Addiction Doctor To Speak In Oklahoma

BY HEATHER WARLICK MOORE,  [email protected]

May 28, 2011

Addiction doctor to speak in Oklahoma about medical breakthroughs in science of addiction
From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. June 10, Dr. Harold C. Urschel III, an addiction psychiatrist, will present a seminar about his breakthrough work treating alcohol and drug addictions.

If you are the parent, husband or wife of an addict, you likely know well the rocky road the addict faces that may or may not lead to sobriety.

Dr. Harold Urschel will speak on June 10 about medical breakthroughs in the treatment of addiction. Photo provided.

Addiction doctor to speak in Oklahoma about medical breakthroughs in science of addiction Perhaps your loved one tried Alcoholics Anonymous but relapsed.

Maybe the addict in your family has tried in-patient treatment for a month, two months, even 15 months, and then relapsed.

Or maybe you are the addict and have lost hope that you'll ever find a way out of the destructive and potentially deadly situation in which you've found yourself.

Alcohol kills approximately 79,000 Americans each year and is the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Institutes of Health spend millions of dollars researching addiction and have made several scientific breakthroughs, but these findings haven't made their way into mainstream treatments, says Addiction Psychiatrist, Dr. Harold C. Urschel III, an addiction psychiatrist.

Urschel is the author of “Healing the Addicted Brain” and the founder of Enterhealth, a Dallas-based residential treatment center that includes an outpatient continuum of care.

In a seminar sponsored by Oklahoma Outreach Services Inc., Urschel will speak about his work and the medical breakthroughs in treating alcohol and drug addiction. The seminar is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. June 10 at Francis Tuttle Rockwell Campus.

The message he wants to convey during his seminar is that addiction is a chronic disease of the brain that can be treated.

“So many people think it's a moral weakness or a sin or they don't think it's treatable. But addiction is actually a brain disease just like Alzheimer's or Huntington's disease,” he said.

Several major scientific breakthroughs, Urschel says, have changed the landscape of addiction treatment.

One breakthrough is recognition that addiction is a chronic disease that may start as a genetic disposition but can turn into full-blown addiction within a matter of moments or years, depending on the person.

A second breakthrough in pharmaceutical science is a handful of medications that the Food and Drug Administration has approved for treatment of addiction.

“People sometimes don't think that addicts should be on medication for very long because they think they're going to get addicted,” Urschel said. “That's just crazy. You don't say that to a heart patient. If you're on Lipitor, you're probably going to be on Lipitor the rest of your life.

“Yes,” he said, “it has some side effects, but you're willing to risk it because you don't want to have a heart attack. It's the same thing with addiction medicines.”

Vivitrol is one drug used to help both alcoholics and other addicts. Urschel said one shot of Vivitrol per month can decrease craving for alcohol by 90 percent and prevents you from getting drunk for the entire month.

“You can drink alcohol but it's like drinking water. You don't feel any high or euphoria,” he said. The drug also decreases the likelihood and severity of a relapse.

Another breakthrough that's made a difference in treating addiction, Urschel said, is the finding that addiction physically injures the brain. But the brain can heal, he said, with the right combination of treatments including medications, nutrition, lifestyle changes and psychological help.

© The Oklahoman


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