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Child Maltreatment - Psychological Abuse


Psychological abuse occurs when someone knowingly causes mental or emotional pain, distress, or suffering to a child. Psychological abuse includes rejecting, insulting, threatening, humiliating, intimidating, or harassing through words or actions. This may also include ignoring, not speaking to the child, or isolating him from family, friends, or regular activities. It is also when someone encourages, uses, or shows a child how to do something illegal.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.


If the child is placed in a foster home or care, it may be hard to be away from family or friends. Counseling may be emotionally difficult and painful. The child's behavior and performance in school may change. He may develop other serious problems. These include alcohol or drug use, depression, and problems with self-esteem, moods, and relationships. He may have thoughts of harming himself or others.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.


The child may need to rest and get more sleep. Call the child's healthcare providers right away if he has trouble sleeping.


Antianxiety medicine may be given to help the child feel relaxed or less nervous, or to improve sleep.


  • Psychological tests may be done to check how the child thinks and feels. It may help healthcare providers to understand the child and give the proper treatment.

  • CT scan pictures of the child's head and body may show injuries such as bleeding, joint dislocations, or broken bones. He may be given contrast liquid to help healthcare providers see any injuries better. Tell the healthcare provider if the child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.


Counseling may help the child feel less scared, depressed, or anxious. A counselor can help him talk about how he feels.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Child Maltreatment - Psychological Abuse (Inpatient Care)