Valley Care Clinics treats a variety of child and adolescent psychological disorders, including depression, adjustment disorder, ADHD, anxiety and panic disorder, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD), bipolar disorder, grief and bereavement and other mental health issues. We can develop an individualized treatment plan to help your child develop new coping skills so they can get back on track. Treatment can include medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two.
We can also provide counseling and treatment for a variety of special populations and topics including:
- College students with ADHD
- Military families
- Gay, lesbian and bisexual adolescents
- Transgender and gender diverse youth
- Behavior, problem solving, and decision making in teens
- Stress management in teens
- Sports psychiatry
- Sleep problems
- Peer pressure and bullying
- Social media
Does your child need help?
Schedule an appointment for an initial evaluation or for medical management of a diagnosed condition.
A teenager experiences many changes to their body and brain that can affect how they learn, think and behave. It's normal for them to have emotional ups and downs, but if they've been overwhelmingly sad for a few weeks to months, and they're not able to concentrate or do the things they usually enjoy, they may have depression.
Depression is a medical illness that can interfere with your ability to handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or managing school work. Your child may be depressed if they experience these symptoms:
- Constantly feel sad, anxious, or even “empty"
- Feel hopeless or like everything is going wrong
- Spend more time alone and withdrawing from friends and family
- Grades are dropping
- Lost interest or pleasure in activities and hobbies they used to enjoy
- Eating or sleeping habits have changed
- Always feel tired, with less energy
- Think about dying or suicide or have tried to harm themselves
Ways to manage depression:
- Stay active and exercise
- Keep a regular sleep schedule
- Spend more time with friends and family
- Break down school work into smaller tasks and complete the most important ones first
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders of childhood. ADHD is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. Children with ADHD have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors and in some cases, are overly active.
Children with ADHD may:
- Have trouble paying attention
- Daydream a lot
- Not seem to listen
- Be easily distracted from schoolwork or play
- Forget things
- Be in constant motion or unable to stay seated
- Squirm or fidget
- Talk too much
- Not be able to play quietly
- Act and speak without thinking
- Have trouble taking turns
- Interrupt others
The causes and risk factors for ADHD are unknown, but current research shows that genetics plays an important role. In most cases, ADHD is best treated with a combination of medication and behavior therapy. No single treatment is the answer for every child. Most successful treatment plans will include close monitoring, follow-ups and any changes needed along the way.
Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health problems experienced by children and adolescents. Anxiety is an emotional state where a threat is not immediately present but is anticipated, causing extreme fear or worry. If left untreated, it can lead to mental health problems or substance abuse later in life.
Those with an anxiety disorder experience chronic anxiety and exaggerated worry, even when there is little to provoke it. Their feelings of anxiety may also be accompanied by physical symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating and hot flashes. Children with anxiety are more likely to have difficulty with friendships, family life and school.
Types of anxiety disorders most often seen in children and adolescents include:
- Separation anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Social phobia
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Acute stress disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Anxiety disorders can be effectively managed with the right combination of medications and psychotherapy, allowing those with the disorder to go on to live productive, fulfilling lives.
Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)
DMDD is a childhood condition that involves extreme irritability, anger, and frequent, intense temper outbursts that inhibit the child's ability to function at school, at home and with friends. It is much more than simply being moody. Children with DMDD experience severe impairment that requires clinical attention.
Symptoms of DMDD typically begin before age 10. A child with DMDD experiences:
- Irritable or angry mood most of the day, almost every day
- An average of three or more severe temper outbursts (verbal or behavioral) per week that are out of keeping with the situation and the child’s developmental level
- Trouble functioning due to irritability in more than one place (e.g., home, school, with friends)
To be diagnosed with DMDD, a child must have these symptoms steadily for 12 or more months.
Two major types of treatment are currently used to treat DMDD symptoms. These are medication and psychological treatments such as psychotherapy, parent training and computer-based training.
People with bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness, experience extreme, abrupt mood swings between periods of elevated mania or depression, usually with no clear cause.
Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that usually develops between the ages of 15 – 25. While the cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, it occurs most often in those with a family history of the disease.
Each mood phase may last for a period of a few days up to a few months. The elevated, manic phase of bipolar disorder includes the following symptoms:
- Agitation or irritation
- Inflated self-esteem
- Little need for sleep
- Noticeably elevated mood
- Over-involvement in activities
- Poor temper control
- Reckless behavior
- Tendency to be easily distracted
Meanwhile, the depressed phase includes the following:
- Daily low mood
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
- Eating disturbances (weight loss or gain)
- Fatigue or listlessness
- Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and/or guilt
- Loss of self-esteem
- Persistent sadness
- Sleep disturbances
- Suicidal thoughts
- Withdrawal from activities that were once enjoyed
- Withdrawal from friends
Mood stabilizing drugs and psychotherapy can be effective in managing and balancing bipolar disorder.