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Sovereign Health’s CEO, Dr. Tonmoy Sharma, Discusses Addiction and Mental Illness Treatment in New LA Times Editorial

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., Sept. 30, 2016 – Sovereign Health, a leading national licensed provider of behavioral health treatment services, announces a new editorial in the Los Angeles Times from Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Tonmoy Sharma. In the Q&A, “Why addiction and mental illness should be treated together,” Dr. Sharma provides an in-depth discussion regarding the need for a dual diagnosis approach in the treatment of addiction. Dual diagnosis, as Dr. Sharma notes, “is a situation in which a patient with a diagnosis of substance misuse also has a diagnosis of a mental illness.” Traditional addiction treatment programs address only substance abuse. This approach can result in frequent relapses that put addiction patients back in treatment repeatedly, catching them in what’s known as the “revolving door.”

“I think people need to understand that addiction doesn’t exist in a vacuum,” explains Dr. Sharma in the interview, when asked how he’d characterize the medical profession’s current understanding of the phenomenon of addiction and co-occurring mental issues. “To treat a patient effectively, a good addiction specialist must possess the expertise necessary to address both the addiction itself, as well as the mental illness that’s being exacerbated by the addiction. Much of the time, treating the addiction alone just isn’t enough.”

Dr. Sharma offers a case in point of why dual diagnosis treatment is so critical. “Here’s an example: You suffer from depression, and you’ve started drinking. So you enter a traditional treatment program, where you abstain from drinking. When you complete the program, you’ve stopped drinking — but you’re still depressed. So you end up drinking again because it helped you cope in the past. As soon as you take that first drink, according to the treatment facility, you have failed. Wrong — the treatment facility has failed because it did not address your core problem: depression.”

According to a 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation, an estimated 43.6 million (18.1 percent) Americans ages 18 and up experienced some form of mental illness. In the past year, 20.2 million adults (8.4 percent) had a substance use disorder. Of these, 7.9 million people had co-occurring mental and substance use disorders.

Sovereign Health, licensed to treat both mental health and substance abuse, operates nine treatment facilities in five states: California, Arizona, Florida, Texas and Utah. Each facility is fully licensed in accordance with the regulations of the state where the facility is located. In addition, Sovereign Health facilities have been awarded Gold Seal accreditation by The Joint Commission, the highest level of accreditation available in the behavioral health field.

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


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Wendy Allen, Public Relations Manager: 866-686-0090

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