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3 year old with irritable behaviour. Is it due to dehydration or should i look at other reasons?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1995
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my 3 year old has started major tantrums, pulling her hair and scratching herself. Last night it was horrible as she wakes up screaming and started doing this. I have noticed when she does not drink enough she can cry a lot. Can dehydration cause this behaviour? The tantrums are more than normal with the hair pulling and trying to hurt herself. She is very small for her age, very light in weight, but is normal. Should I look at other reasons for these tantrums? I am very concerned. Thank you.
Posted Thu, 12 Apr 2012 in Growth and Development in Children
Answered by Dr. Pragnesh Vachharajani 41 minutes later
Thanks for posting your query.

I can understand your concern as a parent. These tantrums are not being caused by dehydration. Dehydration usually causes children to become weak and irritable.
There can be several reasons for this kind of behaviour. These include:
a.     Night terrors
b.     Acute stress disorder
c.     Nightmares
d.     Separation anxiety

Your child would need to be evaluated by her paediatrician so that a proper evaluation can be made and appropriate therapy can be started.

I hope I have answered your query. Please accept my answer if you have no further queries.

Wishing her good health.

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