Behavioral Health

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Behavioral disorders involve a pattern of behaviors that disrupt a child’s or adolescent’s life in school, with peers and at home. Some behavioral disorders – such as inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity – are symptoms of a mental disorder commonly diagnosed in young people: For example, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Symptoms of a mental illness typically arise during adolescence, so it is important for parents to recognize the signs that their child needs professional help.

What Are Behavioral Disorders?

Different types of behavioral disorders affect children and adolescents. ADHD is a particularly common type of brain disorder diagnosed in young people that is characterized by an ongoing pattern of hyperactivity, inattentiveness and impulsive behaviors. For example, young people who have ADHD may have difficulty staying on task, fidget and move about constantly, interrupt others and/or act before they consider the long-term consequences of their actions.

Warning Signs

It may be difficult for parents to recognize whether certain behaviors are normal, or a warning sign of a something more serious. Some of the warning signs of behavioral disorders include:

  • Self-harm (e.g., cutting)
  • Harming animals or other people
  • Smoking, drinking or using drugs
  • Problems with schoolwork
  • Stealing
  • Lying
  • Frequent arguments and/or tantrums
  • Skipping school

Some behaviors – such as defiant or oppositional behavior, temper tantrums, unhealthy sleeping or eating habits, alcohol and drug use, and criminal activity during childhood and adolescence – may seem like just bad behavior, but can indicate that your teen is facing a more serious issue.


Behavioral issues among teens can also lead to risky sexual behaviors, which can increase the risk of a sexually transmitted infection, problems in school or school failure, or alcohol and drug use. Behavioral issues that begin in young people can indicate a more serious problem when they progress into a:

  • Mental disorder such as an anxiety or depressive disorder, which can lead to changes in a person’s emotions, thoughts and/or behaviors, and can affect teens’ relationships, personality, schoolwork and emotional well-being.
  • Substance use disorder, which involves the compulsive use of alcohol and/or drugs, despite relationship problems at home or school, trouble with the law, and negative health consequences that result from drinking or drug use.

If young people have a mental disorder such as depression, they are also more likely to drink or use drugs, withdraw from their friends and even commit suicide. It is important to talk about behavioral or emotional issues that your teen may be facing to avoid such consequences.

Highly effective treatments are available to help children and adolescents learn different ways to respond to their problems – such as stress management, relaxation techniques, and coping skills through individual or group therapy. Young people can utilize these skills to deal with negative emotions, rather than acting out, harming themselves, drinking or using drugs.

Left untreated, children’s behavioral issues can progress into more serious conditions in young adulthood, but effective treatment can assist teens with managing their symptoms of mental illness and/or substance abuse and provide them with the support they need to begin their recovery.

Behavioral Health Treatment At Rancho San Diego

Sovereign Health’s adolescent residential facility in Rancho San Diego offers comprehensive and individualized behavioral health treatment programs for teens ages 12 to 17 with mental disorders, behavioral problems and related issues.

Individual, group and family therapies are offered to teens to ensure that they have the tools and support they need to be successful in their lives, as well as in their treatment and recovery. Teens participate in individual therapy one to two times per week.

Evidence-based treatments are included in all behavioral health treatment programs offered to teens for mental illness, eating disorders, substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders.  Diverse treatment modalities at Rancho San Diego include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Play therapy
  • Solution focused therapy (SFT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills
  • Anger management
  • Stress reduction skills
  • Grief counseling
  • Neurofeedback

The behavioral health treatment program offered at Rancho San Diego also offers three to six groups each day, covering topics such as:

  • Process groups
  • Meditation
  • DBT skill building
  • Optional 12-step groups
  • SMART Recovery (non-12 step groups)
  • Equine therapy
  • Art activities
  • Music therapy
  • Stress and symptom management
  • Skill building
  • Medication management
  • Yoga
  • Exercise

Teens who receive proper behavioral health treatment can live a happy and meaningful life, without engaging in destructive and/or harmful behaviors. To learn more about the behavioral health treatment program for teens at Rancho San Diego, call our 24/7 helpline to speak to a member of our team.

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Sovereign Health offers comprehensive and high-quality treatment programming for substance abuse and mental health. Call our 24/7 helpline at any time to reach our admissions team.

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