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Child Psychiatrist

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Summary

Treat kids with emotional and mental illness using drugs and therapy.

What does a Child Psychiatrist do?

Child Psychiatrists are paid by schools, hospitals, and families to diagnose and treat young people with emotional challenges, including mental illnesses and disabilities. While kids are taught that “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” the truth is: Emotional pain is just as hurtful as physical pain—especially for children. That’s why Child Psychiatrists are extremely important.

As a Child Psychiatrist, also known as a Pediatric Psychiatrist, you’re both a Medical Doctor and a Therapist. That means, unlike a Child Psychologist who is just a Therapist, you’re uniquely entitled to both counsel children and prescribe them medications.

In fact, you do both of those things in the course of a normal day. Because you work with children and teenagers, however—who are constantly growing and changing—you do them differently than a normal Psychiatrist. You have to, because children typically have different problems and needs than adults, require different treatments and dosages, and have different symptoms and side effects.

Still, you do a lot of the same tasks as a typical Psychiatrist: You meet with patients, for instance, interview them and give them medical tests in order to diagnose their problems, then help treat them, usually with a combination of talk and drug therapy—the former of which is especially challenging, since kids often have their own private language!