Pediatric Medical Psychiatric Comorbidities

Some children experience both a medical condition, like epilepsy, and a mental health condition, like anxiety. When medical doctors at Children’s Health℠ believe a child they’re treating needs mental health support, they call in our child psychiatry and psychology specialists. These experts work together with your child’s other doctors to make sure your child gets all the care they need, for all areas of their health.

What are Pediatric Medical Psychiatric Comorbidities?

The term “comorbidity” means that a person has one or more conditions. Someone with a psychiatric comorbidity has a mental, emotional or behavioral health issue in addition to another medical condition.

For example, a child with cancer may also experience depression. Their depression is not necessarily caused by their cancer. But the two conditions are related because they both affect the child’s overall health. When a child has psychiatric comorbidities, our medical doctors and mental health professionals work together to help them.

At Children’s Health, we see patients with medical conditions that can also have a wide range of psychiatric conditions. These can include:

How are Pediatric Medical Psychiatric Comorbidities diagnosed?

At Children’s Health, we take care of children with a wide range of medical problems. We recognize that children may also have mental health issues that they are struggling with that may be affecting their medical condition.

If your child’s medical doctor is concerned that your child may need some help with a mental health concern, they will reach out to one of our psychiatrists, psychologists or therapists and ask for their help. A member of the team will talk with you and your child about your child’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors. They may recommend treatment and in some cases may also provide care while your child is receiving medical care Children’s Health.

What causes Pediatric Medical Psychiatric Comorbidities?

In general, psychiatric disorders can be caused by things like chemical imbalances in the brain, heredity, traumatic experiences or stress. A psychiatric comorbidity is not necessarily caused by having a medical condition, but children with a major medical diagnosis are more likely to have mental, emotional or behavioral health issues as well.

How are Pediatric Medical Psychiatric Comorbidities treated?

Child psychiatrists and psychologists work closely with your child’s doctors to understand your child’s needs and recommend the right treatment. Sometimes, we start treating your child’s psychiatric needs while they are in the hospital.

Coping skills

This may include teaching them ways to keep calm and deal with their emotions.


It could also include medication for things like anxiety or depression. If medication is recommended, your child’s psychiatry and medical teams work together to ensure their medical condition isn’t impacted.


For others, we provide information and advice that the whole family can use at home. This may include tips for communication and ways of coping when your child is having a hard time.

Ongoing treatment

For many children, we recommend ongoing treatment after leaving the hospital. This might involve seeing a therapist or counselor once a week or seeing a psychiatrist to manage medication.

Pediatric Medical Psychiatric Comorbidities Doctors and Providers

Our team consists of psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed professional counselors and social workers who all specialize in working with children.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How are medical and psychiatric comorbidities related?

    The relationship between mental and physical health is deep and complex. One condition doesn't always cause another. But research shows that people with a long-term illness are more likely to develop psychiatric disorders.

    People with psychiatric disorders are at higher risk of having long-term illnesses. When a child has multiple conditions, it can make their symptoms worse and harder to deal with.

  • Why is it important to treat psychiatric comorbidities?

    Good mental health is important on its own, and it can also improve physical health. Psychiatric treatment can help children reduce or cope with symptoms. It can also help them be happier and more engaged at home and school.