Dr. Alex Alva, an addiction psychiatrist at True Recovery in Newport Beach, CA, was invited to the Dr. Drew Podcast to discuss current trends in the treatment of addiction with an emphasis on co-occurring disorders, also referred to as a dual-diagnosis.
Dr. Alva’s main focus at True Recovery lies with psychiatric and co-occurring disorders. In the Dr. Drew Podcast, Dr. Drew and Dr. Alva discussed the rise in co-occurring disorders. “We are seeing a tremendous amount of mood disorders”, according to Dr. Alva. “Those mood disorders would encompass anxiety disorders, major depression, and bipolar disorder”.
Many clients also find themselves misdiagnosed for a variety of reasons. “One of the biggest challenges we have been running into is that a lot of people get diagnosed poorly”, said Dr. Alva. For example, Dr. Alva discussed a patient who was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
However, it turned out that client was under the influence of meth while speaking to his psychologist who promptly misdiagnosed him as schizophrenic.
Many times these patients are “given a broad diagnosis while under the influence.” Often times, patients do not discuss their drug use due to embarrassment or shame that comes with being high on drugs such as meth and speaking to a psychiatrist.
Dr. Drew and Dr. Alva then discussed current trends in addiction treatment.
“Recovery has come a long way”, according to Dr. Alva. “We saw a significant shift from Florida, where if you wanted to find recovery, you’d have to fly to Florida to be able to get it. Although there were a number of facilities in Orange County, we saw a shift where the delivery of care had to change.”
“The idea is to do an integrated approach to recovery as opposed to a cookie cutter approach, where everybody gets the same meeting and same everything. First we find the level of care a particular individual needs, and then we fill in the blanks”, said Dr. Alva, discussing True Recovery’s JCAHO accredited treatment program.
Therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy and vocational rehabilitation are now essential to proper treatment. “In the past, you had an intervention, then after that, you went into a detox scenario, then a 12-step program, and 30 days later your were done and out. The unfortunate reality is that the relapse rates were exponential.”
The type of treatment a patient receives makes all the change in the world. “Length of treatment is key. Every bit of data I’ve read indicates the longer the person stays in a structured setting the better their recovery rates are”, according to Dr. Alva. In a perfect world, Dr. Alva stated that a person should spend at least one year in recovery.
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.