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Common Child Psychiatry Services
Due to the importance of healthy development, child psychiatry is a vital field. Psychiatric conditions in children can manifest earlier than most parents might expect. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of children aged two to eight with a diagnosable behavioral, developmental or mental disorder is one in six. Even more alarming is the fact that diagnoses of conditions like anxiety and depression in children and adolescents appear to be increasing. Therefore, it is important for parents to seek help from a child psychiatrist when they suspect a problem.
Psychiatric conditions that can affect children
It can be difficult for parents to distinguish the difference between signs of mental illness in children and normal behavior. All children occasionally become anxious, irritable, overstimulated, impulsive, fidgety or distracted from time to time. However, children with mental illness exhibit these behaviors more frequently, to a degree that it disrupts daily activities and makes it difficult to function on even the most basic level.
It can also be difficult for parents to recognize signs of mental illness in children, because although children can experience the same mental disorders that affect adults, the symptoms are often very different. This makes it all the more necessary to consult a child psychiatrist who is trained to recognize and diagnose the symptoms in young people.
The same mood disorders that can affect adults, such as bipolar disorder and depression, can also manifest in children and adolescents. However, while a depressed adult is likely to become sad and withdrawn, a child with depression is more likely to show irritability.
Psychosis is a blanket term describing a range of disorders, including schizophrenia, that cause people to lose touch with reality. While psychosis more often affects adolescents, younger children can experience it as well.
Autism spectrum disorder
ASD affects a child's ability to communicate with others. Symptoms of this common developmental disorder usually show up before a child reaches their third birthday.
Children with ADHD may exhibit one of more of these symptoms:
- Impulsive behavior
- Attention difficulties
Child psychiatry services available
Services available from a professional in child psychology usually involve diagnosis, treatment and parent education. A child psychiatrist receives in-depth education and training to differentiate normal childhood behaviors from signs of mental illness.
Because a child psychiatrist holds a medical degree, diagnosis usually involves a physical evaluation that may include blood tests or other forms of screening. This allows the psychiatrist to rule out any biological cause for the symptoms.
Once a cause has been determined, a treatment plan can be developed. This usually involves a combination of medication and psychotherapy. The latter involves regular meetings with the psychiatrist during which the child discusses thoughts and feelings and learns healthy coping skills for challenging situations. In some cases, the professional may deem family therapy sessions beneficial. These involve the child, parents and siblings participating in sessions together.
If your child has severe mental issues, child psychiatry can be of benefit. Both parent and child can learn more effective strategies to cope with challenging situations as a result.
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