Practitioners in Telepsychiatry Companies: Adult vs. Child Psychiatrists

Practitioners in Telepsychiatry Companies: Adult vs. Child Psychiatrists

child meeting virtually with Telepsychiatry Companies
Telepsychiatry companies connect patients and clients to specialized providers.

Most telepsychiatry companies will tell you that mental health challenges do not discriminate based on age. Both adults and children are susceptible to a wide range of mental health issues, from depression and anxiety, to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. But just as a pediatrician specializes in the medical care of kids, there’s a crucial distinction between the professionals at telepsychiatry companies who treat adults, and those who focus on children and adolescents.

To learn how you can expand your mental health services with help from adult and child psychiatrists alike, contact us.

The Path to Specialization

Both adult and child psychiatrists start on a similar path. The journey begins with medical school, followed by a four-year residency in general psychiatry. It’s after this foundation that the paths diverge.

Adult psychiatrists focus on the complexities of mental health conditions in adults, including age-related issues like dementia. They might delve into areas like addiction psychiatry or geriatric psychiatry. Child and adolescent psychiatrists complete an additional two years of fellowship training specifically in child and adolescent mental health. This covers understanding developmental stages, family dynamics, and the unique ways mental illnesses present in young people.

The Focus of Treatment

Let’s break down the key areas where the focus of treatment differs between the two specializations:

  • Developmental Factors: A child’s brain and body are constantly changing and evolving. Child psychiatrists working for telepsychiatry companies must have a deep grasp of normal development and be able to spot when things deviate from the expected trajectory. They consider factors like social development, school performance, and family environment when assessing a child’s mental state.
  • Conditions and Symptoms: While children and adults may experience similar diagnoses, presentation can differ. For example, irritability may be a more prominent sign of depression in a child than the low mood commonly seen in adults.
  • Treatment Approaches: Child psychiatrists often rely heavily on play therapy, family therapy, and school collaboration. Medication is used with careful consideration, taking into account potential side effects on a developing body and brain. Adult psychiatrists are more likely to use a combination of medication and talk therapy, like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
  • External Influences: Children typically don’t have autonomy over their living situation, schooling, and other key life decisions. Child psychiatrists frequently work within the child’s system, engaging parents, teachers, and other significant figures to support the child’s treatment goals.

Which Specialist Does My Telepsychiatry Patient Need?

If the patient is an adult experiencing persistent changes in mood, difficulty functioning in social or work settings, struggling with substance use, or having intrusive or disturbing thoughts, telepsychiatry companies should consult an adult psychiatrist. 

If the patient is an adolescent struggling with sudden behavioral changes, declining academic performance, withdrawal from social activities, self-harm, or significant disruptions in eating or sleeping, telepsychiatry companies should consult a child or adolescent psychiatrist.

While distinctions exist, it’s important to remember that mental health care doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Good psychiatrists, regardless of specialization, consult colleagues who specialize in particular areas, and work in tandem with pediatricians and other medical specialists to ensure well-rounded care.

Finding the right mental health professionals for your patients is critical. If you are looking for telepsychiatry companies to help you provide the best possible care, contact FasPsych today.