What is a Board Certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and how can they help?
Board-certified psychiatrists are scarce in the field of psychiatry. Not only have they obtained a medical degree, they have then specialized in psychiatry, and then spent another 2 years specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry. In total, they have a minimum of 14 years invested in study and training for this field.
Because of their specific training in the understanding of common child and adolescent mental health problems and awareness of the most effective methods for treatment, child and adolescent psychiatrists are a great choice for providing treatment for children and teens. They understand physical age, developmental age and the symptoms of common childhood disorders, such as ADHD. With this perspective, they can help determine whether a child actually has a disorder that should be diagnosed, or if the child is simply displaying behaviors typical for their developmental age. Further, they have additional training to help them understand how quickly children often metabolize specific medications, which often requires higher doses or more frequent doses than an adult might need.
What types of children and adolescents do they see?
Child and adolescent psychiatrists see clients with a wide variety of disorders and problems. These include, but are not limited to, anxiety disorders, social disorders, attention disorders, learning disorders, mood disorders, autism and emotional disorders. Additionally, children or adolescents struggling with eating disorders, drug or unusually defiant/difficult behavior can benefit from the treatment provided by a psychiatrist.
What does an initial psychiatric evaluation look like for children and adolescents?
Typically, a psychiatric evaluation for a child or adolescent begins with an initial session to evaluate conditions that might be impacting the cognitive abilities of the client. A thorough medical examination is also conducted, sometimes including urine and blood samples so that chemical balances can be analyzed. If determined it would be helpful, additional medical assessments, such as an MRI or EEG, can be ordered by the psychiatrist as well.
What does the actual care look like?
After a full evaluation and diagnosis has been made, the psychiatrist will develop a treatment plan. Most treatment plans will include a combination of weekly talk-therapy and, if deemed necessary, a prescription for medication that will aid in the alleviation or elimination of symptoms associated with his or her diagnosis, since oftentimes, therapy combined with medication, is often more effective than medication or therapy alone.