Sunday, May 23, 2010

VCNP Conference

Dr. Coleman spoke to a packed audience at the Virginia Coalition of Nurse Practitioners in Reston, Virginia a few weeks ago. His topic was Addiction and Substance Abuse in Primary Care. He highlighted recognition of the disease using available screening tools, making a diagnosis, then followed with an overview of treatment options.

I was struck by a couple things.

First of all, I was impressed at the numbers present. Substance abuse is a ubiquitous condition. Clearly these practitioners are seeing the problem frequently in their various practice settings.

A major point that Dr. Coleman made was that addiction is a Primary disease; in other words, depression and anxiety are not the cause of substance abuse. Drug and alcohol abuse stands alone as a diagnosis. That being said, it can certainly exacerbate many other mental and physical conditions. (Check the archives to see his newsletter article on this very topic.)

Another interesting thing I noticed is that virtually no one knows about naltrexone therapy. This generated many questions from the audience, since most people are only familiar with using long term opiates such as methadone and suboxone as treatment. Few people are aware of the problem many people have when they attempt to stop these treatments.

A final thought: it is most helpful to a patient to give him a firm diagnosis about a drinking or drug problem. Until the problem is identified, healing cannot begin.

If you or a loved one is concerned about substance abuse, please inquire at The Coleman Institute. We have Accelerated Opiate, Alcohol and Benzodiazepene treatments, all done in the out-patient setting.

Also, it turns out Dr. Coleman is a great speaker. If youd like him to present a lecture to your group, give me a call. When the session ended he was encircled by Nurse Practitioners. I assume they were questioning him on aspects of his speech, although I think couple may have been after his phone number.
Joan Shepherd - FNP

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