Child and Adolescent Psychiatry


Child and adolescent psychiatry (or pediatric psychiatry) is a branch of psychiatry that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders in children, adolescents, and their families. It investigates the biopsychosocial factors that influence the development and course of psychiatric disorders and treatment responses to various interventions. Child and adolescent psychiatrists primarily use psychotherapy and/or medication to treat mental disorders in the pediatric population. 


Classification of disorders

Developmental disorders

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Learning disorders

Disorders of attention and behaviour

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • Conduct disorder

Psychotic disorders

  • Childhood schizophrenia

Mood disorders

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder
  • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

Anxiety disorders

  • Panic disorder
  • Phobias
  • Generalized anxiety disorder

Eating disorders

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Binge eating disorder
  • Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID)
  • Rumination
  • Pica

Gender identity disorder

  • Gender identity disorder in children 



    Treatment will usually involve one or more of the following elements: behavior therapy, cognitive-behavior therapy, problem-solving therapies, psychodynamic therapy, parent training programs, family therapy, and/or the use of medication. The intervention can also include consultation with pediatricians, primary care physicians or professionals from schools, juvenile courts, social agencies or other community organizations.
                  In a review of existing meta-analyses and disorders on the four most frequent childhood and adolescent psychiatric disorders (anxiety disorder, depression, ADHD, conduct disorder), only for ADHD was the use of medication (stimulants) considered to be the most efficacious treatment option available. For the remaining three disorders, psychotherapy is recommended as the most effective treatment of choice. A combination of psychological and pharmacological treatments is an important option in ADHD and depressive disorders. Treatments for ADHD and anxiety disorders produce higher effect-sizes than do interventions for depressive and conduct disorders.