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Addiction Medicine: Comprehensive Medical Care for Substance Use Disorders

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) provides a comprehensive definition of addiction as follows:

“Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.”

Prevention efforts and treatment approaches for addiction are generally as successful as those for other chronic diseases.”

Treatment approaches in addiction medicine are comprehensive and often include a combination of medical care, psychological support, and behavioral therapies.

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Addiction Medicine at Burning Tree Ranch

Burning Tree Ranch is a specialty program dedicated to the treatment of chronic addiction and mental health. Our program is long-term, progress-based, and highly intensive.

Nine years before Burning Tree Ranch was founded, Addiction Medicine was developing as a widely recognized medical subspecialty. Later, in 2016, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) officially identified addiction medicine as a distinct medical subspecialty under the American Board of Preventive Medicine.

Since 1999, Burning Tree Ranch has utilized addiction medicine to aid in the diagnosis, treatment, and recovery of persons with the disease of addiction.

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What Makes Addiction Medicine an Effective Approach to Treatment?

Addiction medicine is a medical specialty focused on the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery of individuals dealing with substance use disorders. This field addresses the complex interaction between substance use and the brain, behavior, and overall health.

Alcohol, prescription drugs, illicit substances, and even certain behaviors (e.g., gambling) can become addictive, altering brain function and leading to compulsive use despite harmful consequences.

Addressing the physical aspects of addiction and promoting overall health allows medical professionals to work hand-in-hand with behavioral health providers to deliver an integrated approach to treatment, ensuring the best possible outcomes for those seeking lasting recovery.

Burning Tree Ranch - Authentic Long-Term Treatment

The Use of Prescription Medication in Treating Mental Health Disorders Co-Occurring with Addiction

Many treatment centers simply offer medications as an answer to perceived mental health diagnoses without sufficient exploration of the patient’s history, symptoms, and post-acute withdrawal symptoms. In other words, they miss the big picture.

Medication management is included when needed in our long-term treatment program, but our decades of experience working with chronic relapse patients in a long-term setting gives us a unique perspective on the traditional approach to prescription medication during a treatment episode.

Establishing a Baseline: Medical Assessment and Accurate Diagnosis

When someone who suffers from chronic relapse qualifies for the Ranch, they have often been diagnosed with an underlying mental health disorder. Sometimes, they are prescribed medications.

Sadly, given the disruptive nature of addiction, some individuals will choose not to take their prescribed medications consistently. They may let medication refills lapse, or neglect following up with a provider altogether.

Establishing a foundation for sobriety is the very first thing that must happen. After all, pharmaceutical and clinical interventions are not effective when the patient is actively using, relapsing, and engaged in behaviors that adversely affect the prescribed treatment plan.

Interrupting active addiction offers our clients the opportunity to be evaluated and assessed outside of their use patterns. This promotes a more realistic baseline view of the chronic relapser and enables us to determine more clearly the co-occurring disorders, if any.

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The goal is to see the big picture and determine what is really going on by offering intensive individual therapy in conjunction with medication management, when needed.

Integrating Addiction Medicine with Behavioral Health Treatment

At Burning Tree Ranch, we integrate addiction medicine with numerous evidence-based behavioral health therapies to provide a holistic approach to treatment.

We commingle several therapeutic interventions, evaluations, and assessments before making diagnostic conclusions. Suppose it becomes apparent that addiction is intricately enmeshed with a mental health disorder.

In that case, the client will work closely with our addiction medicine team to develop a proper treatment plan to produce the best possible treatment outcomes.

Dr. Leslie H. Secrest | Medical Director/Psychiatrist

“Addiction medicine integrates the knowledge of the neuroscience of addiction with the knowledge of the phases of addiction treatment.”

Dr. Leslie Secrest, Medical Director

Taking the Next Step

Incorporating Addiction Medicine in Long-Term Treatment

Part of the reason other treatment centers do not diagnose properly is a lack of time. This is one of the many reasons Burning Tree Ranch chooses to be an authentic long-term treatment center.

Time allows us to properly diagnose chronic relapsers and get them the treatment they desperately need to live a life of excellence beyond sobriety.

We understand the complex, multi-faceted issues many of our families face when it comes to addiction. The circumstances of long-term residential treatment allow us to create a treatment program unlike anything else in the world.

Our promise to families is to deliver life-changing clinical interventions to those who have been unable to find freedom from the unending cycle of relapse.

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