Home » News & Media » Press Releases » Sovereign Health’s Chief Clinical Officer, Anthony J. Mele, Psy.D., Discusses Addiction and Mental Illness Treatment in New LA Times Editorial

Sovereign Health’s Chief Clinical Officer, Anthony J. Mele, Psy.D., Discusses Addiction and Mental Illness Treatment in New LA Times Editorial

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., Oct. 12, 2016 Sovereign Health, a leading national licensed provider of behavioral health treatment services, announces a new editorial in the Los Angeles Times from Chief Clinical Officer (CCO), Anthony J. Mele, Psy.D. In the editorial, “Walking out of the addiction-and-treatment ‘revolving door’ for good,” Dr. Mele provides a comprehensive examination about the cycle of sobriety and relapse. As noted in the article, many addicts complete a treatment program only to repeatedly relapse and re-enter the program, a phenomenon known in addiction circles as “revolving door syndrome.” This cycle — periods of sobriety followed by relapse and more treatment — can be devastating to addicts and their loved ones. Dr. Mele discusses the importance of treating underlying mental health disorders that contribute to substance abuse problems and using scientifically tested, evidence-based practices to stop the revolving door.

For Dr. Mele and the clinical leadership at Sovereign Health, giving patients access to a professional team of physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, licensed therapists, registered dietitians and counselors provides the most comprehensive care possible. “When anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, panic disorder or post-traumatic stress go unrecognized and untreated in people addicted to drugs, alcohol or both, the likelihood of relapse increases sharply,” said Dr. Mele, a licensed psychologist with over 25 years in the behavioral health industry.

In the Los Angeles Times editorial, Dr. Mele notes that traditional substance abuse treatment providers who aren’t mental health experts often miss a patient’s co-occurring mental and substance use disorders, or what’s known as “dual diagnosis” status. According to a 2014 national survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20.2 million adults have a substance use disorder. Of these, 7.9 million people, or 39 percent, had both a mental disorder and substance use disorder. Based on his professional experience, Dr. Mele contends that the actual percentage of addicts with a dual diagnosis may be as high as 60 percent. The relapse rate among people addicted to drugs or alcohol, according to Dr. Mele, is from 50 to 90 percent.

The article also takes a close look at the rates of readmission to treatment. “We look at who comes back to us,” Dr. Mele said. Sovereign’s rate of readmission is 19.8 percent — lower than a statewide 24.5 percent readmission rate for patients in residential detox programs cited in a 2014 study by the National Institutes of Health.

When asked about the treatment regimen at Sovereign, Dr. Mele said, “We begin our program with an intensive structured psychological evaluation process to address the addiction and the patient’s personality style and level of cognitive functioning. Many providers don’t understand the personality component of addiction and don’t know how to assess it, or assess it very superficially. Treating only the symptoms of addiction doesn’t work. You have to address the underlying personality contributions to the addiction and identify those cognitive skills which remain relatively intact, despite years of substance abuse. Without this information, treatment planning will not be individualized and will likely create a good deal of frustration.”

Sovereign’s comprehensive assessment also evaluates the patient’s family history and social system, and the treatment plan considers both. To read the full editorial, click HERE.

About Sovereign Health

One factor that differentiates Sovereign from other treatment providers has been the company’s ability to offer separate mental health and addiction or dual diagnosis treatment programs at its facilities. Patients seek the services of Sovereign Health to receive treatment for mental health issues, including trauma, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Sovereign also offers treatment for cognitive deficits and eating disorders. For more information, visit www.sovhealth.com.  


Media Contact:

Wendy Allen, Public Relations Manager: 866-948-9688

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