Dr. Timothy Fong, Director of the UCLA Addiction Medicine Clinic talks to the ONE80CENTER about the relationship between wellness and staying sober.
What do you believe are some holistic ways that can beneficially supplement more traditional means of treatment for addiction towards a positive outcome?
Dr. Timothy Fong, Director of the UCLA Addiction Medicine Clinic:
One of the fascinating areas of Addiction Psychiatry in medicine is for a long time we really didn‘t have any medications. Now over the last 10 years we have developed very effective medications for addiction. One of the areas we haven’t looked at is the areas of non-traditional, non-western kinds of medications or things like nutritional supplements, traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, Neruofeedback, massage, equine therapy and things like that. Now if I wear my science and academic hat and say ‘tell me more about these non-traditional treatments’ I always look at it with a little bit of healthy skepticism, to say ‘where is the evidence that says equine therapy works? Where is the evidence that hypnosis or massage therapy works?’ But then when I put on my recovery or my clinician’s hat and I see patients go through those things or I in fact experience some of those things, you realize these are powerful life experiences. The way I think about holistic treatments are if they add an advantage to recovery or add wellness or add some positive life experience, then that is going to be very valuable. Now when we think about if they are dangerous? Well anything is potentially dangerous, whether it be FDA approved medications, acupuncture, equine therapy, surf therapy etc. So instead what I really like to focus on is what is the client getting out of that experience or out of that treatment versus also what is the provider doing. If the provider is charging 500 or 600 dollars for this magical potion and the patient doesn’t get better and the provider keeps saying ‘keep on going until you get better’, that’s snake oil. Or instead of that they say ‘you know I really think you should focus on Neurofeedback as a way to increase your attention’ that may be a little bit different. So my take on it is to have an open mind about it and have healthy skepticism and in fact say ‘hey if there is a treatment signal for a treatment that seems to be working, we really ought to look at it more and more both scientifically as well as in the treatment field.’