Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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In medicine, child and adolescent psychiatry is the specialty of psychiatry that deals the study, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of psychopathological disorders of children and adolescents. Child and adolescent psychiatry encompasses the clinical investigation of phenomenology, biologic factors, psychosocial factors, genetic factors, demographic factors, environmental factors, history, and the response to interventions of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders.[1]

Most of the psychopathology human life begins at the stage of childhood and / or adolescence. Another important reason for not having a child and adolescent psychiatry subject to adult, is that most entities psychopathological originate, either exclusively or frequently in the years of development.

These are several reasons that support child and adolescent psychiatry as a specific medical specialty. The international classification of mental illness and behavioral disorders of the World Health Organization (WHO), shows that over 80% of mental disorders of people are initiated into the stages of childhood and adolescence. Without neglecting that 33% of mental illnesses are exclusive of childhood and adolescence. Since then, in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV and DSM-IV.R) have corrected some of the questionable parsing of psychiatric disorders into "childhood" and "adult" disorders, recognizing that while many psychiatric disorders are not diagnosed until adulthood, are present in childhood or adolescence.

Other important issues specific to the child and adolescent psychiatry are:

  • Evolutionary Psychology and the normal development of children and adolescents.
  • Pediatric disorders and diseases (especially in genetics, neurology, endocrinology, chronic diseases of children and adolescents).
  • Disorders related directly to education, family and school, in children and adolescents.
  • Specific therapeutic methods and their application to children and adolescents.

Is the right of the child and adolescent psychiatry to be a medical specialty independent, or in other words, a specialty of the first level. Can be accessed directly without going through a prior training in general psychiatry or pediatrics. There are other options that can provide access to a sub-specialty, after having completed training in pediatrics or general psychiatry, but it should not be the rule that exclude the other possibilities.


  1. Kaplan, Harold I.; Sadock, Benjamin J.; Sadock, Virginia A. (2005). Kaplan & Sadock's comprehensive textbook of psychiatry. Hagerstwon, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 0-7817-3434-7. 

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