Just like adults, children and adolescents face anxiety in their lives as the result of a number of different life stressors such as starting a new school or moving to a new home. Children and adolescents can also suffer from anxiety disorders that may or may not be triggered by a specific stressor. While children experience the symptoms of anxiety like adults do, children may display and react to those symptoms in a different way. Anxiety disorders can result in a number of different problems at school, in peer relationships, and home life. Additionally, anxiety can greatly impact a child’s life by preventing them from engaging in a variety of activities.
At Millcreek Behavioral Health we have years of experience helping families who have a child or adolescent who is struggling with the debilitating effects of anxiety. Our treatment center offers two residential programs that provide specialized programming for a variety of disorders and behavior problems including anxiety. We know that having a child or teen who is suffering from a mental health or behavioral problem can be extremely upsetting and challenging. Rest assured that the highly qualified staff at Millcreek can help.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
If you notice repeated symptoms in your child or adolescent that may indicate the presence of an anxiety disorder it is important that you make an appointment with your child’s doctor. Through a thorough examination your child’s doctor will be able to determine if the presenting symptoms are the result of an anxiety disorder or another condition. If needed, your family physician can give you referral information for a mental health professional that can help address your child’s needs. Additionally, parents can also be helpful by helping children and teens create a low-stress environment. Here are some tips on how you can help your child create a less stressful environment:
- Acknowledge your child’s feelings
- Be supportive and listen to child’s concerns
- Have clear expectations without being too rigid
- Develop trust
- Let your child know that mistakes are learning experiences
- Do not over-schedule child with too many activities
- Build on strength of the family
In addition to a low-stress environment it is also important for your child to develop positive coping skills because these skills are often carried into adult life. Here are some ways in which you can encourage the development of healthy coping skills in the home:
- Set a good example
- Make sure that your children think about the consequences of their actions and help them understand what is real and what is fantasy
- Allow your child to make choices within the family framework
- Talk openly
Why Consider Treatment at Millcreek
Children and adolescents who have been diagnosed with some form of anxiety disorder are often extremely distressed about their success in activities and with their ability to gain the approval of others. This can lead to thoughts of self-doubt and they may constantly criticize themselves. Additionally, children and adolescents with anxiety disorders can become obsessed with being on time to events or insist on doing an event perfectly. All of these symptoms can cause children to appear inflexible, or shy, and can leave them unable to enjoy hobbies or activities.
If your child is having difficulty getting through the day due to intense worry or fear interfering with their ability to function, it is time to seek help from mental health professionals. Most children and adolescents with anxiety disorders will be able to benefit from the treatment methods provided at a residential treatment center. In a residential treatment setting your child or adolescent will be able to learn about their symptoms and how to cope with them more effectively. Through regular therapy sessions, effective medication management, and family involvement these children can learn to get their anxiety symptoms under control and get back to living a life they deserve.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we are determined to help each child and adolescent that comes to us learn how to make better choices in all aspects of their life. We utilize 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 new coping and problem-solving skills. 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
During the admissions process, each of our residents will complete a diagnostic assessment and a psychiatric evaluation so that we will be able to identify the presenting concerns and treatment needs. Based on the assessment findings, a master treatment plan will be developed by an interdisciplinary treatment team and will be 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 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 of their anxiety until they are able to learn better coping skills. If your child is placed on medication, it will be closely monitored by their treatment team and 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 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 program based on their specific academic needs.
Depending upon the treatment program that your child is enrolled in and their specific treatment needs they 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 at Millcreek, you will be able to meet with a case manager that can help you to identify the next best plan of action for you and your child. Our case managers can help by scheduling follow-up appointments with outpatient providers as well as provide you and your child with resources to reach out to in the community. For patients that qualify, there is an option to enter into a waiver program in which they can return home and still receive needed assistance with daily living skills.