DEPENDENCE & ADDICTION: THE STRUGGLE GOES ON
The devastation being wrought by the continuing pharmaceutical-fueled opioid crisis. The daily battle being waged by 15 million US alcoholics and alcohol abusers. The surge in nicotine-based vaping in the US, especially among teenagers & young adults. The lingering and apparently rebounding use of tobacco in its many forms.
It goes by many names, and has many faces, but all share this: In the end, regardless of what you call it or the substance involved, it is disruptive and destructive, randomly taking hostages without regard for social, economic, or cultural background.
My name is Harold Stecker, Ph.D. I have spent my professional life dividing my focus between the treatment of patients impacted by mental health challenges and those struggling with addictions and substance dependence, where more of my time is currently spent.
My initial Dependence & Addiction experience was gained in a ground-breaking post-treatment housing program where I lived with 15-20 addicts while conducting their therapy. Eventually seeking more independence, I accepted an opportunity to become a consultant to multiple programs, including roles as treatment director of 3 different residential programs.
While involved in an innovative methadone program, I met Meg Patterson, MBE, MBChB, FRDSE. Through research and development, Ms. Patterson found that she could effectively treat addiction by combining traditional psychological therapies with the use of a micro-stimulation device she had developed. This was my first exposure to cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES). I witnessed her successful treatment of methadone patients who at the conclusion of their therapy were drug free and capable of coping with street life without using legal or street drugs. On a personal level, she successfully employed CES to free me from my two-pack+ a day cigarette and nicotine addiction. I have since continued to develop and work with CES, successfully treating more than 200 patients.
In light of the dramatically increasing levels of opioid abuse, on top of the ongoing struggles with alcohol, nicotine, and illegal drugs, there is an urgent and growing need for alternative therapies that eliminate the risk of patient dependence or abuse, as well as the diversion of opioids for abuse.
CES (cranial electrotherapy stimulation) provides such a therapeutic alternative. CES Ultra is an FDA registered and regulated 510k prescription medical device that has demonstrated positive outcomes in pivotal scientific studies, both as a primary and adjunctive therapy.
“100% of the 17 studies that included follow-up study showed CES to have positive, long-term, cumulative effects. None of these studies revealed any long-term negative adverse effects." 1
Pocket-sized CES Ultra is a non-narcotic and non-surgical therapy that has exhibited no side effects, adverse events, or device to drug interactions. CES has been employed by healthcare professionals worldwide, proven safe and effective in pivotal scientific studies.
Dr. Stecker: “I have been personally involved in the design, testing and application of CES therapy for more than 40 years and am currently the primary clinical advisor for Neuro-Fitness LLC, the FDA compliant manufacturer of CES Ultra.
A private, individualized, multi-therapy approach to overcoming substance abuse and dependency.
Dr. Stecker has developed an individualized, integrated, and comprehensive approach to treating patients who struggle with substance abuse and addictive dependencies such as alcohol, pain medications (including opioids), sleep medications, illicit “street drugs”, and tobacco products.
The key to this approach is understanding that only separating the patient from their dependent substance through detoxification, a necessary first step, is treating a symptom, not addressing the root cause that led this person to a dependent situation. If this is the only therapeutic approach employed, that patient will likely remain susceptible to a relapse because they have no understanding of why they made the choices that led them to dependency, and no coping tools to help them successfully navigate the real world.
Dr. Stecker’s approach incorporates three complimentary therapeutic tools that each address a different part of the dependency equation, each reinforcing the other to help the patient heal on the many levels necessary to achieve a sustainable recovery and successful return to a “normal” life.
This three-legged stool of coordinated therapies includes psychological trauma therapy, CES neuro therapy, and supportive addiction therapy, each addressing a different aspect of a successful recovery process.
After Dr. Stecker’s initial patient evaluation, trauma therapy is used to help patients discover and understand the root cause of their dependency, to identify and understand the psychological traumas that have perhaps gone unrecognized over time but impact a person’s way of seeing and coping with the real world, and to provide them with the tools necessary to succeed.
In conjunction, CES neuro therapy greatly reduces stress and anxiety levels by re-balancing the neuro-chemical levels in the brain to “normal” pre-stress levels. The documented success of CES in this area allows patients a greater sense of relaxation, a return to normal sleep patterns, and a significant increase in the ability of the subjects to respond to stress in a positive manner.
“The role of CES in the treatment of chemical dependency is of great interest since anxiety and insomnia are frequently present in the early stages of recovery and these symptoms are a common precursor to relapse." 1
The third leg of our integrated therapy stool is addiction therapy. Addiction therapy is a supportive therapy, such as AA or a structured rehabilitation program, designed to engage, challenge, and support patients in recovery on an as needed basis. Starting with private sessions with Dr. Stecker, often times in conjunction with supportive addiction therapy, patients come to realize they’re not in this alone, that there are many, many people in a similar circumstance, an entire community seeking and giving support to each other through the sharing of their experiences, the telling of their stories. Through the course of addiction therapy, patients talk through coping strategies and plans to successfully reintegrate with their families and their lives. Addiction therapy over time morphs into recovery therapy, again providing the tools, community, and support necessary to take on the real world every day.
“Psychic distress and aggression traditionally experienced as a substantial part of the withdrawal syndrome is a major obstacle to successful detoxification and rehabilitation of the chemical dependent." 2
CES significantly reduces these affective components resulting in a lower dropout rate while enhancing the patient’s ability to benefit from relapse-prevention modalities.”
Dr. Stecker’s program sessions are individually designed to enhance outcomes and successfully return people to their jobs, to their families, and to their lives.
“CES is a safe, efficacious, cost effective intervention for addictions. As such, CES should be added to all addiction treatment programs.” 3
1Daniel L. Kirsch, PhD, DAAPM, FAIS / Practical PAIN MANAGEMENT, November/December 2007 73-79
2Meg Patterson MBE, MBChB, FRDSE et al / “Amelioration of stress in chemical detoxification by transcranial electrostimulation (CES).”Stress Medicine, 710:115-126, 1994
3Daniel L. Kirsch, PhD, DAAPM, FAIS / Practical PAIN MANAGEMENT, November/December 2007 73-79
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