The child psychiatrist serves as the advocate for the best interests of their young patients. According to the APA, an estimated 7 to 12 million youths in the United States suffer from a diagnosable psychiatric disorder. But only a very small proportion actually receives some form of mental health service. For the most comprehensive medical care, they need the expertise of a specialist in child and adolescent psychiatry.
The mental, behavioral, and developmental problems that affect children and teenagers include autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disorders, bulimia and anorexia, behavioral disorders, and emotional disturbances. In their diagnostic examinations, child psychiatrists look at many components, from physical to cognitive, and from genetic to emotional. They take an integrative biopsychosocial approach, and consult with physicians and professionals from schools, social agencies, and juvenile courts. Working with kids challenges your creativity and imagination. And they need you, too — there is currently a national shortage of qualified child psychiatrists. By 2020, the demand for these specialists is expected to increase by nearly 100%.7 Although this fellowship requires 2 years of additional study, residents usually begin training after their third postgraduate year and complete both residency and fellowship within 5 years.
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