There’s nothing harder for a parent to witness than their child struggling, and if you need a psychiatrist for a child suffering from mental health issues, it can feel overwhelming to select the best professionals to fit your child’s needs. Here are a few tips to help you select a child psychiatrist and what to look for when selecting a doctor or therapist.
Child Psychiatrists Vs. Psychologists
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor that can provide mental health care services, which includes prescribing medications to treat issues such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, OCD and much more. A psychologist is also a mental health professional, but not a medical doctor, so they are unable to prescribe any medications.
In most cases, the best option for any patient is to use a combination of a psychiatrist and a psychologist or therapist. Psychiatrists can provide a diagnosis and medication, as well as study the overall physical condition of the patient. In some cases, there could be physical issues causing mental health issues or perhaps exacerbating these issues.
Psychiatrists do not, generally, provide any type of therapy, which is why it’s best to also find a therapist or psychologist. Talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and other types of therapy can yield huge benefits for any patient, providing an emotional outlet as well as helpful tools to help one cope with any mental health issues.
How To Find A Psychiatrist For Child Mental Health Issues
Whether you are searching for a psychiatrist or psychologist, the process is typically the same. For either of these professionals, you will want to look at their credentials. For instance, with a psychiatrist, you will want to look for someone who is board-certified in child and adolescent psychiatry.
You also will want to find a doctor or therapist that specializes in your child’s mental health issues. Of course, at the early stages of diagnosis, you might be uncertain as to your child’s exact issues. In general, most child and adolescent psychiatrists can diagnose a wide range of issues including ADHD, OCD, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and more, including autism spectrum disorder and developmental disorders.
Many people will be diagnosed with multiple mental health issues, such as ADHD and anxiety or perhaps depression and anxiety. Co-occurring disorders are very common, so you need to find professionals that are experienced in helping individuals with all of the issues your child is facing.
When researching a doctor or therapist, read a bit about their philosophy and approach to treatment to see if it aligns with your parenting style and your family values. You also can ask for referrals from your child’s medical doctor or perhaps your school’s counselor.
Doctor reviews also can be a helpful tool, but, keep in mind, that negative reviews often come from patients that had unrealistic expectations about the outcome of their treatment. With any treatment option, there is no magic overnight cure.
Medication can be helpful, but it takes time for medications to work and to find the best dosage for an individual patient’s needs. Talk therapy and other types of therapy also take some time to work, as well, and some of the negative reviews you encounter are the result of a patient expecting a very quick resolution for their mental health issues.
For your convenience, I also recommend either finding a psychiatrist and therapist that are either close to your home or your child’s school, if possible. We lead busy lives and having a doctor conveniently close by is helpful. If you cannot find a good match locally, I recommend opting for a virtual psychiatrist.
Telepsychiatry can be a great option to consider for several reasons. It allows you to find the best possible doctor-patient match for your child. Virtual psychiatry also can be handled securely in the privacy of your home, which might feel more comfortable and less stressful for your child.
A virtual psychiatrist or therapist can be reached at any time from anywhere you have an internet connection, which provides you with the highest level of convenience. If your child feels under the weather or you are out of town, you can still meet with your mental health professionals. You also avoid having to drive and deal with traffic, etc., which can save you time and reduce your stress.
How To Help Your Child
Of all the “jobs” in the world, is there a tougher one than being a parent? While parenthood brings numerous joys, it also can be extremely stressful. While finding the best child psychiatrist and therapist for your child can make a huge difference in your family, it’s also important for parents to consider their own emotional and physical needs.
Many parents will blame themselves for their child’s mental health issues, but it’s important to understand that mental illness is not a weakness. It’s simply a medical condition that can be treated. As parents, providing encouragement and support to your child, and seeking support for yourself if needed, can make a huge difference in the quality of life for your entire family.
Parents often can benefit from therapy themselves, and there also might be classes to help one learn strategies to help their child experience as much success as possible. Whether you have a child struggling with ADHD or depression or anxiety or perhaps a combination of issues, it can be a good idea for you to learn all that you can about these issues and how best to help your child.
With any condition, whether it be physical or mental, learning all you can about what your child is facing is important. This can help you understand symptoms and better understand treatment options and possible outcomes. It’s important to help your child stick with their treatment plan and to have realistic expectations.
With a solid treatment plan, you should see much improvement, but there are always challenges and setbacks. These can be discouraging, but with patience and time, your child is sure to make great strides and live a happier, more successful life.
Contact Me At Anytime
If you’ve been searching for a child psychiatrist or teen psychiatrist, I specialize in providing treatment for many mental health issues. I can provide in-person or virtual psychiatry services. Whether you need an ADHD psychiatrist or a psychiatrist for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or another mental health condition, I can provide a thorough diagnosis and treatment plan that helps your child live their best life.
Dr Jesalva is a psychiatrist. He is in private practice in Thousand Oaks, CA since 1989. He successfully treats very challenging patients with varying co-occurring disorders with medications.