Please advise what steps I should take and whether I should consult a psychiatrist?


Q. My son is 12 years old and has always been stubborn and gets angry easily. While it was cute when he was little, it has become overwhelming now. I know we should have corrected him and paid more attention when he was younger but I am very worried and concerned about his wellbeing now. He is short tempered and dislikes being corrected or reprimanded. This has gotten him into fights with peers in school and into disciplinary action by teachers. He sulks, throws his food, breaks things, hits the dog, shuts himself in the room, and is generally in a bad mood at the slightest of provocation. My husband still indulges him and says he will outgrow it but I am genuinely afraid for him. When I sat him down to talk about this seriously, it got out of hand when he started shouting. He even threatened to commit suicide. Please advise what steps I should take and whether I should consult a psychiatrist?

• Name withheld

A. As you have mentioned, you have been facing difficulties handling the behaviour changes in your child which do not seem to be normal and within reasonable limits. Many children regardless of their gender and age can suffer psychological problems due to various reasons. Your son also seems to have a similar problem whereby he is expressing his difficulty through his anger. This may be due to some kind of stress which he is facing within himself and has not been able to express to others. This may be possibly the symptoms of anxiety disorder or depressive disorder or he may be suffering from attention deficit disorder. So, the most important thing is to find the possible cause of above mentioned symptoms. I suggest you to firstly gather information about your son in detail with his peers and school teachers and seek help from a clinical psychologist. If that does not help, then please take your child to a psychiatrist for further assessment and counselling.

Dr. Ajit Kumar Gurung, MD; DPM has been working as a consultant psychiatrist since the last 16 years. He is Psychiatrist Consultant at Norvic International Hospital; Head of Department and Senior Consultant Psychiatrist at Department of Psychiatry, Nepal Police Hospital; and Consultant for Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Centre ‘Ashara’.