Category Archives: Alcoholism

What Apex Offers!

In addition to behavioral health treatment, Apex offers a variety of things.

We offer:

  • Psychological evaluations courtesy of Dr. Hamid.
  • Driver License Evaluations from Gina Patton and Robert Edwards. DLEs cost $250 and one needs to bring: state driving record, 3-5 letters of recommendation, a 12- panel drug screening, and AA sign-in sheets if attended. The drug screening is not offered at Apex.
  • Alcohol & Substance abuse evaluations, also courtesy of Gina and Robert. These evaluations cost $115 and you will need to fill out a SASSI test. It is also recommended that you bring any relevant information from the courts.
  • Sidenote: all substance abuse & drivers license evaluations are an out-of-pocket expense that is not covered by insurance.
  • Suboxone treatment. Dr. Chung is our Suboxone provider for opioid treatment & withdrawal. When starting on Suboxone, Dr. Chung prescribes a weeks worth of medication at a time.
  • Tricare Providers- we see military families!
  • Low fee costs. For a medication visit, the first visit is $125, followed by $55 for a 15 minute session. For therapy, the first visit is $90 and the following visits are $70. Therapy visits are 45-60 minutes long.

Apex is NOT a walk-in clinic and we do not accept same day appointments for new clients.  So call and schedule your appointment today! 🙂

Addiction Redefined

Addiction is a chronic brain disease, not just bad behavior or bad choices.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has released a new definition of addiction, highlighting that addiction is a chronic brain disorder and not just a behavioral problem involving excess alcohol, drugs, gambling, or sex.  This marks the first occasion of ASAM stating addiction is not solely related to problematic substance use.

When people witness damaging and compulsive behaviors in friends, family, or public figures, the majority only focus on the actual substance use or behavior as the problem. According to ASAM, these outward behaviors are manifestations of an underlying disease that involves various areas of the brain.  

“At its core, addiction isn’t just a social, moral, or criminal problem. It’s a brain problem whose behaviors manifest in all these other ares,” said Dr. Micheal Miller, former president of ASAM. “Many behaviors driven by addiction are real problems and sometimes criminal acts. But the disease is about brains, not drugs. It’s about underlying neurology, not outward actions.”

The new definition resulted from an intensive four year process with more than 80 experts actively working on it, including: top addiction authorities, addiction medicine clinicians, and neuroscience researchers from across the country.

Addiction is described as a primary disease, meaning that it is not the result of other emotional causes or psychiatric problems. Addiction is also recognized as a chronic disease, like cardiovascular disease or diabetes, so therefore it must be treated, managed, and monitored over a life-time.

Two decades of advancements in neuroscience convinced ASAM that addiction needed to be redefined by what is going on in the brain. The disease of addiction affects neurotransmissions and interactions within the reward circuitry of the brain. This leads to addictive behaviors that supplant healthy behaviors, while memories of prior experiences (food, sex, alcohol, drugs) trigger cravings and renewal of addictive behaviors.

The brain circuitry that governs impulse control and judgment is also altered, resulting in the dysfunctional pursuit of rewards like drugs or alcohol. This area of the brain is still developing during teenage years, which may be why early exposure to alcohol or drugs is linked to a greater likelihood of addiction as an adult.

There has been a longtime controversy if people with addiction have choice over anti-social and dangerous behaviors. Dr. Raju Hajela, chair member of the ASAM committee, stated that “the disease creates distortions in thinking, feelings and perceptions, which drives people to behave in ways that aren’t understandable to others around them. Simply put, addiction is not a choice. Addictive behaviors are a manifestation of the disease, not a cause.”

“Choice still plays an important role in getting help. While the neurobiology of choice may not be fully understood, a person with addiction must make choices for a healthier life in order to enter treatment and recovery. Because there is no pill which alone can cure addiction, choosing recovery over unhealthy behaviors is necessary.”

Dr. Miller added, “Many chronic diseas require behavioral choices, such as people with heart disease choosing to eat healthier or begin exercising, in addiction to medical or surgical interventions. So, we have to stop moralizing, blaming, controlling, or smirking at the person with the disease of addiction and start creating opportunities for individuals and families to get help and providing assistance in choosing proper treatment.”

SAMHSA recently worked with the behavioral health field to develop a working definiton of recovery that captures the common experiences of those in recovery.

Some of the guiding principles are:

  • Recovery is person-driven
  • Recovery occurs via many pathways
  • Recovery is holistic
  • Recovery is supported by peers and allies
  • Recovery is supported through relationships and social networks
  • Recovery is culturally based and influenced
  • Recovery is supported by addressing trauma
  • Recovery involves individual, family, and community strengths and responsibility
  • Recovery is based on respect
  • Recovery emerges from hope

Addiction treatment, including therapy or Suboxone, is offered at Apex Behavioral Heatlh. Dr. Chung, Dr. Ramesh, and Dr. Kwon are our Suboxone providers.

Should You Talk to Someone About a Drug, Alcohol, or Mental Health Problem?

Many people struggle with both substance use and a mental disorder. These questions can help you decide whether you need help with substance use, a mental health issue, or both. For people who suffer from both, receiving treatment for both is important for getting better. Recovery starts with understanding that you may have one or both of these problems.

  • Over  the past two weeks, have you felt down, depressed, or hopeless?
  • Over the past two weeks, have you felt little interest or pleasure in doing things?
  • In the past year, have you had significant problems with insomnia, bad dreams, or falling asleep during the day?
  • In the past year, have you thought about ending your life or had thoughts of suicide?

-If you have had thoughts of suicide, please call 1-800-SUICIDE. 

  • In the past year, did you have a hard time paying attention at school, work, or home?
  • Have you ever felt you should cut down on your alcohol or drug use?
  • Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking or drug use?
  • Have you ever felt bad or guilty about drinking or drug use?
  • Have you ever taken a drink or drug first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?

-In the past, have you ever:

  • (for men) Had 5 or more drinks in a day?
  • (for women or anyone over age 65) had 4 or more drinks in a day?
  • used recreational or prescription drugs to get high?

Unless you answered “never” to all of the above questions, talk to your doctor, nurse, or counselor about the details. They can help you decide what do to next. They may also help you find more information and resources.

For more information on treatment for co-occurring mental and substance use disorders, call Apex Behavioral Health to set up treatment. You can also go to www.samhsa.gov/treatment.