Child Psychiatry

Child Psychiatry

Is my child normal?

Most parents naturally recognize whether their child or teenager is behaving and developing ‘normally.’ Generally, a child or teenager is developing normally if he or she is involved in and enjoys the following:

- class learning and activities
- relationships with family and friends
- playing

Most parents, at some time or another, worry whether their child is normal or not based on certain changes in that child’s development, behavior or emotions. It may be reassuring to know that a child’s concerning behavior is more often a reaction to changes in some family or social condition, rather than a disorder within the child. However, at times changes in the behavior of children and teens may be so disruptive and worrisome that they risk the health and normal functioning of the child or family. At times like those, parents may benefit from partnering with a professional to guide them and get the necessary treatment for their child or teenager. 

Who is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist?

A Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of thought, feeling and behavior affecting children, adolescents and families. Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists offer patients their expertise developed through many years of medical education and, at times, intensive therapy training, which are guided by a professional and ethical obligation to their patients.

When is it time to see a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist?

A Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist can answer questions and address concerns about what is normal and what is not in a particular child. Factors such as personality, developmental stage and external influences are thoroughly considered. The following behaviors should prompt consideration for further evaluation by a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist or Child Therapist:

Younger Children

  • Hyperactivity; fidgeting; constant movement beyond regular playing
  • Recurrent nightmares
  • Persistent disobedience or aggression or opposition to authority figures (parents, teachers)
  • Frequent, unexplainable temper tantrums
  • Refusal to go to school
  • Unexplained and repeated stomach complaints


  • Marked change in school performance
  • Inability to cope with problems
  • Marked changes in sleeping and/or eating habits
  • Frequent physical complaints
  • Sexual promiscuity
  • Prolonged negative mood and attitude, usually accompanied by poor appetite, difficulty sleeping or thoughts of death
  • Recurrent nightmares
  • Thoughts of causing harm to oneself or others
  • Self destructive behavior and habits (smoking, alcohol or drug abuse)
  • Frequent outbursts of anger and aggression
  • Threats to run away
  • Aggressive or non-aggressive violation of the rights of others; opposition to authority, playing ‘hooky’, thefts or vandalism
  • Strange thoughts, beliefs, feelings, or unusual behaviors

What training does a Child and Psychiatrist have?

Child and Adolescent Psychiatric training requires 4 years of medical school, at least 3 and sometimes 4 years of approved Psychiatry Residency training that includes Medicine, Neurology, and General Adult Psychiatry, and 2 years of additional, specialized training in psychiatric care of children, adolescents and their families in an accredited Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship, yielding a total of at least 9 years of study and specialized practice after an undergraduate degree.

In the General Psychiatry training years, the physician becomes competent in the fundamentals of the theory and practice of psychiatry. In the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship, the physician acquires a thorough knowledge of normal child and family development, as well recognition and treatment of abnormal development. Special emphasis is given to disorders that appear in childhood, such as pervasive developmental disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), mental retardation, mood disorders, depressive and anxiety disorders, drug dependency and delinquency (conduct disorder). The Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship is designed to provide treatment of a full spectrum of illnesses from what may appear to be relatively benign disruptions in behavior to some of the most difficult cases. Active partnership with other specialists, including Therapists and Pediatricians, make the Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist the cornerstone of effective and comprehensive care for your troubled child or adolescent.

Thuy D. Rotunda, M.D.
1100 Quail Street
Suite 100A
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Tel: (949) 608-9659
Fax: (949) 608-9659
Thuy Rotunda, MD
Thuy D. Rotunda, M.D.
Newport Beach Psychiatrist
Newport Beach Psychiatrist
Newport Beach