What Is Adolescent Psychiatry?
Adolescent or child psychiatrists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of thinking, feeling, and/or behavior disorders, which affect youth and their families. Psychiatry offers the advantage of providing comprehensive care for young people with mental health issues.
When working with children, we meet them at their level. We exhibit kindness, compassion, and love in our mental health work. Many of the problems we deal with as adults were formed as children. Children are fragile, and as such, we treat each child as if they were our own, providing the psychiatric care they need.
Every psychiatrist on our team has obtained the training to treat not just kids but the entire family. We take a whole-person approach to your care.
Our services at PNS are tailored to kids, but we support the whole family by facilitating conversations and providing medical solutions. Our providers are passionate about ensuring that mental illness doesn’t define children.
We currently work with children who speak English, Spanish, and Gujarati.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common psychiatric mental disorders affecting children. Many children show signs of inattention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity. The two are often divided into individual disorders (ADD or ADHD)—it is completely possible to have one without the other.
Common signs of ADD/ADHD are:
- Constant motion
- Not listening
- Trouble playing quietly
- Talking excessively
- Interrupting or intruding on others
- Easily distracted
- Difficulty finishing tasks
A trained psychiatrist can provide multiple services to assist with these symptoms.
The three main types of ADHD in children are:
- Hyperactive/Impulsive – Your child may pay attention but exhibit hyperactivity and/or impulsive behavior.
- Inattentive – This may be referred to as ADD. Children may seem lethargic, withdrawn, and not overly active. They are not a disruption in school or during activities, but teachers may say they’re daydreamers.
- Combination – Children with a combination show symptoms of both categories. This is considered the most common form of ADHD.
ADD and ADHD may often lead to other mental illnesses as adults. The job of a mental health professional is to deal with the symptoms early and work to heal the mind with compassionate care.
Treatment of ADHD may include:
- Social skills training
- Psychological intervention
- Facilitating parent/child conversations
- Medication monitoring
- Treatment when there is drug abuse
The goal of an adolescent psychiatrist is to come alongside the parent and the child, working with the child and educating parents to help with the healing process.
Nearly 20% of children between the ages of 12 and 18 have used illicit drugs in the past year, and 4.4% of high school seniors misused prescription medications. That doesn’t include the 14% who are binge drinkers.
Abusing drugs and alcohol is deadly. We know that the cycle can be broken. Helping a child “turn around” and start on the path to mental health is one of the greatest rewards in psychiatry.
Child Psychiatry Questions
Questions you may have about Pediatric Psychiatry
A: At the initial visit, you and your child will meet with an adolescent psychiatrist or a physician trained in child and adolescent mental health. If your child is experiencing a complex problem, we will review the situation with our care teams.
Our care team may include:
- Mental healthcare providers specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry
- Psychiatric nurse practitioners
- Affiliate social workers, and child and family therapists
- Medication management teams
- Other medical staff who are trained to work with families, adolescents, or kids
We are a teaching clinic, which means the physicians receive feedback and share ideas with one another.
A: Yes, we would love to meet with you. Extra time may be required for a first-time appointment with your child, so we ask that you are prompt and plan to be there for some time. If your child is more comfortable with a toy or activity book, please bring it.
A: An adolescent or child psychiatrist treats multiple behavioral, emotional, and developmental diagnoses. Our psychiatrists provide family and individual services to every patient, supporting their unique needs.
The most common mental health disorders we see among adolescents are:
- Attention deficit disorders (ADD, ADHD)
- Anxiety disorders (Separation anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, school phobia, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder/OCD)
- Autism Spectrum Disorders/ASD (Asperger’s Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified/PDD-NOS)
- Tourette Syndrome
- Mood disorders (Major depressive disorder, dysthymia, bipolar disorders, cyclothymia, unspecified mood disorder)
- Schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders
A: Children should live happy, carefree lives. Any child who is experiencing emotional or mental difficulty functioning in their daily environment should consider seeing a psychiatrist.
The first response of a psychiatrist should be to fully understand the nature of their mental health problems. Multiple tools should be used to treat their mental health conditions—not just medication.
Your child may be facing:
- Poor school performance
- Severe anxiety
- Aggressive behavior
- Frequent insecurity about their physical health or appearance (due to abuse or other disorders)
- Frequent temper tantrums
- Inability to cope with problems
- Depressed mood
- Self-harming behaviors
- Thoughts of harming self
- Mood swings
- Strange thoughts, beliefs, or behaviors
A: We have an expert child psychiatrist near you in Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Mission Viejo, and Orange CA. We also offer telepsychiatry.
Common Illnesses a Child Psychiatrist Treats
Those who practice child and adolescent psychiatry must be acquainted with several issues that families face. A good doctor will bring all their knowledge and expertise to bear as they treat mood disorders or other mental health issues.
Psychiatrists go over all of the available treatment options and come up with a treatment plan to help their child and adolescent patients heal. We offer a wide range of services to address the unique challenges of each patient.
Here are some of the common issues a child and adolescent psychiatrist can treat:
- Abuse (Physical or sexual)
- Adolescent development
- Anxiety (Separation anxiety, etc)
- Asperger’s Disorder
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity
- Bedwetting (enuresis)/bowel control/soiling
- Bipolar Disorder
- Chronic physical illness
- Conduct disorders
- Disaster-related conditions
- Discipline issues
- Impacts of divorce
- Drug abuse
- Eating disorders (Obesity, anorexia, etc)
- Fighting and biting
- Childhood gun access-related conditions
- Latchkey children-related issues
- Lead poisoning
- Learning disabilities
- Manic Depression
- Medication-related weight gain
- Effects of growing in military families
- Effects of movies, music, music videos, news programs, TV, video games, internet
- Moving problems
- Effects of being a multiracial child
- Normal adolescent development
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- Panic disorder
- Parenting concerns
- (Alcoholic, mentally ill) parents
- Pets-related concerns
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder/PTSD
- Childhood/Teenage pregnancy
- Psychiatric evaluation needs
- Reactive Attachment Disorder/RAD
- School refusal issues
- Sleep problems
- Sports problems
- Starting school concerns
- Issues related to stepfamilies
- Substance abuse treatment
- Teen brain
- Terrorism and war effects
- Tourette Syndrome
- Trichotillomania (hair-pulling syndrome)
- Violent behavior