This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
Though most people primarily associate mental health as an adult issue, the fact is that good mental well-being starts in childhood. Many mental illnesses start in youth but are often dismissed as moodiness or as a phase. However, these conditions should be taken seriously and treated by a psychiatrist as soon as possible.
But what is a psychiatrist, and how do they differ from therapists? In this article, you will learn all about psychiatry and how it can benefit your child.
What Is Psychiatry?
Psychiatry is a medical profession that specializes in psychology and mental health. Psychiatrists primarily diagnose, treat, and prevent emotional, mental, and behavioral disorders. Therefore, they have a more medical approach to mental health and focus more on scientific and research-based treatments.
This option is most beneficial for children who are struggling with severe mental health conditions. Though therapists and psychologists can be just as helpful, a psychiatrist will take a more medical approach. For example, if your child is struggling with a life change and you want them to try out talk therapy, a psychologist or therapist may be a better fit. However, if you and your child have tried talk therapy with little results, then a psychiatrist may offer other treatment options.
If you want to learn more about the basics of psychiatry, you can find more resources and information at BetterHelp.
How Psychiatrists Help
Psychiatrists primarily study and treat mental illnesses and disorders. Therefore, they are most helpful when providing research and science-based treatment options to treat or prevent these conditions.
The first way they can help is by assessing your child’s mental health and diagnosing potential mental illnesses. Though many people don’t realize it, many behaviors and moods can be attributed to a mental health condition. Though this is not always the case, it is still good to have your child assessed by a psychiatrist if you are concerned about their moods or behaviors.
If a mental illness is diagnosed, they will take a medical approach to treatment. This can include certain forms of therapy as well as medication. If medication is a desired or required treatment option, please remember that only psychiatrists can prescribe psychiatric medication. If you choose to take your child to a therapist instead, they will not be able to treat the condition with medication.
Reasons Your Child Would Benefit From Seeing A Psychiatrist
Though psychiatrists have a more narrow focus in the field of mental health, they can still help your child with numerous issues and mental health conditions. Many behaviors and moods that are dismissed as “just a phase” may actually indicate a mental illness or disorder. Therefore, if their behavior is affecting their school, relationships, or well-being, you may want to get your child assessed by a psychiatrist.
Your child may benefit from seeing a psychiatrist if they are experiencing any of the following:
- Not adjusting well to environmental or life changes
- Not socializing well with peers
- Showing signs of depression
- Academic decline
- Destructive behaviors
- Abnormal mood swings
- Not responding well to traditional talk therapy
- Needs medication to treat their condition
- Thoughts of suicide**
**If your child is experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately at 1-800-273-8255.
Every child deserves to experience joy and good quality of life. However, many children live with untreated mental health conditions, which can cause significant challenges and distress. If you see your child struggling with a condition, don’t hesitate to bring them to a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist will be able to make an accurate diagnosis and provide treatment so they can return to being a joyful and happy kid again.