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Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

What is the role of a child and adolescent psychiatrist?

The child and adolescent psychiatrist is a physician with M.D. or D.O. medical degree, who specializes in the diagnosis and the treatment of disorders of thinking, feeling and/or behavior affecting children, adolescents, and their families. A child and adolescent psychiatrist offers families the advantages of a medical education, the medical traditions of professional ethics, and medical responsibility for providing comprehensive care.

The child and adolescent psychiatrist uses a knowledge of biological, psychological, and social factors in working with patients. Initially, a comprehensive diagnostic examination is performed to evaluate the current problem with attention to its physical, genetic, developmental, emotional, cognitive, educational, family, peer, and social components. The child and adolescent psychiatrist will discuss and shared with the patient and family about the clinical formulation on one's clinical diagnosis. The child and adolescent psychiatrist then designs a treatment plan which considers all the components and discusses these recommendations with the minor and family.

An integrated approach may involve individual, group or family psychotherapy; medication management; and/or consultation with other physicians or professionals from schools, juvenile courts, social agencies or other community organizations. In addition, the child psychiatrist is prepared and expected to act as an advocate for the best interests of children and adolescents. Child and adolescent psychiatrists perform consultations in a variety of settings (schools, juvenile courts, social agencies).

Contributed by: Emily Wu, M.D.