Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Laurence Westreich - addicts' relatives

In the latest edition of Wise Counsel podcast Dr. David van Nuys speaks with Laurence Westreich who is a psychiatrist specialized in the treatment of addicts. The subject of the discussion is mainly the practical advice Dr. Westreich has for the relatives of addicts. How to detect addiction, how to find the right treatment and how to get the addicted relative to take up and continue the treatment.

The podcast is short and to the point. It makes for great listening, but if you are particularly interested in the topic, you may want to keep a pen and pad in short reach for taking notes for Dr. Westreich shoots the practical advice fast and it is numerous. In broad terms he encourages anyone who is involved in the treatment of addictions to be optimistic and persevering. He also seems to advocate a multi-faceted aproach, supporting psycho-therapy as well as group-therapy, twelve step programs and medication. On the subject of medication, Dr. Van Nuys asks a question I think is inspired by an earlier podcast of his in the Shrinkrapradio series where he interviewed Dr. Sinclair, who has developed a medication for addiction. Dr. Westreich admits there are good medicines, but would rather not leave out the psycho-therapy and agrees with Dr. Van Nuys that with medicine there is always the danger of making the addict move from the addiction in one substance to another.

On the subject of addiction in a broader sense, addictions that are not to a substance, but rather to things like gambling, gaming, TV or the internet, Dr. Westreich is a bit hesitant to regard these addictions as the same, but admits that there are found similarities. His experience though is mostly with substance addiction.
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