What is Child Psychiatry?

If you’re wondering what a child psychiatrist does, this article will answer your question. This medical field helps diagnose and treat various mental and behavioral disorders in children. Child Psychiatry Northbrook, IL specializes in various areas, such as somatoform disorders and psychiatric disorders. You’ll also learn about the different specialties within child psychiatry, including pediatricians and psychiatric residents.

Treatment of psychiatric disorders in children

Several mental illnesses can be treated in children and adolescents with the help of medication. Psychotherapy involves working with a trained professional to address the feelings and thoughts associated with a mental illness. Various psychotherapies treat mental illnesses in children, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, supportive therapy, and family therapy. For very young children, creative therapy is effective. For more severe cases, medication may be used to treat the underlying psychiatric disorder.

Some of the most common mental illnesses in children are eating and elimination disorders. Eating disorders are caused by intense emotional reactions to food or weight. On the other hand, elimination disorders affect behavior related to going to the bathroom. Enuresis is the most common elimination disorder in children. Learning and communication disorders are conditions in which children have difficulty processing information and communicating their thoughts and feelings. Bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia are examples of affective disorders. Bipolar disorder is marked by mood swings that are unstable and frequent furious outbursts. The development of skewed perceptions is a feature of schizophrenia.

Treatment of somatoform disorders in children

Somatoform disorders are mental conditions characterized by repeated, subjective experiences of physical symptoms that an underlying physical condition cannot explain. All somatoform disorders share common features: a high frequency of somatic symptoms associated with significant distress or impairment, repeated requests for medical examination and tests, and attention-seeking behaviors. In addition, somatoform disorders often overlap with medical or neurological conditions.

Somatoform disorders in children are a kind of psychopathology marked by heightened sensitivity to bodily sensations. Children with somatoform disorders often overreact to these symptoms and use medical care excessively. These children may become obsessed with an imagined defect, believing that they have a serious illness. Despite this, doctors have learned to treat somatoform disorders in children effectively.

For children with somatic symptoms, therapy may include helping them learn to control their reactions. For example, therapists may ask them to refrain from nursing for a day, which would reduce their symptoms. Likewise, therapy can also help parents learn how to deal with their child’s worries constructively. In some cases, medication is necessary, and antidepressants are the most common drugs for children with somatoform disorders.

Prevention of disorders in children

The concept of prevention has many facets. For example, public health approaches to child mental health include preventing and minimizing exposure to various risk factors and addressing the determinants of mental health. In addition, public health approaches to child psychiatry emphasize the prevention and promotion of positive mental health while simultaneously addressing mental health disorders. 

While some of these conditions may be common, some are particularly vulnerable. For instance, in humanitarian settings, adolescents with disabilities, orphans, or children in forced marriages are more likely to develop mental health conditions than other children. In addition, children from minority groups, especially those who suffer from chronic illnesses, are more likely to experience mental health problems than those from non-disadvantaged groups. Finally, child maltreatment is also a risk factor for child psychiatric conditions, and research has shown that most of these are preventable.

Specialties within child psychiatry

A recent study examined the recruitment of psychiatrists to specialty training in child and adolescent psychiatry. The survey was distributed to all eighty child psychiatrists at the University of Toronto. It was based on logistics, convenience, and time/budget constraints. The survey asked a series of questions regarding the factors contributing to a physician’s decision to specialize in a specific field. The results exceeded the projected response rate of 27.4%, making it the most popular specialty. Some pediatricians also work as researchers, focusing on new treatments for mental illnesses. A child psychiatrist can also become an advocate for mental health in children and help develop programs to address issues such as teen pregnancy and sexual abuse.