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Child and Adolescent Mood and Affective Disorders

  • Belmont Behavioral Health's Child and Adolescent UnitChildren and adolescents exhibit mood, or affective, disorders in a different manner than adults. Unlike youthful mood swings, these disorders can persist over long periods and disrupt their school performance and personal lives. We offer a range of treatment plans with therapies specialized to the individual.

    Symptoms of Mood/Affective Disorders in Children and Adolescents

    Anxiety Disorders in Children and Adolescents: 

    • Incessant worrying , especially fixation on school performance or pleasing peers/family
    • Constantly seeking approvals to squash worries
    • Significant distress at school or in personal life
    • Inability to focus on school or activities
    • Physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomach pain, over-tiredness

    Bipolar Disorder in Children and Adolescents: 

    • Pattern of extreme depression and extreme mania
    • Significant decrease or increase in time spent sleeping
    • Increased talkativeness or withdrawal from previously pleasurable activities
    • Racing and scattered thoughts or indecisive thinking
    • Inflated ego and risk-taking or feelings of hopelessness

    Depression in Children and Adolescents: 

    • Loss of interest in favorite activities or pleasurable items
    • Increased irritability
    • Either sleeping too much or not enough
    • Loss of appetite and decrease in weight or overeating and increase in weight
    • Expressions of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
    • Inability to make decisions
    • Exhibiting the warning signs of suicide

    Anxiety Disorder Treatment

    • Exposure therapy – depicts anxiety-provoking circumstances to teach patients how to reduce their anxiety.
    • Decatastrophizing – teaches patients to recognize how over-thinking contributes to out of control anxiety symptoms.
    • Medications – if necessary, anti-anxiety medications or antidepressant medications may be prescribed.

    Bipolar Disorder Treatment

    • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – teaches patients about their triggers and how to use their thinking to control and manage their feelings and behaviors
    • Family therapy – manages stress at home and do early prevention of episodes
    • Medications – if necessary mood stabilizers or anti-depressants may be prescribed

    Depression Treatment

    • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – teaches patients how their thoughts affect their feelings and behaviors
    • Interpersonal therapy (IPT) – teaches patients how their relationships with friends and family positively or negatively impacts their inner lives
    • Behavioral activation – patients are encouraged to seek out and restart activities they have lost interest in
    • Medication – if necessary anti-depressants may be prescribed along with mood stabilizers and antipsychotics

    Family involvement is very important for children and adolescent patients who are diagnosed with mood, or affective, disorders. The staff in the Child and Adolescent Unit will provide consultation throughout treatment to families, no matter what therapy or medication option is recommended.

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    Accreditation & Partnerships

    Joint commission gold seal


    • Department of Health (DOH)
    • Department of Public Welfare (DPW)
    • Division of Drug and Alcohol Program Licensure (DDAPL)
    • Bureau of Drug and Alcohol (BDAP)

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