When children and adolescents are suffering from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, they face a number of challenges on a daily basis. More commonly referred to as ADHD, this mental health condition can place youth at risk for confronting a number of detriments throughout many, if not all, aspects of their lives. At Desert Hills, we understand the many challenges that living a life with ADHD can inflict upon a child, which is why we have tailored programming options that are designed to meet the specific and unique needs of this population.
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 the presence of ADHD and its symptoms have imposed on your child’s life and help him or her develop the skills needed to return to living a healthy and happy life. At Desert Hills, we are dedicated to not only improving the lives we touch, but helping to change the lives of those we serve, one child at a time.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Due to the fact that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses in children and adolescents, there tends to be a lot of misconception over what symptoms elicit an accurate diagnosis of this condition. If you think that your child may be suffering from ADHD, the following are symptoms to take note of:
- Persistent inability to maintain attention in a variety of settings, including at school and at home, and even during play activities
- Consistent fidgeting / being unable to sit still
- Often leaves one’s seat when the situation requires one to remain sitting
- Lacking the ability to control impulses
- Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
- Fails to listen, even when being directly spoken to
- Has difficulty organizing tasks
- Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
- Often unable to play or engage in quiet activities
- Persistently hyperactive / seems to always be “on the go”
- Has difficulty waiting for his or her turn
- Talks excessively
- Frequently interrupts others
While all children and adolescents go through periods of time where they are not able to maintain focus, struggle to sit still, or fail to follow directions, it is important to understand that when children are suffering from ADHD, these circumstances occur at such a rate that it impairs their ability to function appropriately. More specifically, ADHD hinders their ability to fulfill daily obligations and tasks. When this is the case, it is important that a child is evaluated by a mental health professional so that an accurate diagnosis can be determined and subsequent treatment can begin.
Why Consider Treatment at Desert Hills
While the symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder can range greatly in severity, all children and adolescents who are afflicted by this condition will inevitably be negatively affected in some way. When left untreated, the symptoms that children experience are likely to worsen, leading to further detriments on their futures. These children may struggle with their academic performance, potentially resulting in academic failure which can hinder their ability to obtain and maintain steady employment in the future. Their persistent levels of inattention and impulsivity can prevent them from developing significant interpersonal relationships, leaving them feeling isolated and alone, further eliciting feelings of low self-worth. Fortunately, with proper therapeutic interventions, such negative outcomes can be successfully avoided.
In some cases, residential treatment programs can be a positive means of treating children and adolescents who are afflicted by the symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. While in this setting, these children are surrounded by clinicians and mental health support staff who have knowledge regarding their condition and are therefore able to provide appropriate interventions whenever necessary. Additionally, these mental health professionals can expand on their interventions by teaching children techniques on how they can control their impulses and successfully gain control of their symptoms. Furthermore, when children and adolescents take part in residential treatment, their families are afforded an opportunity to gain support, assistance, and education as to how they can best handle their children in a home setting, providing their children with lasting success long after leaving treatment.
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 at 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 offers 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. Many children and adolescents find great relief from the symptoms of ADHD through the implementation of certain psychotropic medications, but such considerations will be made 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, psychoeducational 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 in need a structured home-based living situation, our group homes provide services that are focused on psychosocial skills development and functioning in the community.
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 so that, upon leaving treatment, he or she can face the world with the strength and confidence needed to be productive and remain successful.