Child And Adolescent Psychiatry

“Every child is born a genius.” - Buckminster Fuller

Diagnosis and treatment for mental health disorders in kids

A child is not just a miniature adult. Their thought process and emotional development are markedly different according to their age and several other factors. Often due to their inability to understand and express complex emotions, children are misunderstood. For instance, childhood depression may present as irritability, defiance, truancy, school refusal, etc. which might result in punishments rather than supportive treatment. Any abrupt change in a child’s behavior needs to be closely evaluated and understood.

Child And Adolescent Psychiatry
Child And Adolescent Psychiatry
Learning Disability
School time is one of the best, carefree years of any individual. However, a child who has difficulty in academics ends up traumatized and sometimes scarred for life. This may sometimes be restricted to one or 2 areas such as reading or arithmetic skills or writing. When such a specific learning disability is left unidentified, children are pushed to the bottom tier among their peers and true talents are left unrecognized. When your child ‘plays sick’ on schooldays, has poor scholastic performance, or is excessively ‘mischievous’ in school, it is time not to admonish them, but to hold them closely and seek professional help.
Intellectual Disability
Equipping children with the tools necessary to flourish in this world, and understanding their basic potential and limitations are a responsibility thrust upon the shoulders of parents. When you feel that your child is unable to keep up with his peers academically or socially, it might be the time to evaluate his intellectual skills as well as personality development. Understanding your child in this manner may help unravel and hone their unique skills, cope better with their surroundings and enjoy their childhood like any other. Our professional team of psychiatrists, psychologists, and special educators can help your child and you in this regard.
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Development in social skills such as peer interaction, the feeling of love, and empathy for family and friends are important for social beings. In some children, these skills may be poorly developed. Also, they might have certain repetitive and restrictive behavioral patterns. Such children may be insistent on a fixed routine and trivial changes in this routine can evoke unusual restlessness. If such behavioural profile is observed in your child, he/she might be suffering from an autism spectrum disorder’. It is vital for the child’s overall growth and development that such a condition is detected at its earliest and necessary interventions started, so that, both the child as well as the caregiver can merge into society with more ease.
If your child appears to be too active/naughty/ intrusive for their age, it may be time to look it up a little more closely. Other alert signs would be, inattentiveness, not waiting for their turn, always on the “go”, being fidgety, distractible, keep losing personal belongings, etc. These are some of the distinguishing traits of ADHD. However, sometimes, poor attentiveness and scholastic skills may be the only features. ADHD is one of the ailments in childhood, which can be rectified effectively; but if left ignored, some of these traits can persist into adulthood. Adult ADHD makes an individual prone to substance use disorders, depressive episodes, frequent conflicts with the law, etc.
Trauma And Stress Related Disorders
Unforeseen circumstances, like the death of a loved one, debilitating illness, or separation from a caregiver, may hamper a child’s growth mentally and, if left unaddressed, physically as well. Children react to stressors in a different manner depending on their age and development. For E.g. a toddler may show regressive behaviours like thumb sucking, bed wetting etc. when he/she cannot deal with a stressor. A school-going child may present with truancy, lying, withdrawal from friends etc., and an adolescent may resort to irritability or substance use. All these symptoms point to either adjustment disorders, PTSD or attachment disorders in the child. Such symptoms may be misinterpreted as misbehaviour, and the child is labelled a ‘troublemaker’, hence further endangering his mental health. Our team specializes in delving into such symptomatology and initiating timely diagnosis and intervention.
Mood Disorders
When your usually a bright and happy child, suddenly becomes clingy and irritable, withdraws from everyone and becomes hesitant to go to school, or lacks enthusiasm in their usual sports or hobbies and, begins spending more and more hours on the screen, it may be a pointer towards an impending depressive episode or a mood disorder. Yes! Childhood depression is a common entity affecting 3 to 4 percent of children in today’s fast and unchecked technological world. When diagnosed early, the child can cope better and the illness itself has a better outcome. When treated early, outcomes like suicidal thoughts and drug addiction behaviours can be avoided. Children are also susceptible to mania or hypomania where the child has elevated mood, increased talk, irritability, increased activity, impulsivity, etc.
Imaginary friends and fantasy worlds lend wonder to childhood. However, behaviours like muttering to self, describing about “bizarre” sounds, seeing images without any source, inappropriate giggling or crying without being able to explain why the difficulty in initiating speech with peers, etc may be suggestive of psychosis or childhood-onset schizophrenia. This condition is relatively rare and may be seen in children even as young as 10 years of age. An accurate diagnosis by an expert clinician is vital in such cases. A combined approach with medications like antipsychotics under supervised optimization and supportive specialized counseling sessions is required in the management of psychosis or childhood-onset schizophrenia.
Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety may be considered a protective response, which gears up your child for important life events. In anxiety disorders, there is an excessive unnecessary concern about a real or perceived threat that may sometime occur in the future. The child experiences distressing bodily symptoms like restlessness, fatigue, palpitation, diarrhea, breathing difficulty, chest pain, etc. They may also have constant worry over trivial things, low confidence levels, and poor peer interaction. A child with anxiety disorder misses out on several memorable events of childhood – school trips, stage performances , party gatherings, and the like, which can be prevented with capable support at the apt time.

Healing wounds and strengthening mental health is our priority.

Mental health should no longer be considered a taboo in this era of pandemics, unpredictability and stress. Not seeking help if you believe your child is not keeping well, is no longer an option. Our team of psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and other mental health professionals understand the fragility of a child’s mind. Healing their wounds and strengthening their mental health is our priority. Armed with skills like intellectual and scholastic assessments, assessments for social maturity and behavioural maturity, play therapy, CBT and other forms of specialized counselling along with medications of optimized dosage for paediatric population which is age and development appropriate, our team can help you and your child in a professional and dedicated manner.

Child And Adolescent Psychiatry