Conduct disorder refers to a group of behavioral and emotional problems that may present themselves in children and adolescence. The essential feature of conduct disorder is a repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated. Children and adolescents with this disorder have extreme difficulty following rules and behaving in socially acceptable ways. Additionally, they have difficulty at school, at maintaining relationships, and if not properly treated, at being successful in life down the road. Many times these children are labeled as bad or delinquent, instead of having a mental health disorder, which is a problem because then they are not getting the help that they need.
At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we know that having a child or adolescent who is struggling with conduct disorder can be challenging and, at times, upsetting. We have years of experience helping children and adolescents with disruptive behavior disorders work through the recovery process and go on to have a successful future. Our treatment center offers two residential programs that provide specialized programming for a variety of disorders and behavior problems, including conduct disorder. While it may not seem like it right now, things can get better. All you have to do is pick up the phone and contact the compassionate staff at Millcreek today.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Since it can be hard to change long-term set behavior patterns, parents should seek treatment for children and adolescents with conduct disorder as soon as possible. The earlier this disorder is identified and treated the better chance they have at a successful outcome. Here are some things to look for in your child or adolescent that may indicate that he or she has conduct disorder:
- Regularly gets in trouble
- Experiences mood swings
- Bullies others
- Is cruel to animals
- Seems to be overly aggressive
- High levels of irritability
- Frequent temper tantrums
If your child is displaying these warning signs, then you should seek help from your child’s primary care physician who can assess your child and determine the cause for these inappropriate behaviors. Additionally, they will be able to provide you with appropriate referrals to mental health professionals that can further help you and your child.
If your child or adolescent is diagnosed with conduct disorder, it is extremely important that you become actively involved in his or her treatment process. Parents should attend therapy sessions so that they can learn how to provide solid discipline and a predictable home environment. Additionally, parents should establish consistent, but fair expectations, encourage communication, and help their child discuss emotions instead of acting upon them.
Why Consider Treatment at Millcreek Behavioral Health
Research has shown that without proper treatment children and adolescents with conduct disorder are likely to have ongoing problems. If continued to be left untreated, many of these children will go on to be unable to adapt to the demands of adulthood; having difficulties maintaining relationships and holding down a job. Additionally, they may engage in illegal activities or act in an extremely antisocial manner. While treatment can be a hard and long term process, individuals with this disorder can get better.
If your child or adolescent is struggling with conduct disorder one of the best choices you can make is to enroll him or her into a residential treatment program that is specifically equipped to deal with the unique challenges of childhood. A residential program will use a number of different treatment methods to help your child or adolescent learn how to appropriately express and control anger. Additionally, they can provide parents will information on how to carry out management in the home and at school. Through regular therapy sessions, effective medication management, and family involvement, these children can learn to get their conduct disorder under control and lead a happy, productive life.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we are dedicated to helping each child and adolescent that comes to our center learn how to make better choices in all aspects of his or her life; choices that can create a lasting change. Our approach to treatment is an integrated, multicomponent model that is based on cognitive behavioral therapy when addressing the needs of our clients. CBT is an evidenced based model that has been proven to be effective with a wide variety of populations and diagnoses. Through this approach we can correct maladaptive thinking and teach children and adolescents new coping and problem solving skills. All members of the treatment team will work with residents to facilitate change and to encourage them to take responsibility for their behavior change.
Types of Treatment Offered at Millcreek Behavioral Health
Before being admitted to one of our residential treatment programs, all clients will complete a diagnostic assessment and psychiatric evaluation that will allows us to determine the exact presenting concerns and identify specific treatment needs. The assessment findings will be used to develop a master treatment plan, which is developed by an interdisciplinary treatment team and is further reviewed by our psychiatrist. The master treatment plan will lay out treatment goals and objectives for treatment within each child’s problem area, including specific intervention components that will be used. The program model here at Millcreek is divided into four phases and residents must complete the requirements of each phase in order to advance to the next. Some of the activities and treatment methods residents will participate in as they advance through the program may include the following:
Medication: Your child’s treatment team may recommend medication to help treat some of the symptoms associated with his or her conduct disorder or the symptoms of any other co-occurring mental health disorder. If your child is placed on medication, he or she will be consistently monitored by the treatment team and meds will be adjusted as needed. Some patients will receive education regarding the important of medication management.
Group therapy: Group therapy is held multiple times throughout the week and covers a wide range of topics. Depending upon individualized treatment plans some of the group topics your child may participate in may include: ADLs, social skills, coping skills, self-soothing, and behavior management.
Recreational therapy: Each child and adolescent will regularly participate in recreational therapy, which can include activities such as art, sports, park outings, or other social outings all designed to help the development of social skills.
Education: Every resident at Millcreek will attend our fully accredited school program, which is held Monday through Friday. Each resident will be given an individualized education plan based on his or her specific academic needs.
Depending upon the treatment program that your child is enrolled in along with his or her specific treatment needs, he or she may also participate in some of the following:
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- Student council
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
Once your child has completed the residential treatment program here at Millcreek, a case manager will help you to identify the next best plan of action for you and your child. Our case managers can help by scheduling follow-up appointment with outpatient providers as well as provide you and your child with resources to reach out to in the community. For those patients that qualify, it is also an option to enter into a waiver program where they can return home and still receive needed assistance with daily living skills.