Dr. Sarita Patel, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at the Center for Children and Youth, answers some common questions (and busts some popular myths) about the role of psychiatry in addressing children’s mental health.  

What does a Child Psychiatrist do?
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists are medical doctors who use their knowledge of biological, psychological, developmental, and social factors in both assessing, and if warranted, working with families to develop an individualized treatment plan.

Why might a child/family benefit from a meeting with a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist?
Child and adolescent psychiatrists can provide an additional perspective regarding diagnosis and treatment for a child or adolescent who is struggling with an emotional or behavioral concern. They can provide holistic guidance to families in choosing among treatment options.

Is meeting with a child and adolescent psychiatrist only indicated if we are considering medication treatment?
No. A common misconception is that psychiatrists are focused only on medication treatment. The truth is that medication is only one of many treatment options that they consider in their recommendations. Their role is to weigh the risks and benefits of a variety of treatment options, discuss them with parents/guardians, and support families in making a decision that is best for their child and family.

What are some of the most common questions that child and adolescent psychiatrists help families answer? 

  • Why is my child struggling with sadness, anxiety, anger, or social difficulties? 
  • Are the difficulties my child is facing part of normal development or something more serious?  
  • Should I consider medication treatment for my child, or is it reasonable to try other interventions first? 
  • How can I help my child at home? 
  • My child is not making progress in treatment. Are there any other options we should consider? 

How do I know if I should consider a psychiatric evaluation for my child? If you are wondering whether your child might benefit from a psychiatric assessment, contact our knowledgeable Intake team to learn more about your options.  Wondering if a psychiatric evaluation would be helpful to your family? Contact our Intake team to discuss your questions and learn more. Call us at 888-927-0839 or contact us online anytime.  

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