While many mental illnesses include emotional disturbances as symptoms, there are a number of mental health conditions that can also elicit behavioral concerns that can be detrimental to an individual’s wellbeing. Desert Hills Hospital offers a wide range of treatment options that care for such conditions, including oppositional defiant disorder.Also known as ODD, this mental health condition is typically diagnosed in childhood and involves emotional and behavioral disturbances that can interfere with a youth’s ability to function well in various settings. Cornerstone to this disorder is overtly disobedient behaviors and the inability to interpret social cues as non-hostile. Allowing symptoms such as these to remain can put a young person at risk for disciplinary action at school or interaction with the legal system. Caregivers who suspect that their child is battling ODD should seek care to reduce these risks. Luckily, there are excellent treatment options for this destructive disorder.
Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Desert Hills provides a continuum of behavioral health services ranging from sub-acute residential treatment to community-based programs for children, adolescents, and their families. Since opening in 1990, Desert Hills has grown from a small residential program to the largest continuum of behavioral health services for the state of New Mexico, with three different locations where individuals can access services. In order to ensure we provide the highest quality of care possible while meeting all of our patients unique needs, we provide ongoing training and supervision of all staff members, making sure that 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 ODD has caused in your child’s life. We are dedicated to changing lives, one child at a time.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Caring for a child or adolescent with oppositional defiant disorder can be ripe with obstacles. You may feel as though your child is argumentative for seemingly no reason, that he or she goes out of his or her way to rebel, or disregards your attempts to help him or her to cease his or her problematic behaviors. You may receive calls from your child’s school or your local police department informing you that your child has disrespected an authority figure or broken the law in a situation that seems easily preventable to you. Even if you feel that you have done all that you can do, there are still things you can do to help your child and yourself:
- Research oppositional defiant disorder to see if this condition could be a contributor to your child’s emotional and behavioral disturbances.
- Consider seeking guidance and an evaluation from a mental health professional; a mental health professional can conclude an ODD diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options.
- Look into treatment options that will meet your child’s needs; whether you receive a recommendation from a mental health professional or are doing your own research, it is important to seek care that specializes in mental health treatment for young people.
- Should you engage in such services, be an active part of your child’s treatment process.
- Remain supportive of your child before, during, and after completing treatment.
Lastly, utilize the resources and support that you, as a caregiver, can receive while your child is in treatment. Whether it is afforded to you or if you have to seek it out, inquire about behavior modification techniques or other beneficial tools and skills that you can implement with your child at home. Doing this can further your child’s progress once he or she returns home and enables you to be more confident in knowing that you can effectively help your child in a beneficial way.
Why Consider Treatment at Desert Hills
While symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder include behavioral concerns that can produce life-altering effects, there are several emotional disturbances that can result as well. In addition to having difficulty interpreting social interactions as non-hostile, many young people with ODD often experience low self-esteem and poor self-worth when symptoms of this disorder infringe upon a youth’s ability to make friends. Peer acceptance and approval is extremely important to young people and when a mental illness prevents that from occurring, a child’s emotional wellbeing can be adversely affected. Furthermore, in the event that a child develops low self-esteem or self-worth, he or she is at risk for the development of an additional mental health condition. What is important to know, however, is that there are effective treatment options that can be of great assistance to children and adolescents with oppositional defiant disorder.
In order to reduce the risks and effects that can happen when a young person is battling ODD, mental health treatment has to be implemented. One treatment option that has improved the lives of many children and adolescents with oppositional defiant disorder is residential care. Within this type of treatment, young people are able to gain a better understanding of their condition and develop new skills for coping and social interactions while away from the stressors and triggers of everyday life. Various therapeutic interventions are available in residential care that allows youth to also learn the importance of managing behavior and regulating emotions. For those individuals who require medication to alleviate symptoms, psychiatrists are also on hand in residential treatment programs to prescribe and manage medication when necessary. Lastly, family members of a child in residential care are also afforded support and can engage in family therapy so that familial relationships can be healed and restored.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
At Desert Hills, we believe that treatment should be strengths-based and should be centered solely on clients and their families. We train, facility wide, on the Nurtured Heart Approach in order to provide all of our clients and their families with inner wealth and opportunities to grow. It is our mission to provide high quality, comprehensive behavior and mental health services to children, adolescents, and their families. Treatment is provided through a continuum of care, ranging from sub-acute residential treatment to community-based programs. All of our services are individualized, culturally sensitive, and centered on clients and their parents/guardians. The clinical emphasis is placed on assessment, treatment planning, discharge, and aftercare planning. The goal is to prepare clients for 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 feature programming that is designed specifically to address the needs of various populations. Each unit follows a chief modality throughout their 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 to ensure that patients and their families have the highest likelihood of obtaining long-term, successful outcomes. Described in more detail below are some of the services that Desert Hills provides for our patients:
Medication management: Medication management is provided for all patients throughout each one of our treatment programs. This is done to ensure that each patient is getting all of his or her medication needs taken care of, while being properly monitored to ensure the therapeutic effectiveness of all medications.
Individual therapy: On each unit, patients have 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 setting to process their innermost thoughts and feelings, while gaining a better understanding of how their behaviors and thinking impact their lives.
Group therapy: Here at Desert Hills, all of our patients attend group therapy 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 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 used in treatment. The process of doing so will help ensure the patient’s success long after discharge.
Educational services: Continued education while at Desert Hills is a very important part of the treatment program. The school 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 Specific Patient Needs Include:
- Art therapy
- Play therapy
- Equine assisted therapy
- Canine therapy
- Bilingual mobile assessments
- Peer council
- Services for deaf and hard of hearing patients (administered by deaf therapists and other mental health technicians that are trained in American Sign Language)
- High and low ropes courses
- Music therapy
- Red Rocks Group (a Native American peer group)
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.