Higher Nervous Activity – Pathological Changes in Children

Pathological changes in higher nervous activity should include long-term chronic disturbances, which can be associated with both organic structural damage to nerve cells and functional disorders of their activity. Functional disorders of higher nervous activity are called neuroses. Long-term functional disorders of higher nervous activity can then turn into organic, structural ones.

A teacher or educator often meets in their work with various manifestations of neurotic reactions in children and adolescents and therefore must have an idea of ​​the nature of neuroses and the peculiarities of their course in children of different ages. This knowledge will help them to notice in time the appearance of neurotic disorders of higher nervous activity in a child, and, after consulting a doctor, organize the optimal pedagogical correction of these disorders.
In modern Pathological changes in higher nervous activity and psychiatry, three main forms of neuroses are distinguished: neurasthenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, hysteria, and psychasthenia.



  1. Neurasthenia – in Pathological changes in higher nervous activity, it is characterized by overstrain of the inhibitory or excitatory process in the cerebral cortex. The processes of conditioned inhibition suffer especially often with neurasthenia. The cause of these disorders can be excessive mental and physical stress and various traumatic situations for the psyche. The manifestation of neurasthenia is different: there is a sleep disorder, loss of appetite, sweating, palpitations, headaches, low efficiency, etc. Patients become irritable, they are characterized by excessive fussiness and awkwardness of movements.
  2. Obsessive-compulsive disorder – In Pathological changes in higher nervous activity, it is characterized by obsessive thoughts, fears, or drives. The cause of these neuroses is sometimes associated with overwork, illness, and the peculiarities of higher nervous activity.
  3. Hysteria – in Pathological changes in higher nervous activity, it’s associated with the pathological predominance of the first signaling system over the second, the subcortex above the cerebral cortex, which is expressed in a significant weakening of the second signaling system. This neurosis is characterized by increased sensitivity to external irritation, extreme mood lability, and increased suggestibility. There are known cases of hysterical blindness, deafness, paralysis, etc. Hysterical fits are widespread.
  4. Psychasthenia – in Pathological changes in higher nervous activity, it is characterized by a predominance of the second signal system and weakness of the subcortex, therefore patients are distinguished by the poverty of drives and emotions. They often tend to pointless philosophizing.

It should be noted that adolescents and especially girls from 12 to 15 years old are characterized by a neurosis specific only to this age. This is anorexia nervosa associated with the idea of ​​losing weight and manifested in a sharp restriction of oneself in food. This neurosis usually occurs in adolescents with high intellectual development, but suffering from increased self-esteem.
Especially often neurotic disorders and various mental illnesses are manifested in children aged 2 to 3.5 years and in puberty (12 to 15 years). In this regard, during such periods, called crisis, teaching and educational work should be carried out especially carefully, since an inadequate attitude towards children in crisis or critical periods can provoke the development of mental illness.