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Behavioral Health Center offers chemical dependency program

Health, Wellness & You
Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fort HealthCare’s Behavioral Health Center provides support for all individuals in need of mental health care, regardless of age or illness. Depending on individual needs, Fort HealthCare’s Behavioral Health Center can provide individual, family or group counseling to help patients overcome both physical and emotional problems.

Fort HealthCare Behavioral Health Center can help with a variety of topics, including:
• Social skills and behavioral management
• Depression
• Eating disorders
• Anxiety and stress disorders
• Family and relationship problems
• Sexual identity
• Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse
• Career-related difficulties
• Grief counseling; and
• Alcohol and drug abuse

Individual, family or group counseling can help people overcome both the physical and emotional problems relating to drug and alcohol abuse and addiction. An important part of what goes on in the Behavioral Health Center is the chemical dependency program, offering intensive outpatient treatment and counseling for individuals struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, and encouraging family involvement. “We treat all types of addictions here,” said Karen Hembrook, manager of behavioral health. In fact, the chemical dependency program sees a majority of alcohol and marijuana abuse cases, as well as some clients experiencing opiate abuse.

The chemical dependency program starts with six weeks of intensive outpatient treatment, three days per week, followed by a weekly recovery support group for 12 weeks. To accommodate work schedules, morning or evening sessions are available and family members are encouraged to come in for family counseling. After the initial program, patients undergo a step-down program where the patient works a little bit more on after-care and relapse-prevention planning,” Hembrook said.

The program is set up on a revolving participation basis and people can begin the program at any time, but they need to start the intake process by meeting with an alcohol and other drug abuse (AODA) counselor. To do so all that is required is a call to the behavioral health clinic to arrange an appointment with one of the counselors. The counselor will do a full biological, psychological and social assessment of the person to determine treatment needs. There are a number of levels of intervention, because everyone’s circumstances and needs are unique.

“Not everyone with alcohol problems, for example, needs intensive outpatient care,” Hembrook remarked. “Some come in only once each week. And, kids who get underage drinking tickets, typically, only need brief counseling and educational interventions.”

The Behavioral Health Center has four psychologists with doctoral level degrees on staff. In addition there are two psychiatrists: Stanley Fudala, MD and Nicolette Weisensel, MD, four social workers, including Hembrook, two AODA specialists.

“When someone is addicted, it affects the entire family so we try to get everyone involved the help, resources and understanding they need to cope. We want the whole community to know this is available because it impacts everyone. Sometimes we can help family members even when the addict isn’t going to quit. It’s hard, but people can learn to be healthy and happy whether their loved one is abusing or not,” stated Hembrook.

Confidentiality is of the utmost importance to the staff of the Behavioral Health Center. If an adolescent is addicted, family members can call and set up an appointment; however, an adult cannot schedule an appointment for another adult. The addicted person should call because it shows that individual is making a commitment to recovery and take the first step.

Anyone seeking help with addiction recovery is encouraged to contact the Fort HealthCare Behavioral Health Center for chemical dependency program information, including appointment times, at (920) 563-9542.