Taking the Shame and Guilt Out of Addiction
Addiction and Recovery – Addiction Is Not A Moral Failure with Dr. Stephen Loyd
Dr. Loyd would like to see addiction treatment emphasize adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Numerous studies have established a direct link between childhood trauma and subsequent drug and alcohol abuse. Additionally, child abuse followed by later-life trauma exposure may increase the risk of developing a substance or alcohol abuse problem. Childhood maltreatment alters the brain’s structure and volume, potentially increasing the risk of relapse.
As Dr. Loyd emphasizes, both from research and personal experience, co-occurring mental and substance disorders must be treated successfully. For example, one review concluded that adolescents suffering from PTSD because of child abuse would benefit from combined treatment for PTSD and substance use disorder. Treatment addressing both conditions resulted in improvements in both conditions as well as a reduction in secondary depression in adult veterans.
Clinicians report that this approach is uncommon due to the specialized knowledge required to successfully integrate treatment for both conditions, at least in adolescents. Nonetheless, PTSD is estimated to co-occur with substance use disorders in 40% of civilians and veterans. This circumstance may help to explain why opioid misuse and overdose have become so prevalent in recent years.
Researchers are examining how these integrated treatments affect the brain to combat this public health crisis. By promoting multiple healthy pathways, integrated approaches to addiction treatment may expedite beneficial changes in the brain. The neurobiology of addiction is a rapidly growing field of study. Along with elucidating the brain activity of current addicts, research is being conducted to determine the functional changes associated with the long-term likelihood of relapse. Interventions to reestablish hedonic regulation, such as mindfulness-based therapies, are critical.
Given the complexity of addictive disorders, the need for a comprehensive approach has become more apparent. Treatment should focus on lifestyle behaviors, emotional and social support, and nutrition, among other things. Integrative and functional medicine provide primary care clinicians with numerous avenues for supporting patients experiencing stress, pain, or addiction.
Stephen Loyd, M.D. Biography
Dr. Stephen Loyd is a graduate of the Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University. He completed his medical residency in Internal Medicine at the same institution. Dr. Loyd currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer of Cedar Recovery, an addiction treatment company headquartered in Mount Juliet, TN. Dr. Loyd is currently a member of the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners as well as serving as a federal expert witness. A nationally recognized thought leader and clinician, Dr. Loyd has decades of experience in internal medicine, mental health, and substance abuse services. His background includes serving as the Medical Director and Assistant Commissioner for Substance Abuse Services with the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Dr. Loyd has been in recovery since July 8, 2004. Experiencing addiction firsthand has allowed him to develop a unique approach to patient care that is passionate, effective, and impactful.
Cedar Recovery Values:
- Love unconditionally
- Forgive habitually
- Demonstrate mercy
Addiction is not a moral failure. We do not use words like “clean” or “dirty” because we know that words kill. We are constantly working to reduce the stigma around addiction with the hope that we can encourage more people to get help and seek treatment. If we are ever going to solve the opioid crisis, we have to start by combating stigma and follow with evidence-based treatment.
The approach at Cedar Recovery helps patients feel better, get better, and stay better. With the use of medication, patients feel better, enabling them to focus on their recovery without cravings. The use of behavioral therapy helps people get better and stay better. This combination of medical and therapy services is an evidence-based approach to addiction medicine, and one that Cedar Recovery believes allows us to best live out our values every day.