Child and adolescent psychiatry (CAP) is a specialty where medical doctors work with children, young people up to the age of 18 and their families.

Psychiatrists have completed their medical training, followed by specialist higher training in psychiatry. Following completion of their higher training they will go on to become Consultant grade, which usually takes at least 10 years. Because they have completed medical training they are able to prescribe medication, which Psychologist and Psychotherapists cannot.

Psychiatrists diagnose and treat a wide range of mental health problems and conditions, including:

Neuro-developmental problems arising in childhood:

  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • autism and learning disability
  • tic disorders
  • other developmental difficulties

Emotional and behavioural problems:

  • disruptive behaviour including  conduct disorders, substance abuse and behavioural addiction, including internet and gaming dependence
  • feeding and toileting difficulties
  • depression
  • anxiety, panic, phobias and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)
  • bipolar disorder
  • response to trauma or life adjustment (such as domestic violence and divorce)
  • attachment disorders

Other significant mental health problems:

  • eating disorders
  • psychosis
  • self-harm and attempted suicide
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • emerging personality disorders
  • effects of physical disorders or disabilities

What to expect at your appointment:

  • Appointment length – The standard appointment is between 60 and 120 minutes long and this is usually long enough to reach a conclusion. Assessments for certain conditions and those with very complex situations may need extra time, we’ll discuss with you if we think a longer appointment might be helpful.
  • Parental Attendance – Parents of children under the age of 18 are asked to attend the assessment as well. The consultant will want to speak to you about your child’s history and current health, but may also want some time alone with your child. This is so they can assess behaviour without parental influence and is nothing to be worried about.

What to expect after your appointment:

Assessment report – Following your appointment, you will be sent a full psychiatric report, This my include responses to any questionnaires needed (sometimes your child’s school will be asked to complete a questionnaire so the Psychiatrist can understand more about their school life). The report will detail a diagnosis, where one is clear, and any treatment recommendations.

  • Prescriptions – If the Psychiatrist recommends a medication in the report, then you can ask your NHS GP if they will be willing to prescribe it. In our experience your GP will be likely to prescribe in most circumstances upon receipt of your Psychiatrist’s report, although they will often refuse to prescribe more expensive medications such as those for ADHD.
  • Your child may be recommended to see a Psychologist or Psychotherapist for further treatment. We can help arrange this treatment privately or you may wish to be treated by the NHS.

Dr. Pallavi Bujarbaruah, Dr. Caroline Flisher, Dr. Rakendu Suren and Dr. Mehdi Mirkhani are our Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists.