When to Take Your Teen to an  Adolescent Psychiatrist?

A therapy session with a teen

Adolescents undergo a lot of challenges, some of which take a toll on their psychological development, resulting in a wide range of issues, including mood swings, sadness, anxiety, and many more. A few therapy sessions with a psychiatrist will make a significant change to your teen’s overall well-being.

What is an Adolescent Psychiatrist?

Adolescent psychiatrists, also known as child and adolescent psychiatrists, are physicians specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of emotional, mental, and behavioral disorders among adolescents or teens. Such a person helps teens and their families to find ways to cope with stress, relationship, and psychological problems. Typically, an adolescent psychiatrist;

  • Evaluate the patient’s emotional, behavioral, mental, and developmental health

  • Carries out psychiatric examinations and psychotherapy

  • Prescribes medications to the patient

  • Orders and interprets diagnostic imaging exams and lab tests

  • Diagnoses and treats a wide range of mental health disorders among adolescents, including dementia, anxiety, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

What Signs May Signal That Your Teen Needs a Psychiatric Evaluation?

As mentioned before, adolescence is a period of new experiences and constant change. As a parent, you will need to strike a balance between helping your child to navigate the challenges of this stage and giving them the freedom they want. And while not every teenager needs a psychiatrist, it comes a time when this mental expert is necessary. So, how can you tell your child needs the help of a psychiatrist? Well, here are the signs to look out for.

A significant Decline in Academic Performance

Poor school performance, including declining grades, can be one of the signs that your teen is struggling with a mental issue. The poor performance stems from the fact that schoolwork is no longer their priority. Many mental problems could contribute to this problem, including hopelessness, anxiety, and many more. The child will need a psychiatrist to precisely nail down the cause and prescribe a suitable therapy.

A therapy session with a teen boy


Hyperactivity is a neurobehavioral disorder characterized by attention deficit and impulsive behavior. In adolescents, signs and symptoms of this condition include difficulty multi-tasking, difficulty organizing things, frequent loss of possessions, restlessness, reckless behavior, and failure to maintain attention on homework. Hyperactive teens may not get good grades in school even if their intelligence is normal or above average.

Excessive Anxiety

Anxiety disorders tend to vary among adolescents. Generally, symptoms include a tendency to be excessively vigilant or wary, a feeling of inner restlessness, and excessive worries and fears. Some teens record extreme stress and continual nervousness even in the absence of any threat. Also, anxious adolescents tend to be uneasy, dependent, or withdrawn in social settings. Excessive anxiety may also cause trembling, sweating, stomachaches, and headaches. If your child depicts these signs, it could be time to see a psychiatrist.

Unpredictable Temper Tantrums

Is your teen showing signs of disrespect or a short temper of late? Is he or she less compliant, easily frustrated, or more opinionated? You may want to call these temper tantrums, and they are a tell-tale sign that your loved one needs to visit a psychiatrist.

Sudden Mood Swings

While mood swings are normal among teenagers because of hormonal changes, they should not be frequent. Frequent or intense mood swings may signal an underlying psychiatric condition, such as stress or depression. Your child may need to be examined by an adolescent psychiatrist.

Suicidal Thoughts

This is yet another sign you will need to deal with immediately. Suicidal threats or attempts to commit suicide must be taken with seriousness. Never ignore them, even if your child seems to be joking.

Constant Nightmares

A nightmare is an unusual dream associated with negative emotions, such as fear or anxiety. Nightmares typically awaken one from sleep. Yes, you have nothing to worry about when your teen is experiencing occasional nightmares. However, frequent attacks should galvanize you into seeking the help of a psychiatrist.

2. Create fair and firm work boundaries

The first step in creating work boundaries is to identify the type of work boundaries that are right for you. Boundaries are different for everyone, so the first step is to be clear about what they are. After you have identified what type of boundaries you want to have at work, you need to communicate them to your colleagues and your supervisor.

Communication is key. You can try again if you have a terrible experience communicating your boundaries to your colleagues or supervisor. It is important to stay persistent and keep trying. Once your boundaries are in place, you need to stick to them. This step is critical how in dealing with stressful situations at work.

If you find that your boundaries are not respected, you must communicate them repeatedly until there is a change or until you decide to leave the relationship or the job.

3. Stay away from conflict.

Although it is easy to see how dealing with conflict could help you reduce stress, the opposite may be true. Many times when you are faced with conflict, it is natural for you to want to jump in and try to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

Interpersonal conflict can be detrimental to your physical and emotional health. Avoiding it at the workplace can be challenging. If possible, steer clear of those who don’t work well with others. And whenever conflict arises, deal with it appropriately.

3. Allow yourself to single-task

Many people frequently multitask throughout the day, and this might seem like a good idea at first—after all, it can seem like you get more done in a shorter amount of time. However, research shows that multitasking can reduce productivity and negatively affect your health.

One way to reduce the stress you experience from work and improve your work performance is to focus on single-tasking. For example, you can set a timer for yourself when doing tasks requiring your attention and focus. Setting a timer for yourself can help you stay focused on one task and avoid the temptation to switch tasks before the timer goes off.

A teen suffering from a nightmare

Self-destructive Behaviors

Self-destructive teens behave more or less like suicide bombers who express their frustration by blowing themselves up. They may take their parents and other loved ones down with them in the process. Others even cut their bodies. Self-destructive behavior may be caused by various factors, including anger turned inwards. The key to helping your teen who is self-destructing is to visit a psychiatrist.

Significant Sleep Difficulties

Is your child not sleeping well at night? It could be insomnia, which could put your teen at serious risk. Causes of sleep difficulties include mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and stress. If not addressed, insomnia could lead to poor quality of life and render your child unable to carry out their day-to-day activities and responsibilities.

Angry Outbursts and Aggressive Behaviors

While it is normal for especially teenagers to get angry, frequent anger and outbursts are not healthy. If your teenager can be described as aggressive, destructive, or volatile, then a psychiatrist may be necessary.

Summing Up

As you can see, there are many signs that can show your teenager needs a psychiatrist. Visiting an adolescent psychiatrist early will help diagnose and address any underlying cause of the problem in time. By seeking help, your child may be able to effectively manage mood swings, improve their behavior, make lifestyle changes, and live a healthier life. But how do you choose an adolescent psychiatrist? Well, here is how to find a good adolescent psychiatrist.

Look for a board-certified psychiatrist: Certification is a sure sign that the expert is well qualified for the job.

Don’t go for a general psychiatrist: You will need someone who can effectively deal with your teenager. Hence, an expert in adolescent psychiatry would be a good bet.

Choose a friendly person: This is someone who will be dealing with possibly fragile patients. Hence, they must be understanding, friendly, and patient.

Check their availability: Teenagers with mental disorders can erupt anytime, causing problems. You will need a psychiatrist for adolescent to turn to whenever your child is in need.

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