Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

There are a range of mental, emotional and psychological developmental changes that occur during childhood and adolescence. In some cases, a child or teens behaviour may be questionable and be of concern to parents. As a specialist Psychiatrist with a particular interest in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Dr Chawane is able to diagnose and treat a range of learning, mood and behavioural disorders and problems of children and teens.

Parents or health care professionals usually become concerned if a child is exhibiting behaviour that is out of the normal for their age, or out of the ordinary in terms of their normal demeanour. In these cases, you may be referred to a psychiatrist for a more comprehensive evaluation and proper diagnosis.

What are the related symptoms?

There are different types of disorders that may affect children and adolescents, each with their own category and set of symptoms. These may include:

  • ADHD – children or teens with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may exhibit symptoms such as fidgeting, interrupts others, restlessness, lack of focus, trouble with waiting their turn and blurting out of answers.
  • Autistic spectrum – this disorder is often noticed in early childhood and includes symptoms such as inappropriate social interaction, anxiety, speech delay, poor eye contact, compulsive behaviour, impulsivity and repetitive movements.
  • Gender identity disorder disgust at their own genitalia, social isolation from their peers, anxiety, loneliness and depression.
  • Oppositional defiant disorder – categorised by frequent temper tantrums, easily annoyed, excessive arguing with adults, often questioning rules, deliberately annoys or upsets others and blames others for his or her mistakes.
  • Conduct disorder – children and teens with this disorder have aggressive behaviour such as cruelty to animals, fighting and bullying, violates rules, has destructive behaviour and has deceitful behaviour such as shoplifting and lying.
  • Mood dysregulation – this disorder is categorised as severe temper outbursts and a sad, irritable or angry mood almost every day.
  • Depression - in childhood depression may include symptoms like changes in appetite and sleep, social withdrawal, increased sensitivity to rejection, vocal outbursts of crying, difficulty concentrating and continuous feelings of sadness or hopelessness.
  • Bipolar disorder - children with bipolar disorder experience symptoms in distinct episodes. During episodes, they may include severe mood swings, hyperactive, impulsive, aggressive or socially inappropriate behaviour, risky or reckless behaviours that are out of character as well as suicidal thoughts or behaviours in older children and teens.
  • Eating Disorders - just as with adults, children and teens may also suffer from an eating disorder. Signs may include a child or teen who barely eats or a child who grossly overeats in episodes but either doesn't seem to gain weight or does gain weight. Young children may also have an aversion to particular foods.

Your psychiatrist may also be able to help treat and manage behavioural problems and suicidality in adolescents and children.

As the diagnosis of these conditions is complex, and many other factors may be leading to the presentation of similar symptoms, it is best to have you and your child visit Dr Chawane if you suspect a behaviour, developmental or mood problem may be the cause of various issues.

While these symptoms are common amongst the range of psychotic disorders, not everyone with a psychotic disorder will experience the same symptoms, and they may change over time in the same person.

What are the possible treatment options?

With her particular interest in this regard, she has knowledge of the many factors including biological and psychological factors that play a role in the development of behavioural and mood disorders among children and adolescents. When it comes to devising a treatment plan for a child with behaviour, mood or thought disorders, medication may be used to control various behavioural conditions that result from a chemical imbalance. In some cases, a combination of medication and therapy may be deemed most suitable. This may involve different therapy approaches, with just the child or with the parents as well. While Dr Chawane may become a valuable member to your child's treatment team, other individuals such as a clinical and counselling psychologist, occupational therapist and social workers may also play an important role in your child's mental healthcare. With her multidisciplinary team, she is particularly compassionate in treating children and adolescents with various behavioural and mood disorders.