Child Psychiatry

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Child Psychiatry

<<Back to Traditional Psychiatry

When something is wrong with your child, it is so hard to know whether it is a “passing phase” or something that requires a concerted, attentive medical diagnosis and treatment. Because children are constantly learning, testing, and growing as people – the human brain continues to develop into your 20s – you may not be sure when is the right time to seek help for a whole range of behavioral or emotional concerns. But if you suspect that something needs attention, it is probably best to act on those instincts and seek professional help.

For instance, a child or adolescent that consistently struggles in school, acts out, rebels, can’t focus, feels sad, needs constant reminding, or hangs out with a bad crowd may, in fact, grow out of these issues. But there are also several that will not be able to work things out with even the best guidance and advice. And these children and adolescents may see these concerns sabotage their relationships, schoolwork, and their odds of future success – not to mention their very mental and physical health. Addressing recurring problems only increases the odds that your child will successfully navigate any concerns and set them up for a better adult life.

Why Seek Professional Help?

First off, if your child is facing emotional or behavioral concerns, it is important for you to understand that you are not alone and that you are not a failure as a parent or guardian. In fact, the numbers show that children all of ages and backgrounds face a whole range of issues that may have nothing to do with how a child is raised.

The Centers for Disease Control noted that as recently as 2016, 6.1 million children between the ages 2-17 were officially diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – that’s almost 10 percent of the nation’s youth population. Meanwhile, 4.5 million children were diagnosed with behavior issues, 4.4 million were diagnosed with anxiety and 1.9 million were diagnosed with depression.

These conditions are anything but a “passing phase,” and either ignoring them or attempting to address them outside of a clinical setting only increases the child’s odds of failure in school and social settings. This may severely limit their chances at future success academically or in the job market and, most importantly, keep them from maintaining a satisfying relationship with the world around them, which can eventually lead to tragic outcomes. For instance, in 2017, 14,717 people between ages 10-24 died by suicide.

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How Child Psychiatry Works

At Bridgepoint, our approach to child psychiatry is as comprehensive and multi-faceted as any approach in our practice. We realize there are no cookie-cutter approaches to successful mental health at any age. However, child psychiatry requires a detailed understanding of how the young mind works, as many medications and treatments are not appropriate for children and teens. Therefore, you can trust that a child psychiatrist is best suited to helping your youth address maladaptation related to mood, behavior, cognition, and perceptions.

These pathways allow us to treat a while range of conditions and the underlying reasons for symptoms – not just the symptoms themselves – including:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections (PANDAS)
  • PTSD
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Schizophrenia
  • Aggression
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

Because we know that these concerns affect your whole family, we will help you explore your child’s concerns on each step of the treatment path – all the while pursuing solutions in a manner designed to provide meaningful and lasting wellbeing that will last into adulthood and provide your child with a solid base on which to build a satisfying life.

Symptoms to Be Aware of

Understand that is completely normal for your child to struggle with more than one psychiatric condition. Did you know that nearly two out of three children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD also have one or more other mental health concerns? Therefore, it is important to be aware of a wide range of symptoms that could indicate a need for treatment.

Know that your child or adolescent may not know that anything unusual is occurring and will likely not know how to ask for help. Therefore, it is incumbent upon a parent or guardian to watch for recurring struggles with emotional or behavioral concerns, including:

Sudden Anger or Behavior Changes

Almost every child has a pattern or consistent pattern of behavior. However, all children also experience mood swings, especially during adolescence. But if you see your child suffer from consistent issues with moodiness, crankiness, or disaffection, or a refusal to engage with friends or family, you should take note. And pay particular attention when you see a sudden and consistent change in your child’s emotional state or behavior – including temper tantrums or academic failures.

Academic Troubles

One bad grade does not a concern make, however, consistent academic problems could indicate a mental health issue. To understand your child’s academic performance, keep an open dialogue with your child’s teachers and coaches. Therefore, you’ll better be able to determine whether the struggles are an oddity or part of a pattern.


It is very normal for your child to worry about something. What is abnormal is for your child to obsess over those concerns day-in, day-out so that it interferes with their lives. If your child is having trouble performing at school or completing everyday tasks because of worries or fears, it is probably time to talk with a mental health professional.


Your child should be getting to know and becoming friends with classmates, teammates, and neighbors. That doesn’t mean they have to be the popular kid – far from it – but what you do not want to see is a child that does not have any friends. That is usually is a sign that something is wrong. And it is something that may be able to be addressed by a mental health professional.

Repetitive Actions

Sometimes these are displayed as a physical “tic” or vocalizations, sometimes this is represented by your child constantly attempting to control or order something (and getting upset if he or she cannot). These actions could be a sign of mental health distress.

Physical Pain

Adults are not the alone in suffering physical pain from mental distress. Children and adolescents too can develop stomach aches, or repetitive pains elsewhere due to a range of psychological concerns. If your child is in physical pain without their pediatrician being able to locate a physical reason, the ailment could stem from mental health issues.

Poor Sleep Patterns

Your child should be getting at least nine hours of uninterrupted sleep up to the age of 13, and at least eight hours through the age of 18. If your child is unable to consistently attain these numbers, it could be due to a mental health disturbance.

More Serious Mental Health Concerns

If your child displays any of these signs, please consider contacting a mental health professional right away — be especially aware of the following developments in teenagers.

Eating Disorders

If you notice your child avoiding eating, using laxatives, or vomiting after meals, they may well have an eating disorder. Conversely, some children will overeat to make themselves feel better during times of mental distress. Both outcomes should be addressed as soon as possible.

Substance Use

It is not unusual for your child to experiment with drugs or alcohol at some point, most commonly as a teenager. However, substance use of any kind must be addressed immediately, as it could lead to serious addiction problems. Just like adults, some children even turn to these substances to deal with mental distress.

Immediate and Pressing Problems

If your child or adolescent experiences any of these concerns, please seek immediate professional help.


Obviously, this does not include the “imaginary friend” that so many young children dream up. But if your child begins hearing or seeing things that yourself or others cannot, you should seek professional help.


Any child or adolescent that injures themselves or engages in overtly risky behavior may need significant mental healthcare assistance.

Suicidal Thoughts or Actions

Never take talk of suicide or attempted suicide lightly. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among children and young adults ages 10-24. So, if you hear or witness anything in reference to suicide with any child, notify someone immediately and seek professional care for the child.

kids participating in group therapy

Child Psychiatry May Be the Solution

If you are concerned about the mental wellbeing of your child, please do not hesitate to call our offices today and schedule an appointment with our caring professionals. We will ensure that you get the assistance and mental health support that you and your child needs. We can set up an in-office appointment or talk with you and your child over a tele-health visit.

We will utilize traditional psychiatric approaches, while balancing that with our diverse knowledge of other mental health approaches to ensure your child’s optimal psychological wellbeing.

Contact us at our offices in Smyrna between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 770-858-5377.

Visit Our Resources Page

Bridgepoint encourages clinicians, patients, and their loved ones to research new methodologies and techniques to improve mental health and wellbeing. To assist with your own learning, we’ve put together a variety of resources on a variety of topics – including genomics – to help you on your mental health journey.

View Now
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