At Paradigm Treatment Centers, our goal in working with young people and their families is to provide the most individualized, precise, and thorough care possible. We’ve designed each aspect of our program and philosophy accordingly, including the initial phone calls with parents; the combination of diagnostic processes; and each individual component of our therapeutic program. We’ve also put a number of elements in place that ensure this level of quality and thoroughness is met for each teen that comes here, including our commitment to small house populations, our daily individual therapy sessions, and our initial diagnostic interview and assessments, which take place with 48 hours of a teen’s admission. One central aspect of this process is the Teen Psychiatric Evaluation, which is foundational to the design of the teen’s individual treatment plan.
The Teen Psychiatric Evaluation is conducted by the program’s Medical Director, a Board Certified Adolescent Psychiatrist. The goal of this Teen Psychiatric Evaluation is to provide a complete look at all different aspects of teens’ lives, which may be affecting and/or contributing to teens’ current struggles. While the psychiatrist does explore and evaluate the teen’s current symptoms, behaviors, and struggles, these are just a few aspects of the larger evaluation. For instance, the psychiatrist will work with the teen to gather relational information, including family dynamics, school environment, peer relationships, and childhood development. The evaluation will also address the teen’s physical health, including medications, family health history, and other current physical ailments. In instances where the psychiatrist deems it may be helpful, laboratory work may be recommended, such as urinalysis or blood tests, as well. The completed evaluation will then be used along with the Psychological Testing and other assessments, in order to design the teen’s unique treatment plan, which will address all aspects of health and well-being.
The benefits which the Psychiatric Evaluation contributes to the quality of treatment truly can’t be stressed enough. First of all, it allows us to approach the treatment plan from a holistic perspective, and to treat teens as whole people, rather than as conditions. The evaluation also ensures the proper diagnosis and treatment of Co-Occurring Disorders, such as when teens are struggling with both a substance abuse and mental health condition. Teen Co-Occurring Disorder are extremely prevalent among young people, and yet, go mis-diagnosed or omitted far too often. This is a central reason for teens relapsing following treatment, and teens continuing to wrestle with struggles they feel completely alone in. These missed therapeutic opportunities are largely due to the hurried diagnostic processes at many treatment programs, in which paraprofessionals only examine outward symptoms, in order to derive a quick, incomplete diagnosis. While intentions may be good, the bottom line is this kind of broad, largely generic process is somewhat unavoidable in programs trying to juggle large client populations with extremely limited resources. The result is while teens may gain moderate temporary relief, the root causes of their struggles will often go virtually unaddressed.
Like many aspects of our treatment approach, our thorough diagnostic process admittedly requires much more time and resources up front; however, we strongly believe there is simply no substitute for this process of teen treatment design. In striving to provide young people with the most complete, precise care possible, we feel that the benefits of these measures provide are integral to the effectiveness of our treatment plans and furthermore, our ongoing success at Paradigm Treatment Centers.