Comprehensive Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Evaluations and Treatments
What is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist?
A Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, like Dr. Kevin Passer, essentially has as much training as a General Surgeon. In fact, it takes at least thirteen years after high school to become a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. All Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have already received training in Adult Psychiatry.
What a Child and Adolescent does is to work with kids and their families in order to solve certain problems most commonly affecting kids between the ages of about three to seventeen. These problems may involve forms of mental illnesses typically seen in childhood and adolescence, issues involving schools and their interactions between students and parents, legal matters regarding adolescents whom have disruptive conduct, consultation to other physicians for particular questions about children in their practices best answered by a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist as well as many other areas of interest requiring such services.
In general, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist deals with abnormal or problematic behaviors, feelings and thoughts involving kids of all ages.
What are some of the reasons to seek help from a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist?
If a child is having severe behavioral problems at home with their family, in school or with peers; a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist is able to evaluate the various factors contributing to the problem(s) and to provide an appropriate plan of action to help resolve the problem(s). Psychiatric conditions are often called disorders. Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists can evaluate and treat Disruptive Behavior Disorders, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and more severe Conduct Disorders in children. Anxiety Disorders like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Panic Disorder, as well as Mood Disorders like Major Depression and even Bipolar Disorder are all found in children and are best addressed with the assistance of a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. Here is a partial list of common problems and conditions which can be helped by a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist:
Neurodevelopmental Disorders – Autism Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Language and Learning Disorders like Dyslexia, Stuttering and Tourette Syndrome
Disorders stemming primarily from abuse and neglect-Reactive Attachment Disorder of Childhood, Acute Stress and Post-traumatic Stress Disorders.
Anxiety Disorders-Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder with or without Agorophobia and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Mood Disorders-Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder (Chronic Depression) and Bipolar Disorder (which can occur in children and often starts in adolescence)
Thought Disorders-Psychotic Disorders like Schizophrenia (which usually begins in late adolescence), Schizo-Affective Disorder as well as Psychotic symptoms as a part of a Mood Disorder
Feeding and Eating Disorders-Anorexia Nervosa, Binge-Eating Disorder and Overeating Disorder
Elimination Disorders-Enuresis (Bedwetting) and Encopresis-(involves feces)
Substance Use Disorders-Any form of Substance Abuse found in adults can also be seen in adolescents and often begins during teenage years including Tobacco Use Disorder
Disruptive Behavior Disorders-Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Antisocial Disorders with aggression and violence toward self and others
Do Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists prescribe medications for kids?
Only after performing a complete and comprehensive evaluation and depending on the nature of the problem, sometimes medications are used to help a child with a severe mental illness. Medications, when prescribed, are never used alone. Rather, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist will often use other forms of therapies as indicated. These would include behavioral modification therapy, individual therapy, family therapy, school-based therapies, cognitive therapies, as well as other specific therapies geared toward helping the child and his or her family the resolve the problem. If and when medications are prescribed, they are always used at the lowest effective doses and for the least amount of time as possible. Children prescribed medication are monitored carefully for significant side-effects, which are then addressed as necessary.
It is always important before any medication is prescribed for a child or adolescent, to carefully weigh both the potential risks and benefits of the medication for the patient. In addition, the Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist must weight, if you will, the risks and benefits to the patient of not prescribing the medication. Only after such a risk vs benefit analysis is undertaken, should a medication be prescribed for the child AND only after the consent of the patient’s parents.
Medications to help children with emotional should not necessarily be used as the “last resort.” That is because, often times, if one waits until everything has been tried and failed; the child’s life is then in such a bad way that it can be almost impossible to provide an effective remedy.
What does Board Certified mean?
Dr. Kevin Passer is a Board Certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. What this means is that he has graduated a four year undergraduate college and then from a four year medical school and is a medical doctor, he has completed a certified Residency program in General-Adult Psychiatry for three years, he has completed a certified Fellowship program in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and then, he passed a series of written and oral examinations as required by a certified examining board of other Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists.
In Dr. Passer’s case, he received his Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Fellowship training at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Over the past thirty years, Dr. Passer has seen over 18,000 kids of all and their families for a very broad array of conditions. In addiction that, Dr. Passer also works with other physicians, pediatricians, family physicians, school counsellors, child protective services and the juvenile justice system.
How long will an evaluation take for my child?
Usually, Dr. Passer will spend between 1 ½ to 2 hours for a child psychiatric evaluation, depending on the age of the child and what questions he is being asked. Sometimes, a onetime only evaluation is done, and Dr. Passer will decide that there is nothing terribly wrong with the child and that treatment and follow-up care are not indicated. Other times, Dr. Passer may decide that a child is in need of treatment and will then review the treatment plan with the parents. If Dr. Passer prescribes a certain form of treatment, he will want to see the patient and their family back again for follow-up care.