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The University of Chicago Medicine - Comer Children's Hospital

Psychiatry: Services Offered

State-of-the-Art Therapies

At the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital, our experts treat infants, children, and teens with most types of mental health problems--from schizophrenia and depression to bulimia nervosa. We provide the most advanced treatment approaches, including:

  • Recent advances in psychopharmacology that can reduce or minimize symptoms associated with all types of problems--such as depression and anxiety
  • The latest approaches in cognitive and behavioral therapy, which can help children change destructive behaviors and thoughts
  • Proven family therapies, which involve a child's parents, siblings, and other loved ones
  • Psychotherapy or "talk" therapy aimed at helping children work through difficult issues
  • Behavior therapy for the treatment of persistently dysfunctional or disruptive behaviors
  • Coordinated treatment of psychiatric illnesses associated with complex medical problems, such as brain injury and seizure disorders

We design each treatment plan around a child's particular individual needs. What works best for your child may be different than what works for another child. Many children benefit from a combination of treatment approaches--for example, behavior therapy plus medication.

Expert Diagnosis and Testing

An accurate diagnosis is vital in providing the best possible treatment. Because our psychiatrists and psychologists have taken care of so many children with various types of disorders, they are experts at diagnosing even rare and unusual problems. They are adept at identifying problems in the very young--even infants--as well as older children and teens.

Our psychiatry service offers all of the latest approaches for diagnosing and clarifying psychiatric, psychological, and neurological diseases in children--from autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to head trauma and learning disorders. Our group of specially-trained pediatric psychologists are especially skilled at determining how various diseases and disorders affects a child's thinking. The newest tests are available to assess a child's intellectual functioning, language skills, motor abilities, and other cognitive and behavioral functions.

Outstanding Inpatient and Outpatient Care

Patients and their families are seen in one of our specialty clinics:

  • Eating Disorders Clinic: For children and teens with signs of anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa
  • General Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic: For children age 3 to 18 who have symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other problems not seen in our other specialty clinics
  • Parent-Infant Development Clinic: For infants and toddlers age 0 to 2 who have behavior problems, mother-child interaction difficulties, sleep or eating problems, and other developmental issues
  • Preschool Behavior Problems Clinic: For children age 2 to 4 who are living with their biological parents and exhibit disruptive behavior, aggressiveness, self-abuse, and other severe behavior problems

Clinician Consultations

Our psychiatrists and psychologists respond quickly to calls from children's pediatricians and other clinicians who want to confer on a child's symptoms or treatment. Our psychiatrists commonly help clinicians in the community determine the best medication or dosage for uncomplicated problems, such as straightforward ADHD and depression. Whenever possible, it is best for a child to be treated in a familiar setting and by familiar caregivers. If the problem is serious, our specialists can arrange to see a child as soon as needed.

Important Clinical Trials

Our clinicians have been awarded countless grants from the National Institutes of Health and other organizations to test new treatment approaches for many disorders. As a result, our patients often have access to new therapies before they are commonly available elsewhere.

For instance, some of our autism patients are participating in early trials of a new technique called pharmacogenetics. This revolutionary approach is designed to determine how a child's genetic make up affects his or her reaction to various medications. Results from this clinical trial may help us identify which autism drugs are the most effective for specific subtypes of autism. We also hope to identify which drugs are the safest and cause the fewest side effects.