What is a child and adolescent psychiatrist? 

The child and adolescent psychiatrist is a physician 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. 

How do you become a child and adolescent psychiatrist?

Child and adolescent psychiatric training requires 4 years of medical school, at least 3 years of approved residency training in medicine, neurology, and general psychiatry with adults, and 2 years of additional specialized training in psychiatric work with children, adolescents, and their families in an accredited residency in child and adolescent psychiatry.  In the general psychiatry training years, the physician achieves competence in the fundamentals of the theory and practice of psychiatry. In the child and adolescent psychiatry training, the trainee acquires a thorough knowledge of normal child and family development, psychopathology, and treatment. Importance is given to disorders that appear in childhood, such as pervasive developmental disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities, mental retardation, mood disorders, depressive and anxiety disorders. During training, child and adolescents psychiatrists gain skills by treating children, adolescents and their families in a variety of settings.  Child Psychiatrists get experience in consultation to other physicians, mental health professionals, schools, and community agencies as an important part of training.

What kind of diagnosis does a child and adolescent psychiatrist treat?

A Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist treats multiple behavioral, emotional and developmental diagnoses.  Some of these include the following: Attention deficit disorders (ADD, ADHD), Anxiety disorders (Separation Anxiety Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Phobia, School Phobia, Panic Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Autism Spectrum Disorders  (Asperger's Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder NOS), Tourette's Disorder, Mood disorders (Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymia, Bipolar Disorders, Cyclothymia, Mood Disorder NOS), Schizophrenia  and Schizoaffective disorders.

Who should see a child and adolescent psychiatrist?

Anyone that is experiencing difficulties with functioning in their day to day environments over an extended period of time.  Examples of this are poor school performance, severe anxiety, aggressive behavior, frequent physical complaints, hyperactivity, frequent temper tantrums, inability to cope with problems, depressed mood, self harming behaviors, thoughts of hurting yourself, mood swings, or strange thoughts, beliefs or behaviors.  

What do I need to bring to my first appointment?

  • Parents or guardian should accompany the child. If a person other than the child's guardian accompanies the child, a notarized letter from the parent/legal guardian authorizing this person to bring the child in for treatment will be required (this applies to step-parents unless legal custody has been given).  Parents and legal guardians will be asked to show identification.

  • If the child's guardians are divorced, please show evidence of custody before services are provided to the child.

  • Bring new patient paperwork which you can print out from the patient forms section on this website.  

  • If applicable, please bring copies of any psychological or psychoeducational testing, any written feedback or records from teachers, counselors, therapist, pediatrician, psychologist or psychiatrist.  

  • If currently taking medications please bring the bottles with you.

What do I tell my child before my first appointment?

It is recommended that children above the age of five receive a brief explanation for the reason of their visit from their parent before they arrive. Use simple statements they can understand that will not add to any anxiety.  Some examples are: "We know school has been quite difficult lately, and we are going to see someone who can help", or "we know you have been feeling sad lately, and we need the advice of someone who can help".  Statements such as these usually reassure the child. It is not advisable to use the word "testing" with children, as they will undoubtedly get the wrong idea, and be unnecessarily nervous about the day. Also it may be a good idea to say that this doctor will only talk about "feelings" and let them know there will be no shots or procedures. 

 North Texas Child Psychiatry  Ph: 972-885-0715 Fax: 972-767-3735  1506 N. Greenville Ave, Ste 210 Allen TX 75002