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Nation's Substance Abuse Problem Will Be Solved Only if Patients Are Given Same-Time, Same-Place Access to Mental Health Services, Says Leading Expert
Date:4/28/2009

NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- In order for the United States to address its growing substance abuse problem, states must change their treatment center laws and regulations so providers may be licensed to offer substance abuse and mental health services at the same time, in the same location, according to Jacqueline Dawes, founder and president of Brookhaven Retreat, America's premier treatment center for emotional trauma and addiction that offers female-specific treatment.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081205/CLF008LOGO)

Appearing recently before the Health & Human Resources Committee of the Tennessee General Assembly, Dawes said that for far too long the issues of substance abuse and mental health have been deemed to be two separate and distinct issues, divided by policy, protocol and regulations.

"Unfortunately, as a result of this division, the millions of Americans who commit themselves to the difficult task of addressing their substance abuse challenges are never given the tools necessary to adequately address the underlying cause of their problems," said Dawes. "They experience repeated cycles of failure and personal destruction, which often are rooted in mental health issues.

"Women are most often caught in the revolving door of substance abuse treatment," stated Dawes. "The plain truth is that the primary cause agent of substance abuse behavior is often mental health problems. In other treatment centers, when it is discovered that an individual has an underlying mental health issue, the programs and staff necessary to address the mental health problems are not in place. By not granting dual licenses, states are in effect prohibiting that treatment from being available."

Brookhaven Retreat, based in Seymour, Tennessee, is a fully accredited facility with both a mental health and a substance abuse license. In the clinical realm, co-occurring disorders, or dual-diagnosis, occur when substance abuse and mental issues take place at the same time. While about 70 percent of those with drug and alcohol addictions may suffer from dual-diagnosis, many substance abuse clients do not learn that drug and alcohol addiction often co-occurs with other disorders until they seek drug or alcohol addiction treatment.

"Without a co-occuring disorder license, the incentive exists for treatment facilities to keep patients in place, solely treating the substance abuse, instead of sending patients to necessary mental health facilities. And for this reason, patients are misdiagnosed, and mistreated," Dawes told the committee.

"Almost all of us have been touched by the dark hand of substance abuse," Dawes remarked. "Providers must be awarded dual license operating certificates so they may heal the whole person. State and national leaders must urge the granting of additional dual license operating certificates so that one day, future generations do not have to deal with the challenges associated with substance abuse."

About Brookhaven Retreat

Brookhaven Retreat is a unique, voluntary residential treatment facility specially designed to help women overcome emotional trauma or addiction challenges. The fully accredited and certified dual-diagnosis center is America's premier treatment center for emotional trauma and addiction and offers female-specific treatment. Located on 48 beautiful acres in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, it offers modern, holistic care with compassion and respect from a highly trained expert staff of licensed therapists, physicians, registered nurses, nurse practitioners and licensed practical nurses. Visit www.brookhavenretreat.com for more information.


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SOURCE Brookhaven Retreat
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