Here at Desert Hills Hospital, we recognize that not all children are the same, which is why we offer a number of specialized residential treatment services that can treat multiple mental health disorders and behavioral difficulties, such as bipolar disorder. Marked by extreme shifts in mood, from mania to depression, bipolar disorder is a severe mental health illness that effects a number of today’s youth. Not only does bipolar affect a person’s mood, but it also impacts their energy and ability to think clearly. All of these symptoms of bipolar disorder can have a negative impact on an adolescent or child’s life including damage to relationships, decline in school performance, and difficulties at home.
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 they are up-to-date on the latest evidence-based treatment modalities. Due to our ability to offer each child and adolescent customized and personal care, our staff is fully capable of treating those who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. We can help your child learn to take control of their future.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Bipolar Disorder is a lifelong battle and as the parent of a child or adolescent who has been diagnosed with this serious mental health illness, you are going to have to be prepared for some difficulties times. Bipolar disorder can feel overwhelming for the individual and their loved and often times can lead to strain between family members. However, if you take the time to show your loved one that you care about them, that you are not there to judge, and that you are willing to do whatever you can to help, it can be a tremendous comfort for them. Here are some possible things you can say to you loved one that may be supportive:
- I love and care about you and I always will
- This illness hasn’t changed how I think of you or how I feel about you
- I’m here for you. I will not abandon you
In addition to ensuring your loved one how much you care about them there are some additional things you may be able to do to help:
- Take some time to learn about bipolar illness and treatment
- Accompany them to doctors’ appointments
- Help them find a treatment program that is specifically designed for their needs
- Find a support group for yourself so you can also get emotional support
Why Consider Treatment at Desert Hills
Bipolar disorder is a life-long condition that runs an unpredictable course of ups and downs that will only create devastation if left untreated. The persistent manic and depression episodes that make up this disorder make it difficult for anyone to live a stable, productive life. This can be especially true for children and adolescents who are still developing and trying to figure out who they are as a person. While manic a child may be hyperactive and irresponsible, while in a depressed phase they may have problems doing anything at all. However. Proper diagnosis and early intervention can make a world of difference in a child’s life.
While bipolar disorder cannot be cured, it can be effectively treated long-term with the right combination of medication and psychotherapy. In many instances, proper treatment takes the form of a residential treatment program that can provide you child with the tools needed to gain better control of their mood swings and related symptoms. Recovery from bipolar disorder does not happen overnight, which is why the intensive therapeutic setting of a residential program can be extremely beneficial because not only does your child learn new skills, but they are able to practice them before reintegrating back into the community. Medication needs, co-occurring disorders, and family education can all be received through the secure environment of a residential treatment program.
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 also ensuring the therapeutic effectiveness of all medications. For children and adolescents with bipolar disorder, medication is the most important part of long-term maintenance. Typically medications used to treat bipolar disorder include mood stabilizers, atypical antipsychotics, and antidepressants.
Individual therapy: On each unit, patients have a 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 where they can work on changing harmful or negative thought patterns of beliefs.
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. This process 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. Our school provides 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:
- 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)
- Canine therapy
- High and low ropes courses
- Art therapy
- Play therapy
- Equine assisted therapy
- Music therapy
- Red rocks
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 a variety of 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 home services are available to 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 help them to continue to be successful down the path of recovery. The staff at Desert Hills will be with you every step of the way.