX is here to help.

If you have or know a child who may have complex emotional and behavioral challenges, use our contact form, or call Saginaw MAX System of Care at 989.797.3400.

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