Children and adolescents who are experiencing troubling behaviors and need help managing mental, emotional, or behavioral issues may benefit from the services of child and adolescent psychiatry. These specialized doctors focuses on identifying and the source of the behaviors, diagnosing them and then providing the patient and their family with guidance on treatment, including medications and therapy. 

How Do You Know If Your Child Needs a Psychiatrist?

If your child displays any of the following behaviors or other disturbing behaviors, talk with your healthcare professional and they may suggest that you contact a psychiatrist for an official diagnosis and treatment options. 


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder characterized by problems with focus, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. According to estimates, 3 to 7 % of school-aged kids and roughly 4 % of adults experience ADHD. Symptoms of ADHD can make it difficult for individuals to succeed in school, work, and social situations.

ADHD can be treated with a combination of medication and behavior therapy.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders in children and adolescents, with an estimated prevalence of 5-20%. Anxiety disorders can significantly impact a child's academic performance, social interactions, and overall quality of life.

Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and phobias. Children and adolescents with anxiety problems experience excessive worry, difficulty concentrating, racing heart, and insomnia. Anxiety disorders can hinder a child's functioning in school and social circumstances.

Anxiety problems are often treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy, which can assist children in identifying and changing negative thought patterns as well as developing coping skills. In some circumstances, medication may be prescribed. Most children with anxiety disorders can learn to manage their symptoms and live healthy, productive lives with treatment.

Expression of Suicidal Ideas or Self-harm

Suicide is a serious and growing problem among children and adolescents. Each year, thousands of young people commit suicide. Suicide is the second major cause of death for people aged 10 to 24 and the sixth major cause of death for people aged 5 to 14.

Most young people who attempt suicide do not want to die. They are trying to solve a problem that feels overwhelming. They may be trying to escape from a situation that feels unbearable, or they may be trying to get attention.

Warning signs that your child may be considering suicide include:

  • Talking about wanting to die or self-harming
  • Expressing hopelessness
  • Being a burden to others
  • Increasing alcohol or drug abuse
  • Withdrawing from friends and activities
  • Abnormal mood swings
  • Giving away prized possessions

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

ASD is a developmental disorder caused by differences in the brain. Some individuals with ASD have a recognized difference, like a genetic disorder. Other underlying causes aren't known yet. Scientists think different reasons for ASD act together to alter the most prevalent ways people develop.

Even though there's no cure, treatment can help manage ASD symptoms. And that's where the need for a psychiatrist comes in. Psychiatrists in Richmond VA, are medical doctors with special training in mental health issues. They can not only diagnose conditions but prescribe or administer medication as appropriate to treat co-occurring conditions that often accompany ASD, like depression and anxiety.

Suppose your child has been diagnosed with ASD. In that case, you might be suffering from anxiety over how to deal with certain behaviors like aggression, tantrums, or hyperactivity that can be part of the disorder. Psychiatrists can help you come up with strategies for dealing with these behaviors and for managing your stress at the same time.

Disaster and Trauma

A child who has experienced a disaster may have witnessed it firsthand. They could have suffered an injury themselves, or they could have lost a loved one. Children can also learn about disasters from TV, the media, other people, or a combination.

Disasters and traumas are unpredictable, life-changing events that can impact your child's development. A child psychiatrist can help treat children who have been victims of disaster or trauma, like a natural disaster, abuse, or animal attack.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

1-3% of kids and adolescents have OCD. This is a complicated condition that can be hard to manage even for adults, so it's no surprise that children have a challenging time with it. Those suffering from OCD may be plagued by unwanted and intrusive thoughts, feelings, or images (obsessions), which they try to suppress and keep at bay by performing specific actions or rituals (compulsions).

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

It is not unheard of for children, particularly those in "terrible twos" or early adolescents, to occasionally disobey their parents or other adults in charge. When this disobedient behavior continues for more than six months and is extreme compared to what is typical for the child's age, it may indicate that the kid has a type of behavioral disorder known as oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). This disorder is characterized by persistent defiance and a lack of compliance with authority figures.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a brain illness that produces extreme or unusual mood, energy level, thought, and behavior changes. Mania is a state experienced by people with bipolar disorder, characterized by elevated mood and energy levels ranging from intense joy to extreme irritability.

WHOA Services

WHOA Behavioral Health provides medication treatment for ages four and above with mental health disorders. Our practitioners have a range of experience and backgrounds in multiple psychiatry services to help clients heal. The medication provider meets with a patient once a month to evaluate effectiveness. Together, we ensure customers' comprehensive and holistic treatment.

With services via Telehealth and in-person, WHOA can help with insurance questions and have qualified, licensed providers with a range of experience and backgrounds to help clients heal. We offer the following services.

  • Mental health skill building
  • Equine therapy program
  • Psychiatric services
  • Cognitive Evaluations
  • Treatment for SAIOP
  • Intensive in-home
  • Crisis stabilization
  • Biodynamic craniosacral therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Outpatient services

Is your child or family in need of psychiatric services? Contact WHOA Behavioral Health today and let our qualified and competent specialists walk you through the healing process.

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