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Child Maltreatment - Psychological Abuse


Psychological abuse of a child occurs when someone knowingly causes mental or emotional pain, distress, or suffering to a child. A child is anyone younger than 18 years old. 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 his 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 for him to be away from his family or friends. Counseling may be emotionally difficult and painful. If psychological abuse is not stopped or treated, the child's behavior and performance in school may change, and he may also develop other serious problems. These include alcohol or drug use, depression, and problems with his self-esteem, moods, and relationships.


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. If he has trouble breathing or chest pain, call his caregivers right away.


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


  • Psychological tests may be done to check how the child thinks and feels about himself and his condition. It may help caregivers to understand the child and give the proper treatment.

  • A CT scan , or CAT scan, is a type of x-ray that takes pictures of the child's head and body. The pictures may show injuries such as bleeding, joint dislocations, or broken bones. The child may be given a dye before the pictures are taken to help caregivers see the pictures better. Tell the caregiver if the child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.


Counseling may help the child feel less scared, depressed, or anxious. The child's caregiver may suggest that the child see a counselor to help him with how he feels.

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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)