Addiction Treatment | Beverly Hills
I became interested in addiction medicine early in my practice after realizing that this problem was pervasive, under-recognized, and undermining chronic illnesses that are a part of every internist’s experience. I did not receive training in addiction during my medical school experience, primarily because it was not well-understood at that time. I decided to educate myself on this complicated disease, fascinated by its relationship to both mental and physical health, and curious why there remained over a 90% recidivism rate for relapse after treatment.
I discovered that addiction was not the disease, but a symptom of an underlying mental health problem — anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders — and to adequately treat this problem required an understanding and expertise in these areas. This was also not a disease that was “cured” in 30 days in a rehab.
Instead, successful treatment required realistic goals — a long-term treatment program, at least a year, until habits were broken, and a treatment team was established that worked together over time that shared their expertise and could collectively and regularly monitor outcomes. Counseling was essential for both the patient and their families, as was a 12-step relationship. And the missing link for so many years was the need to address the underlying mental health issues provoking the dependency with a menu of coping skills that need to be personalized.
This is my approach to treating addiction. Treating chronic diseases is frustrating. We can put band aids on these illnesses and manage them, but addiction therapy is different — we can actually turn this disease and someone’s life around. This is also a very difficult disease to treat, for many reasons. I remain fascinated by the association of addictive disorders with brain chemistry and believe that truly understanding this relationship will be the elixir this disease needs to lose its power.