Children and adolescents who meet diagnostic criteria for an impulse control disorder often have difficulty functioning when overwhelming urges to engage in maladaptive, and sometimes dangerous, behaviors are so overpowering that they can seem impossible to resist regardless of the setting or circumstance. Desert Hills Hospital understands how impulse control disorders adversely affect the lives of young people, which is why we offer a number of programming options that aim to improve the lives of every youth who comes to us for care. Our treatment methods and modalities are chosen and implemented into our programs so that children and adolescents can understand why it is important to control impulses and abstain from engaging in problematic behaviors and thought processes. Our goal is to help young people achieve emotional wellness and improved behavior management skills so that the devastating symptoms of impulse control disorders do not govern their lives.
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 an impulse control disorder 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
As a parent or caregiver, you may feel as though you are at a loss for how you can help your child if he or she is suffering from an impulse control disorder. Rest assured, however, there are some things that you can do to help your child get the help he or she needs:
- If your child is engaging in dangerous, impulsive behaviors, such as fire starting, try to remove any objects or means that your child could use to partake in such actions.
- Research the impulse control disorder you believe your child is suffering from so that you can gain a better understanding of what your child is going through.
- Consult with a mental health professional to learn about valuable resources that can help your child and inquire about a psychiatric evaluation for your child.
- Consider treatment options that are designed to address the unique needs of children and adolescents who suffer from such conditions.
- Be an active participant in your child’s treatment and remain a source of support for your child should he or she engage in treatment.
- Remain patient during the therapeutic process; it can take time for your child to adapt to the skills needed to manage impulses.
Finally, seek your own support and know that you are not alone. You can consult with your child’s treatment provider to learn new skills and tools for helping your child be successful during and after treatment.
Why Consider Treatment at Desert Hills
The symptoms of impulse control disorders can render a number of perilous outcomes if treatment is not sought. Young people who compulsively start fires, experience overwhelming urges to steal, act out in overtly aggressive manners, or who engage in sexually explicit activity can ultimately experience consequences for their actions that could be irreversible. Costly damage to property, incarceration, and risk of physical injury are examples of such consequences. What it important to know, however, is that these outcomes can be prevented if a youth receives proper care for these conditions. In fact, appropriate treatment can instill skills that reduce the risk of these negative circumstances from happening, even when a youth transitions into an adult.
While some methods for care can address and treat symptoms of impulse control disorders, residential treatment is one of the best treatment options that can greatly improve the lives of young people who suffer from such disorders. Therapeutic interventions are delivered in a secure and safe atmosphere, wherein qualified and experienced mental health professionals can administer treatment effectively. Additionally, when it is determined that medication can help with symptoms, psychiatrists are available to prescribe and manage medications so that every youth is receiving the most optimal care possible. Lastly, family members of a child in residential care can receive their own support and guidance as the therapeutic process is navigated. Once completed, children and adolescents who receive care in residential treatment are better able to manage impulses so that they can go on to live happy, healthy, well-adjusted lives free from the constraints of an impulse control disorder.
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.
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 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.