If your child suffers from inexplicable bouts of rage or violent tantrums, he may have a chemical imbalance in his brain and should be evaluated by a psychiatrist. Many different types of brain disorders can cause explosive rages in children. The treatments range from holistic remedies to therapy or a combination of medications.
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If your child exhibits symptoms of rage, she may throw things, scream, become violent, foam at the mouth, attempt to harm herself or others, destroy property, bite, scratch, kick or resort to verbal abuse when she feels frustration over any small thing. Typically, the outbursts are lengthy and appear out of proportion to the events that triggered them. They may be frequent---occurring several times in a day---and when the child is in the midst of a tantrum, no amount of reasoning may calm her.
Your child's rage disorder may be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, triggered by an injury or other neurological dysfunction. Traumatic head or brain injuries can cause symptoms of rage disorder, as can bipolar disorder, depression, mania, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sensory processing disorder, anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress from sexual or other abuse, schizophrenia, epilepsy or other mental, physical or emotional health problems. Take your child for a full physical examination to rule out organic causes for his behaviour before embarking on any psychological or psychiatric therapies.
Coping with a child who suffers from rage due to a chemical imbalance can be a frightening and nerve-racking ordeal that affects the entire family. Parents may spend an inordinate amount of time and energy dealing with the raging child, often at the expense of other members of the family. The parents may become exhausted and irritable, impatient and hopeless or depressed by the constant battles at home. This could lead to dysfunction within the family unit as a whole, as other members of the family may have their needs neglected and feel bitterness toward the raging child. The whole family of a raging child should seek counselling to help cope with the unique difficulties faced by every family member.
If your child suffers from a chemical imbalance that causes her to experience rage on a regular basis, she may benefit from medicine, including anti-seizure medications such as Depakote, Tegretol or Neurontin, antipsychotic medications such as Risperdal or Zyprexa, or adrenalin-blocking medications such as clonidine, guanfacine or propranolol hydrochloride.
Non-medical therapy can include psychotherapy, individual or family counselling, behavioural therapy, anger management therapy and holistic remedies, including omega-3 fatty acid supplements, herbal teas, yoga, stress reduction techniques and cognitive therapies to help with impulse control issues. Speak to your doctor about alternative therapeutic approaches to treating the rage in your chemically imbalanced child.
Never medicate your raging child without speaking first to his physician and having a thorough psychiatric evaluation performed. Some medications used to treat depression or anxiety could trigger a manic (rage) episode in a bipolar child, and medications used to calm adults may be too strong or inappropriate for use in children.
Never use force to physically restrain your raging child. If he's in a safe place, away from objects that could harm him during the tantrum, it's better just to let him rage than to try to impose a restraint. Children in the midst of rages may demonstrate abnormal strength and resist being held or restrained. They could easily harm themselves in an attempt to be free of confinement. Just clear the area around the raging child, and allow him to calm down before attempting physical contact of any kind.
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