Bipolar disorder is a severe mental illness that plagues many children and adolescents. The extreme emotional highs and lows that define bipolar disorder can cause significant disruptions in the lives of those inflicted with it. When children suffer from bipolar disorder, they will act out in a variety of ways, many of which can result in negative consequences at home, at school, and within their social lives. While there is no cure for bipolar disorder, children and adolescents can find relief from their symptoms through appropriate therapeutic interventions. Your child does not have to continue to struggle. We want to help.
At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we understand the many challenges that living a life with a child who has bipolar disorder can present, and we offer specialized programming designed to help address those challenges. We have years of experience working with children and adolescents who are facing a number of mental health concerns, including those struggling with bipolar disorder. Spread out across 37 acres of beautiful, natural landscape, our two residential treatment centers, including our newest facility which opened in February of 2014, provide patients with the comfortable atmosphere that they would not receive in a traditional high-rise locked hospital. At Millcreek, we can provide your child with the therapeutic interventions that he or she needs to overcome his or her challenges in the safest and most comfortable environment possible.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Having a child who is suffering from bipolar disorder can have devastating effects on you as the parent. You may have discovered that it is a struggle to simply get through the day because you are constantly worried about what your child’s behavior will be and how he or she is going to react to any situations that may arise. You may also dread getting a phone call from your child’s teacher because you are worried about what behaviors may have presented themselves during his or her time at school that day. You might also be concerned as to what your child’s future holds if his or her behaviors are not addressed.
Children and adolescents who are suffering from bipolar disorder will typically experience some, if not all, of the following symptoms:
- Explosive, unprovoked temper tantrums
- Rapid speech
- Aggressive and/or manipulative behaviors
- Oppositional and/or defiant behaviors
- Restlessness / constant fidgeting
- Increased or decreased need for sleep (or both, depending on the day)
- Self-harming behaviors
- Making grandiose statements
If these are things that you have noticed in your child, then it would be most beneficial to seek guidance from a mental health professional who can provide your child with a thorough assessment in order to determine what the most appropriate course of action should be. Oftentimes, a residential treatment program can be an extremely beneficial resource for providing your child with the intensive care that he or she needs in order to reach full recovery.
Why Consider Treatment at Millcreek Behavioral Health
If a child or adolescent who has bipolar disorder does not receive treatment, the long-term effects can be detrimental on his or her future. When symptoms go untreated, they are likely to intensify, leading to more disruption in the child’s life. This can further result in children having difficulty successfully completing school, getting and maintaining a job, and developing healthy interpersonal relationships. By engaging in treatment, however, they can change their futures.
Residential treatment centers have proven to be successful in helping children and adolescents overcome the challenges that they face as a result of bipolar disorder. When children are provided with the opportunity to take part in a residential program, they are being offered the chance to step away from the stresses and challenges of their everyday lives and focus solely on addressing their concerns and becoming well. Through a residential treatment program, children and adolescents will also be able to work with other children who are struggling with the same kinds of problems that they are, resulting in the development of confidence that often results from knowing that they are not alone. The intensity of the support that he or she will have and the thoroughness of the treatment that he or she will receive can help make dramatically positive changes in your child’s life.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we are devoted to helping children learn to make better choices in all aspects of their lives; changes that will continue to positively affect them as they grow. We strive to meet all of our clients where they are at, tailoring treatment plans to meet all of their unique needs. We approach treatment utilizing an integrated, multicomponent program model that is based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which has proven to be effective in treating a wide variety of populations and diagnoses. CBT is an evidence-based model that works to target thinking errors by correcting maladaptive thoughts and replacing them with new coping skills and problem-solving techniques. The members of our highly trained and qualified treatment team work with children to facilitate change and help them learn to take responsibility for the changes they need to make.
Types of Treatment Offered at Millcreek Behavioral Health
When children and adolescents come to us for treatment, they will first complete a thorough diagnostic assessment and a psychiatric evaluation, which allows us to gain a full understanding of any presenting concerns and to identify specific treatment needs. The findings of these assessments will be used by an interdisciplinary treatment team to develop a master treatment plan that will then be reviewed by our center’s psychiatrist. This master treatment plan will specify treatment goals and objectives for each individual client, including specific intervention components that will aid in meeting the child’s individual needs.
The program model at Millcreek is divided into four distinct phases, which include:
- Why am I here?
- Making the connection
- Learning new skills
All residents are required to complete all aspects of each phase in order to advance to the next. Some of the treatment methods that will be used and some of the activities that residents will participate in as they advance through the program may include the following:
Medication: One part of successfully treating bipolar disorder is the use of certain psychotropic medications. Children who are placed on medication will be consistently monitored by their treatment teams in order to ensure the therapeutic effectiveness of the medications, as well as to make any changes that might be necessary.
Group therapy: Group therapy is held multiple times throughout the week and the sessions cover a wide range of topics. The groups that the children participate in will be determined based on their individualized treatment plans, but some of the topics that are covered in these group sessions may include: activities of daily living (ADLs), coping skills, social skills, self-soothing, and behavior management.
Recreational therapy: All of the children and adolescents in our programs will participate in recreational therapy, which includes participating in activities such as creative arts, sports, social outings, park outings, adventure programs, and leisure. These activities are designed to aid in the development of appropriate social skills.
Education: Every child and adolescent that we treat at Millcreek will attend our fully accredited school program, which is held Monday through Friday. Each child will be given a distinct, individualized education plan based on his or her specific academic needs.
Depending on the treatment track in which your child is enrolled, in addition to the presence of any specific treatment needs, he or she may also participate in some, or all, of the following:
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- Student council
Continued Care and Levels of Treatment
Case managers will be will be meeting with your child on a daily basis and will help identify what the next best plan of action should be. These case managers can help schedule any necessary follow-up appointments with outpatient providers and can provide you and your child with specific resources that are available for support within your community. For those patients who qualify, there is the option of entering into a waiver program where individuals can return home and still receive any additional assistance with daily living skills that may be needed.