It’s the first Review Show and George Williams interviews Dr Louis Baxter, Consulting Medical Director to Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches Florida.
In addition to this role Dr Baxter is Executive Medical Director of the Professional Assistance Program of New Jersey, President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and an adviser to President Obama.
Dr Baxter talks about the success of Behavioral Health’s approach to combining medication and abstinence based therapies in a single programme.
Explaining how the ‘full treatment experience’ can dramatically improve the prospects of recovery, Dr Baxter cites recognition of addiction as a chronic medical condition as the turning point in developing the clinical programme. The result, a practice that starts with medication, sustained by abstinence, has achieved success rates as high as 77% still in recovery after 12 months.
In recognising addiction as a brain illness, requiring treatment to reset the brain chemistry, Dr Baxter draws a parallel with the three step approach to diabetes; detox, education about the disease and life style changes, plus lifetime monitoring and maintenance; neatly making the point “nobody says to a diabetes patient, see you later, be sugar free”.
The benefit of recognition extends way beyond addiction specialists and has been a big factor in improving outcomes since primary care professionals started screening for addictive disorders, enabling them to make early referrals and tailor treatment and care to the individual.
Behavioral Health enjoys some of the highest rates of success for recovery from alcohol and drug addiction in the United States, and provides detox, intervention, and substance abuse rehab as well as treating dual diagnosis, trauma, grief, pain, anxiety, anger, depression and bipolar disorder.