Psychiatry, child and adolescent
Science and Profession (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
Specialists in child and adolescent psychiatry are responsible for the physical and mental health of the individuals whom they treat. They must be acute observers of individual and family behavior, as well as knowledgeable about how certain nutritional, physical, and situational conditions can manifest themselves as mental or emotional problems. Particularly with infants, this requires keen knowledge of normal and abnormal development, both mental and physical. Additionally, these specialists must be able to consult with a variety of medical and other professionals—from psychologists, who provide behavioral and diagnostic assessments, to social work professionals and lawyers, when child abuse or neglect enters into the clinical picture.
Practitioners in child or adolescent psychiatry receive extensive training. First, they must complete medical school in order to obtain a doctorate in medicine. Next, they must complete a four-year residency in psychiatry and a two-year specialty residency in child psychiatry. Finally, they must go through licensing and certification procedures in order to practice independently.
This training prepares them to diagnose and treat the wide variety of psychiatric disorders experienced by children and adolescents. Anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity, autistic, conduct, learning, mental retardation, mood, oppositional-defiant, pervasive developmental, and substance abuse...
(The entire section is 266 words.)
Diagnostic and Treatment Techniques (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
Practitioners of child and adolescent psychiatry are generally introduced to their patients via the parents or an intervening medical professional or agency. In most cases, these specialists diagnose disorders through clinical interviews with the patient, the patient’s parents, and sometimes even schoolteachers or other observers of relevant problems. Additionally, diagnoses are sometimes confirmed via a patient’s response to drugs (such as Ritalin, antidepressants, or lithium carbonate) or via test results from a psychological or behavioral assessment. Some assessments are based on structured, pencil-and-paper tests that measure intelligence or other personal attributes. Others are based on direct observations of the patient and/or family interactions.
Once a diagnosis is made, practitioners provide therapy to the individual child or adolescent and/or to family members. Acute or severe problems might be treated in a hospital setting, while chronic or mild problems might be treated on an outpatient basis. Therapies typically selected include medicinal and psychotropic drugs, dietary recommendations, behavioral therapies and parent training, family therapy, play therapy, and individual psychotherapy. In these situations, a good practitioner will try to involve the child in the process of consent to treatment so as to facilitate trust and gain compliance from the child.
Finally, practitioners in...
(The entire section is 272 words.)
Perspective and Prospects (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
Work by Sigmund Freud, the Austrian physician and founder of psychoanalysis, marked the birth of this field of study. By focusing his work on the relationship between childhood experiences and adult functioning, Freud was able to foster interest in child development and welfare. Issues such as family relationships; the emotional, physical, and sexual mistreatment of children; and differences in the way that children and adults perceive and experience the world became highlighted through his work and that of those who followed. Finally, in 1959, child psychiatry became a specialty certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, adding credibility and importance to this growing field of practice and research.
Today, child and adolescent psychiatry remains in its infancy compared to other specialties. Relationships between childhood and adult disorders continue to be explored through a variety of epidemiological, genetic, psychiatric, and behavioral studies. Prime topics include connections among attention-deficit/hyperactivity, mood, learning, and a broad spectrum of developmental disorders. Similarly, interest in understanding how trauma, neglect, and family influences relate to childhood mood, learning, and substance abuse disorders is also increasing.
Innovative drug and psychotherapeutic strategies are being explored for the disorders described above. The greatest treatment advances should be...
(The entire section is 266 words.)
For Further Information: (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: Author, 2000. Provides comprehensive descriptions of mental disorders, as well as a glossary of technical terms.
Andreasen, Nancy C., and Donald W. Black. Introductory Textbook of Psychiatry. 4th ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Press, 2006. Designed for use by medical and other students, this book provides basic information on psychiatry, various psychiatric disorders, treatments, and special topics such as suicide, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and disorders of childhood and adolescence.
Keck, Gregory C., and Regina M. Kupecky. Parenting the Hurt Child: Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow. Rev. ed. Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress, 2009. Past physical abuse or psychological trauma in adopted children can greatly impact the child’s new family. This book details how to recognize problems and the kind of counseling or psychiatric treatment to seek.
Koplewicz, Harold S. More than Moody: Recognizing and Treating Adolescent Depression. New York: Penguin, 2003. A leading clinician and researcher helps parents distinguish between normal teenage angst and depression, examining the warning signs, risk factors, and key behaviors, as well as treatment options.
Lewis, Melvin, ed. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: A...
(The entire section is 297 words.)