We have previously discussed on this blog how a growing number of American veterans are struggling with opiate addictions. Many of these men and women are battling chronic pain, long-term injuries and/or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), putting them at high risk of abusing painkillers. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), more than 600,000 veterans currently have prescriptions for opiates.
Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef founded Fairwinds Treatment Center in Clearwater, Florida, 25 years ago on the belief that underlying issues like trauma often trigger or contribute to substance abuse. That's why he and the other experts at Fairwinds use our unique dual diagnosis methodology, combining clinical treatment and therapeutic counseling, to promote healing both inside and out.
At Fairwinds, each of our patients has a personalized treatment plan designed to meet their individual needs. All plans include the best medical care and may be complemented by art, family, group, activity, relaxation, fitness and/or meditation therapies. Since Fairwinds began using these cutting-edge treatments in 1989, a steadily growing body of scientific research has validated their efficacy. Now even the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is exploring such methods, announcing last month that it will spend $21.7 million on a five-year initiative.
One lieutenant colonel who is participating in the new program tells The Washington Post that he was skeptical when he first began his alternative treatments, but he has since noticed significant changes for the better.
"I used to take a half a dozen painkillers a day, maybe more, and wash 'em down with scotch," the officer, who asked not to be named, tells the source. "If you told me I'd be doing this sort of 'wives' tale' type stuff even a few years ago, I wouldn't have believed it."
Our patients who are recovering from drug and alcohol addictions notice similar improvements when participating in our counseling and therapy programs, which promote comprehensive wellness. In contrast, too many addiction treatment centers only address a person's substance abuse, ignoring the underlying psychological, emotional and mental issues that caused or worsened it. Often, this leads to a failed recovery.
Nicholas Brennan, a journalist and documentary filmmaker who reported on the prescription drug crisis for Vice on HBO, tracked one former military member's struggle to recover from a heroin addiction. Jarek Carmac started using the drug after first becoming addicted to prescription painkillers, which the military prescribed after he was injured on his final deployment to Afghanistan.
"I need to fix my head," Camac told Brennan last year. "The doctors will be like, 'No, you need help for your addiction, that's your main problem.' Well, that's being caused by other things. If you don't fix the things behind the addiction you're just going to get out and keep using over and over and over again."
Sadly, Camac, like far too many of his fellow veterans, later died after overdosing on drugs. His story underscores the vital importance of dual diagnosis methodologies like the kind we practice here at Fairwinds. Only such treatments can address the "other things behind the addiction" that stand in the way of a lasting recovery.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, whether a veteran or a civilian, know that healing is possible at our treatment center in Clearwater, Florida. Contact us today to learn more.