Today we would like to share with you a video from our annual ATCPCC 2013, Addiction Treatment Centers and Professional Consortium. Here in our guest lecture video series is James Herndon with Addiction Therapeutic Services speaking about the importance of addiction medicine. We have a transcript of the lecture for you to follow:
Addiction medicine is a subchapter of internal medicine. It’s a debilitating illness that affects every organ system in the body. Patients I treat have heart disease. They have diabetes. They have mental illness, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder. Some have been misdiagnosed. The shame of addiction is [that] nobody talks about their addictive substances because they, one: don’t want to give them up or they’re ashamed to tell their healthcare provider that they’re doing that. So they get all these co-occurring illnesses and misdiagnoses. A lot of patients when they come into treatment, they lose weight. Their blood pressure goes down. Their depression lifts. They’re not bipolar. They’ve just been shooting cocaine and heroin, and part of the gift is to be able to take away their pills and let the body heal naturally.
You know, I love – that’s one of the best parts of my job is to see the person wake up and to get physically healthy and spiritually enlightened and to either get the appropriate medication for an underlying illness or to get off the medications for a misdiagnosis. My passion is to get the individual to a place where they can be comfortable in their own skin without taking meds or Diazepams such as Klonopin and Xanax and/or Methadone. I want the people to be able to experience unmedicated feelings. It’s a yin and yang feel. To feel joy, you also have to feel sadness, and I want them to be able to experience life on life’s terms and the ups and downs, and I don’t want them to go through life numbed out. So I’m more on the pro-abstinence side. There are certain individuals that the best you’re going to get is harm reduction.
At the end of a patient’s treatment stay, if he had either residential or an outpatient program, I like to interview the clients before they discharge. And the things I encourage them to do or the things they do in the first two hours of their day and the end of the month – actually from the night before to the next morning, one: they usually get to sleep at a reasonable hour and they get a good seven or eight hours of sleep, and I encourage that. I ask them to get up early and set a schedule for themselves, have a healthy breakfast, do some exercise, do a meditation in the morning and/or go to a 12 Step meeting to start their day. It pre-plans the individual’s day as a recovery day. The patients, they go home and they don’t have structure and go to bed at 2:00 in the morning and get up at noon have less chance of recovery because recovery’s not – they’re not – they’ve forgotten some of the important things that they’ve learned while they’ve been in treatment, which is to, one, think of recovery first and then have a plan for it. So, I really encourage that kind of behavior for them, especially when they’re first coming up in whatever form of treatment they’re leaving and to stay on their medications and to follow up with their physicians so they can continue to get healthy spiritually, emotionally, and physically, especially during that most important first year.
To reach me, my wife and I, there’s various ways to reach me. I live in Beaumont, California. My practice is throughout Riverside County. Our office number is 951-769-4780, can reach the secretary there. Our new IOP Treatment Center is in Palm Springs, California. The address is 559 South Palm Canyon Way, Suite B101, and, [I] look forward to helping folks get clean and sober. It’s a passion for me and with my family. With that, I thank you.