Florida Doctor William Leach on Drug-Addiction Intervention

posted at http://sr.photos3.fotosearch.com All Rights ReservedDrug-addiction interventions are professionally-led meetings in which an individual with the brain disease of addiction is surrounded by loved ones who share with the individual how the disease of is affecting both the patient and the loved ones around him or her.  Typically, the individual is brought to a family member’s home or other comfortable location on a pretense in order to increase the likelihood the individual will arrive. The intervention professional will then explain the reason for the meeting.

The intervention professional ideally is a Medical Doctor who is board certified in addiction medicine and accompanied by a licensed addiction therapist specialist (LMHC, LCSW, PhD, PsyD). Addiction is a life threating brain disease. In the hopefully soon to be very distant past and all too often present, these meetings are led by an “interventionist” who is a commissioned marketing sales representative for himself and a multitude of treatment centers. Sometimes an unlicensed “addiction professional” is placed in this role.

Addiction is a life threatening brain disease. All other life threatening brain diseases are attended to by medical doctors.

As more and more addiction medicine physician specialists are trained, with 10 years of post-graduate medical education, hopefully this important attempt to save the patient’s life will be led by the highest trained level patient care physician professional. While the individual may become angry, he or she may be persuaded to stay to hear letters that the gathered loved ones have written explaining the impact the individual’s brain disease has had on their lives. Intervention letters typically involve loved ones telling the individual that they are no longer willing to support the individual’s brain disease by providing a place to stay, money, or other means of support.

If the intervention is successful, the individual will accompany the professional to a drug treatment facility. However, if the individual refuses to accept treatment or attempts to leave, the professional will typically follow up with the individual, attempting to persuade him or her to seek treatment. Provided it is led by a trained professional, intervention can be a powerful method of encouraging the treatment of a person with a drug addiction.

Dr. William Leach maintains a private practice in Central Florida, where he offers a range of medical services, including treatment and therapy for all patients suffering with the brain disease of addiction.


Dr. William Leach, Florida Medical consultant, discusses Orthomolecular Medicine

Conceived of by two-time Nobel laureate Linus Pauling, PhD, orthomolecular medicine seeks to restore balance to the body. Coined by Dr. Pauling in 1968, after the Greek word for “correct,” orthomolecular refers to fixing one’s biochemistry deficiencies by re-introducing vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and other natural substances to a person.

It involves treating patients on the molecular level. In essence, the body is food transformed. Food is made up of molecules. The body is made up of molecules. The primary concept behind orthomolecular medicine relates to the individual’s biochemical make up.

While genetics play an important role in how people develop and their likelihood to contract diseases, biochemical abnormalities may also cause physical and psychological illnesses, including schizophrenia.

Over the past nearly 45 years, orthomolecular medicine has garnered support from members of the medical community. Since 1994, the International Society of Orthomolecular Medicine has served as an association of practitioners who follow this theory when treating patients. The biggest organization of its type, the International Society of Orthomolecular Medicine consists of regional bodies throughout Africa, Europe, North and South America, and Australia.

About the Author:

A former Lieutenant Commander in the US Public Health Service, William Leach MD FAAFP ABAM directs an addiction and family medicine clinic in North Florida. Throughout his career, Dr. Leach has garnered experience in and practiced orthomolecular medicine.

Teaching Mindfulness as a Treatment Strategy in Addiction By Dr. William Leach

Drug use has been shown to cause reversible damage to the prefrontal cortex and limbic systems of the brain (among many other areas), dis-enabling the individual’s ability to regulate both self-control and emotion respectively. Because of this finding, leading edge scientific evidence based addiction treatment programs are adopting methods to target this damage. Many addiction centers have implemented mindfulness education programs. With its origins in Eastern self-awareness training and meditation, mindfulness teaches individuals to pay attention to present moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is. Mindfulness is practicing living in the waking meditative state. Living in the present mindful moment is where all peace, happiness, harmony, cooperation, sharing and reverence for life reside. Mindfulness practice essentially reinforces the natural condition: that of living as a human being in contrast to living as a human doing (where humans spend most of their time). Adopting and following mindfulness practice has demonstrated results in activating the prefrontal cortex and stimulating the growth of the hippocampus, the region of the brain associated with memory and learning. Furthermore, research has shown that mindfulness practice is associated with fostering the development of the areas of the brain that enable a person to show empathy.

Humans with the structural brain disease of addiction often have difficulty believing that they are able to change and have a lack of awareness of both their present condition and their associated mal-adaptive behaviors. Research on mindfulness meditation indicates that temperament or character qualities, once viewed as unchangeable, can be altered significantly. Mindfulness assists the human by fostering the growth of their personal self-awareness (elsewhere commonly referred to as “recovery”). Increasing clarity and decision-making ability follow. Mindfulness training facilitates a person’s ability to see options in a more objective fashion. Incorporating these effective mindfulness skills and effectively drawing upon the support of self-aware others will propel the individual into ongoing lifelong self-awareness. Abstinence from the addictive substance (or process) and practiced lifelong self-awareness is the “cure” for addiction.

About the author: Based in North Central Florida, Dr. William Leach operates a comprehensive practice in addiction medicine. Dr. Leach teaches mediation, mindfulness and self-awareness training to patients. He completed his Clinical Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Addiction Medicine at the University of Florida McKnight Brain Research Institute. He is also specialty certified in addiction by the American Board of Addiction Medicine.

Shifting Knowledge about the Cause of the Brain Disease of Addiction

By William Leach, MD

In the field of addiction medicine, many “professionals” have had differences of “opinion” about treating the brain disease of addiction either as a physical disease or as a behavioral entity or choice. As is always the case, human medical conditions are extensively multi-factorial and rarely have a simple causation or treatment. Environment and biology are always inter-dependent and inter-influencing.

“Addiction” is a chronic, progressive, relapsing, terminal (ending in death if untreated) brain disease which has biological, psychological, sociological and higher consciousness manifestations. Science, as the basis of logical medicine, requires that scientific, evidence-based, standard-of-care-driven best practices dictate the appropriate medical care, which is then delivered compassionately to the patients. “Opinion” has no business entering into the treatment of a human being who is afflicted with a life-threatening brain disease. With the advance of sophisticated brain-imaging technology, researchers have identified changes in the brains of persons with the brain disease of addiction.

Fifty-Five years of Brain research have proven the relationship between brain chemistry and addiction, as well as between heredity and addiction. Previously, the “psychiatric” disciplines played a more significant role in treating this brain disease. Because the symptoms of this brain disease are predominantly behavioral, the disease was previously viewed as a “mental” illness. The brain disease of addiction is being proven to have at its origin, a genetically inherited structural difference in parts of the brain. Schools of medicine are responding to the lack of physician training in this physician sub-specialty by creating fellowship programs in addiction medicine, such as the one I attended at the University of Florida.

New research proving a structural brain difference as the primary cause of the brain disease of addiction encourages research into both biological treatments and behavioral modalities. In essence, both are one in reality. Behavioral modalities have even been shown to change the structure of the brain! This redefinition has created the impetus to manage patients with addictions through a combination of appropriate medication and “therapy” or what I refer to as “self-awareness training,” which is ongoing and lifelong. Consequently, in order for a patient with this brain disease to regain the ability to maintain a high level of functioning and keep the brain from being hit with its drug of choice for example (the brain chooses the drug!), treatment must be continuous, exactly as it is for a patient with diabetes, cancer, or heart disease.

This new knowledge of the causation of the nature of addiction has led to the development of many new treatment options with more in the pipeline. One of the newer treatment strategies is to use immunotherapies, for example, drugs that act as “vaccinations.” These immunotherapies block the entry of stimulant substances (drug) into the brain, thereby preventing perpetuation of the disease should the patient initially fail to refrain from ingesting the substance to which the brain is addicted. Pharmaceutical treatment works best when augmented with behavioral and spiritual approaches that prove effective for the patient, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, 12-step facilitation therapy, and most importantly, mindfulness-training practice.

About the author: With over 30 years’ experience as a practicing physician, Dr. William Leach maintains a comprehensive, private, addiction medicine practice in North Florida. Dr. Leach is board certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine. Additionally, Dr. Leach provides clinical consulting, business consulting, and pharmaceutical treatment advocacy.

The U.S. Public Health Service: An Interview with Dr. William Leach

Dr. William Leach is the owner of a comprehensive private addiction medicine practice in North Florida. He obtained his doctorate from the University of Florida in 1977. From 1980 to 1983, Dr. William Leach served as a commissioned officer for the U.S. Public Health Service.

Q: What is the U.S. Public Health Service?

A: It is a service that helps to provide health care to underprivileged communities throughout the U.S., for example to prisoners and to Native American groups. The commissioned corps is made up of more than 6,500 fully trained doctors posted all over the U.S.

Q: What were you doing during your time with the corps?

A: I was the Chief Medical Officer and Acting Commissioner for a hospital in interior Alaska, as well as for the native population. In the corps, I held the rank of Lieutenant Commander. I had to adapt everything I had learned to suit bush medicine conditions, and I received the Presidential Special Services Award for my efforts there.

Q: What sort of preparation did it give you for your future career?

A: Being a part of the commissioned corps really makes you feel as if you are making a difference. I learned a diverse range of skills, and I gained a lot of leadership experience. I also worked as a teacher and mentor for students, nurses and natives in the bush villages and dealt with a few emergency situations. I learned a lot from my time in the corps.