Oftentimes, children and adolescents who are struggling with a mental health condition use or abuse substances in an unconscious attempt to cope with distressing symptoms that are associated with having a mental illness. Desert Hills Hospital offers beneficial programming that aims to address mental health issues and substance abuse concerns in order to provide young people with the most comprehensive care possible. One of the most commonly abused substances among children and adolescents is marijuana and our methods for care effectively address this type of problem while administering advantageous mental health treatment. Care for a marijuana abuse problem is necessary when the use of this substance hinders functioning and supersedes priorities and responsibilities in a person’s life. Here at Desert Hills, we strive to help young people find relief from marijuana abuse problems and treat any existing mental health concerns so as to improve the lives of the youth who come to us for care.
Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Desert Hills provides a full continuum of behavioral healthcare services that range from sub-acute residential treatment to community-based programs for children, adolescents, and their families. Since its opening in 1990, Desert Hills has grown from a small residential program to the largest and most respected provider of behavioral health services in the state of New Mexico, offering three different locations where individuals can access services. In order to ensure that we are offering the highest quality of care possible while meeting all of our patients unique needs, we provide ongoing training for and supervision of all our staff members, making sure they are up-to-date on the latest evidence-based treatment modalities. Because we are able to offer each child and adolescent customized and personal care, we can address the specific problems that marijuana abuse has imposed on your child’s life and help him or her develop the skills needed to return to living the healthy, happy life that or she deserves to be living. At Desert Hills, we are dedicated to not only improving the lives we touch, but to helping to change the lives of those we serve, one child at a time.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Young people who struggle with a marijuana abuse problem often try to hide their usage. However, there are some signs that parents and caregivers can look out for if it is suspected that their child is using this harmful substance. Ask yourself and then answer the following questions:
- Does my child’s clothing smell of marijuana?
- Does my child have red or glossy eyes?
- Does my child seem more lethargic than normal?
- Has my child changed peer groups recently?
- Does my child have a change in appetite that cannot be better explained by something else?
- Have I found drug paraphernalia among my child’s belongings?
If you have answered yes to the above questions, it is possible that your child is using or abusing marijuana. If you feel that his or her problem has escalated to a degree that would elicit treatment, below are some things you can do to help your child get the care he or she needs:
- Research treatment options that can meet the needs of your child.
- Talk with your child about his or her usage, express your concerns, and discuss the need for treatment.
- Remain supportive of your child and understand that tackling a substance abuse problem is not an easy task.
- Be involved in your child’s care and seek guidance from the professionals who are providing care.
Following through on these suggestions can ultimately produce favorable treatment outcomes and success for your child long after completing treatment. Remember, you are your child’s greatest advocate and seeking care for a marijuana abuse problem is one of the best things you can do to better your child’s life in the long run.
Why Consider Treatment at Desert Hills
When a child or adolescent chronically uses and/or abuses marijuana, it is likely that that young person is struggling with a greater, more pressing issue or issues. Frequently, the use or abuse of a substance signifies that a person is suffering from some type of inner turmoil or mental health condition. Allowing a substance abuse problem to remain untreated can eventually lead to the abuse of other substances or the development of an addiction. Additionally, if a youth is struggling with an undiagnosed mental illness, symptoms of that illness could worsen over time. A key thing to know is that there are treatment options in existence that can effectively care for substance use concerns and treat the symptoms of many mental health disorders.
Mental health treatment that incorporates substance abuse programming is one such treatment option that can help young people who abuse substances, like marijuana, and suffer from a mental illness find healing and recovery. Within this type of treatment, of which can be administered in residential care or intensive outpatient programs, youth can have access to professionals who are trained to treat mental health disorders and chemical dependency issues. Psychiatrists are also available in this type of treatment and can make recommendations and write prescriptions for medications if it is deemed necessary for a youth’s care. Lastly, when a child or adolescent is engaged in this type of programming, he or she will learn new tools for coping that can be of service for a lifetime.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
At Desert Hills, our philosophy is based on the approach that treatment should be centered on patients and their families. We train, facility wide, on the Nurtured Heart Approach in order to provide our patients and their families with inner wealth and opportunities to grow. We are dedicated to using evidence-based treatment modalities on every unit to ensure that patients and their families have the highest likelihood of obtaining long-term, successful outcomes. It is our mission to provide high-quality, comprehensive behavioral and mental healthcare services to children, adolescents, and their families by offering a fully array of therapeutic interventions across a vast spectrum of care. All of our services are individualized, culturally sensitive, and fully centered on our patients and their families. The clinical emphasis at Desert Hills is placed on assessment, treatment planning, discharge, and aftercare planning, with the all-encompassing goal of preparing patients to have a successful future in home, at school, and within the community.
Types of Treatment Offered at Desert Hills
Here at Desert Hills, we have 10 distinct units, each of which features programming that is designed specifically to address the needs of a wide variety of populations. Each unit follows a chief treatment modality throughout its programming, which coincides with the needs of the patients on that particular unit. Desert Hills strives to use evidence-based treatment modalities on every unit in order to ensure that patients have the highest likelihood of obtaining long-term, successful outcomes. Described in more detail below are some of the services that Desert Hills affords our patients:
Medication management: Medication management is provided for all patients throughout each one of our treatment programs. This is done so as to make sure that each patient is fully supported in getting all of his or her medication needs taken care of, while simultaneously being properly monitored to ensure the therapeutic effectiveness of any medications that have been prescribed. For children and adolescents who are struggling with marijuana abuse, but also have the compounded issue of a co-occurring mental health disorder, may find relief through the implementation of certain psychotropic medications. Such decisions will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Individual therapy: On each unit, patients are provided with at least one individual session per week. These sessions are meant to be a time where patients can meet with a therapist in a safe and confidential setting in order to process through specific concerns they are facing, keep track of personal treatment goals, and work on individual skills-building in order to more effectively cope with stresses and triggers.
Group therapy: Here at Desert Hills, all of our patients attend group therapy at a minimum of three times per week. These group sessions offer children and adolescents the opportunity to connect with others who are going through similar experiences. Some of the topics that are covered in these groups, depending on the specific program that a patient is taking part in, include interpersonal effectiveness, conflict resolution, anger management, stress management, and correcting and replacing thinking errors. For those patients who are also struggling with substance abuse concerns, psycho-educational groups are held regarding the effect of substance abuse on the body, brain, and overall functioning.
Family therapy: Since family involvement is important to the overall success of recovery, we hold at least one family therapy session per week for each patient. Family therapy focuses on guiding and facilitating an open dialogue, as well as educating parents, caregivers, and other family members on the intervention skills that are being used in treatment. The process of doing so will help ensure the patient’s success long after discharge.
Educational services: Continuing one’s education while at Desert Hills is a very important part of our treatment program. Schooling at Desert Hills provides our patients with a positive, safe, and individualized place to learn and grow. All teachers communicate weekly with the treatment team, assuring consistency in the individual goals set for each student.
Additional services that are available depending upon each patient’s specific needs include:
- Services for deaf and hard of hearing patients (administered by deaf therapists and other mental health technicians that are trained in American Sign Language)
- Art therapy
- Music therapy
- Play therapy
- Equine therapy
- Canine therapy
- High and low ropes courses
- Peer council
- Red Rocks Group (a Native American peer group)
- Bilingual mobile assessments
- NA / AA meetings for patients who are struggling with substance abuse concerns
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
All patients from our residential treatment center have the opportunity to step down to one of our many outpatient care options, of which include the following:
Clinical day treatment program: This program allows patients to live at home, while also addressing any behavioral or academic issues they may have. These services are provided on a year-round basis for children and adolescents who are middle school through high school aged. There are both regular and special education services available, allowing students to earn summer credits and catch up if they have fallen behind academically. Additional services include group therapy and various experiential therapies.
Group homes: Designed to provide patients who are between the ages of 16 and 21 who are in need of a structured home-based living situation, our group homes provide services that are focused on psychosocial skills development and functioning in the community. For those patients who are also struggling with substance abuse concerns, psycho-educational groups are held regarding the effect of substance abuse on the body, brain, and overall functioning.
Treatment foster care: This program is licensed and certified by the New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department to license, train, and support treatment foster parents and treat children between the ages of 4 and 18 who are placed in their homes. TCF provides around-the-clock clinical supervisions, on-call therapy, and case management services.
Whatever your child’s continuing needs may be, Desert Hills provides a wide range of services that will be able to address any and all of those specific needs. We will do everything in our power to help your child overcome his or her concerns and learn to see the world as a safe and happy place once again.