Child psychiatry

Children’s mental health problems manifest themselves in a number of ways. Children may have behavioral disorders, attention deficiency, hyperactivity, anxiety, depression and fears. The most severe symptoms include psychotic disorders.

Child psychiatric care is always individually planned on the basis of the needs of the family and the child, and taking the immediate environment into account. Treatment is often provided over a long period, and different therapies are used at different stages of the care process. The key objective is to help the adults in the child’s life become better equipped to understand the causes of the child’s symptoms and to help the child find more constructive ways of expressing emotions and coping in challenging situations.

Child Psychiatry units treat children aged under 13. Psychiatric units for small children specialize in the treatment of children aged under 7 with psychiatric problems and their families, and in improving family interaction.

In recent years, outpatient care has been increasing in child psychiatry following efforts to reduce inpatient care. Intensive outpatient care is a relatively new form of treatment, where care is provided partly in the child’s home, at school or in day care, depending on the needs of the child and his/her growth environment.

Child psychiatric problems requiring emergency care include severe self-destructive or violent behaviour, and sudden onset of delusions.