Many people may wonder what it is like to be working firsthand with patients at Destination Hope. What does a real day look like? No fluff, no censoring, no embellishment. Well, our own Director of Nursing at Destination Hope, Vanessa Cole, gave her description of an inside look of what a day in the life of an addiction nurse looks like.
Vanessa’s focus is to have a team invested in mental health, enjoying what they do, and having their heart in the right place. They are trained accordingly, with the goal of taking a holistic approach to care – with strong relationships with their patients. She wants her nurses to treat the patients like they would their own loved ones. Everyone on the nursing team has a strong passion for helping their patients be successful in their path toward addiction and mental health recovery.
This case study discusses a female client in her late 20’s female from the Midwest. She presented for treatment for primary mental health including OCD, trauma, Major depressive disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Client’s most severe symptoms arise from her trauma due to a bad accident involving her father several years ago. Due to this, client’s life has been extremely sheltered which caused client to be extremely naïve. Approximately two months into treatment client finally admitted that she struggled with substance abuse. Prior to this she minimized her drug use stating, “It was prescribed.” Client abused several controlled substances including benzos.
Elizabeth Holmes’ rise to fame and fall to infamy was spectacular in many ways. The youngest self-made female billionaire according to Forbes – a media darling – was soon after charged with defrauding patients and investors alike by covering up issues with what was thought-to-be a transformational technology. Shortly, Ms. Holmes will be going on trial to determine if her actions were indeed fraudulent. Regardless, of her guilt or innocence, her defense team may be using a rather uncommon approach to avoid a guilty verdict – that of intimate partner abuse.
This article is not meant to pass judgment, one way or another, on the defendants in this trial. Nor does it seek to offer an opinion on the validity of intimate partner abuse as defense for committing this or any crime. Rather, this case presents an opportunity to shine the spotlight on a very real problem for millions of Americans and what can be done to treat the effects of intimate partner abuse, which can include long-term mental illness and trauma along with substance abuse.
Q: In your experience what is the key to developing a good clinical team?
A: The key to developing a good clinical team includes having a shared goal to always strive to provide quality care to our clients, the ability to be flexible in a team setting, having knowledgeable staff that are passionate about the field we work in and being able to develop trust. Our current clinical team exhibits all of those qualities as well as many others.
ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can be a debilitating mental illness. It is estimated that upwards of 5% of adults suffer from ADHD, which can manifest as difficulty concentrating, organizing, hitting deadlines, and following directions. ADHD often occurs in children, but up to 60% of these kids do not outgrow it in adulthood. ADHD can also cause lower levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. As a result of these deficits, those with ADHD may not feel the same pleasure response as those without the disorder.
A Canadian study of almost 7000 20 to 39-year-olds showed that those suffering from ADHD had a greater risk of having a substance-abuse issue. While most of these substance-abuse disorders involve alcohol or cannabis, it was shown that one in six were suffering from abuse of harder drugs including cocaine and heroin.
Client was a 41-year-old male from the Midwest. He presented for treatment for acts of rage and anger, steroid addiction and substance abuse issues. The client reported “my life is unmanageable right now.” Client struggled with communicating and interacting positively with others as evidenced by increased agitation, manipulation, mood swings and poor coping skills. Client reported that he had a history of abusing substances for the past 20 years. Client presented with mental health symptoms related to depression and anxiety. The client lacked coping skills and had very little insight into his substance abuse/mental health issues. He was having conflicts with peers at work and had burned bridges with his family and friends. Initially, the client denied needing treatment, but he realized he would like to work on “getting back to work and seeing his 2 children.” Client then realized the importance of making better choices, controlling his temper and anger and with building a positive sober support network.
Addicts can get clean in a variety of surroundings, be it at rehab, in jail, basically in any controlled environment where drugs or alcohol are simply not accessible. However, getting sober in a controlled environment because you didn’t have access to substances does not mean that you will stay sober once you leave. Without actually going through treatment and particularly substance abuse counseling, over 90% of addicts will relapse within a year.
The beauty of substance abuse counseling is that it helps get to the bottom of the issues that are triggering the alcohol and drug abuse in the first place. A skilled therapist can help you reveal why you turned to substances in the first place and then help work through those issues to ease your reliance on them.
An addiction medicine specialist is to addiction what a cardiologist is to heart disease: the right expert for the respective condition. Unfortunately, the terms “expert” and “specialist” is often thrown around lightly in the addiction field and this often leads to substandard care and a bad reputation for the industry. While there are many comprehensive and competent treatment programs, there are also many that simply do not provide a sufficient level of care. Addiction medicine is fully recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties and addiction medicine specialists are fully trained and specialized physicians.
My story began as a child witnessing what I thought were the best parts of life. Up late on weekends, little supervision, and get to hang out with grown-ups. My parents were young when they had me and as an only child, I got to see a lot of stuff. Growing up we weren’t poor, I always had a roof over my head, hot meals, and clothes. So, from an outside perspective our family looked like we had it together. Behind closed doors is where I got a close up of madness and chaos. I witnessed domestic violence, rowdy friends, little to no respect for females, let alone anyone, strong hate for certain races, sexualities, and authority. My parents divorced at the age of 5 and the new man in the picture was of the same nature as my father. Party lifestyle. Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll. The next 3 years of my life, I moved to a different city each year – new friends, new town, new house, new beginnings. At the age of 8 I had my first drink on a camping trip and I remember loving the feeling. I had snuck drinks before in the past and had grown up in the bar scene, being back and forth with my mom and dad. Finally landed in Fort Collins, Colorado where I would remain until I graduated.
Client came to Destination Hope in her mid-twenties from the southern United States where she worked in customer service. She self-reports that the primary factor resulting in her mental health decompensation is due to the combination of stress and trauma. With a history of daily marijuana use, client presented with denial and poor insight into how the drug contributes to her current state of mental health. Other contributing factors leading to treatment included medication non-compliance, poor impulse control, poor judgment, problems within the family as well as interpersonal problems, inability to function, employment problems, relationship problems, and anxiety.