Alcohol and drug addictions are probably the most well-known addictions to the general population. In fact, most people only associate addiction with substance abuse, but sexual dependence, and eating disorders are also forms of addictions. Non-substance related disorders can be disguised in many forms and emotional problems are often a typical disguise for behavioral addictions. At the 3rd Annual Women’s Association for Addiction Treatment (WAAT) Conference last week, keynote speaker Timothy Fong, MD, addressed the disguises of these often hidden addictions, and explained how to help clients who have them.
“Dr. Fong explained that, addiction professionals don’t typically screen for behavioral addictions, and often these addictions can go unnoticed until later on in treatment when they are finally identified,” explained Solid Landings Behavioral Health’s Marketing Associate, Kristin Hutson. “Hearing this shines a light on behavioral addictions and brings these disorders to the forefront of our minds when assessing clients.”
WAAT was created in 2001 starting with only 6 members and has increased to over 400 in the last 13 years, with chapters in multiple states, including California and New York. The gender-specific organization is comprised of female professionals in the field of addiction, and Solid Landings Behavioral Health’s Outreach Coordinator, Elizabeth Alvarez, is one of them.
“This conference was not just drug treatment; it’s eating disorders, and mental health,” explained Alvarez. “As a board member of the WAAT San Gabriel Valley Chapter, I was excited to represent Solid Landings as one of the largest treatment facilities on the West Coast. These opportunities allow us to continue to spread the word and meet with such a diverse group of addiction professionals to reinforce what a unique role women can play in behavioral health.”
The focus of the conference was on innovative approaches to addiction treatment, and identified Positive Psychology, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). One speaker, Priya Chaundhri, PhD, focused on the 12 Steps and Smart Recovery, and what makes a true individualized treatment approach.
“During the panel, Dr. Chaundhri expressed that a lot of treatment centers claim to be individualized but that’s not always accurate. A true individualized treatment approach meets the client where they are in their recovery process, not where we think they should be,” explained Hutson. “And at Solid Landings, we understand that there are many ways up the mountain; it’s not our job to decide which direction our clients take, but to get them to the top.”