Mental health is no longer a taboo subject as much as it was decades past. For that reason, you have probably recognised that if your child develops a mental disorder, you should seek the right help. Nonetheless, some people tend to presume that psychologists and psychiatrists offer the same type of treatment. The reality is that psychologists will focus on talk therapy, also referred to as psychotherapy, and will not prescribe medication to help with an individual's mental or emotional state.
A psychiatrist, on the other hand, focuses on various courses of treatment including psychotherapy, medication management and behavioural intervention. It is worth noting that if your child cannot articulate what they feel, then a psychiatrist will be best placed to handle their mental health treatment. Below are a couple of critical signs that should prompt you to seek a psychiatric evaluation for your child.
Acute behavioural changes
Your child's treatment is bound to change on occasion as they grow up and begin to want to exert their autonomy. However, not all behavioural changes should be deemed as natural consequences of growing up. When their behaviour is seemingly acutely different, it could mean that your child is currently living with an undiagnosed mental disorder.
Some of the behavioural changes that should prompt you to seek a psychiatric evaluation include extremely aggressive behaviour for a prolonged duration, sudden withdrawal from family and friends and anything else that is severely out of character. In most cases, your child may need medication or behavioural intervention rather than talk therapy.
Overwhelming yet unexplainable fear
Children, similar to adults, will exhibit fear and anxiety from time to time depending on the strain a situation or environment is causing them. For instance, it is common to find that some kids will have separation anxiety each time they are apart from their parent until they get used to being away from their presence. Once this fear or anxiety starts to affect your child's overall functioning, it is likely time to see a psychiatrist for in-depth treatment.
For instance, some kids may be too fearful of the outdoors so going to school becomes nearly impossible, which could be indicative of agoraphobia. On the other hand, your child may be suffering from severe anxiety that is interrupting their sleep with continual nightmares. A psychiatrist will run tests to get to the root of the fear and determine what course of treatment will help ease these intense emotions.
For more information, contact a psychiatrist at a clinic like Takes Care Psychology Pty Ltd.