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Ask Our Medical Director: Part 2

Earlier this month, we launched a brand new series: “Ask Our Medical Director”, featuring the expertise of Dr. José Calderón-Abbo, M.D. FASAM.

In this series, Dr. Calderón will be addressing frequently asked questions about addiction psychiatry, providing invaluable insights and guidance. Here’s the second question:

How do you approach the balance between addressing immediate issues and working on long-term recovery goals?

To find a balance between immediate needs and long-term recovery goals, we categorize issues into three buckets:

  1. Urgent Care: This includes issues that require immediate attention due to their severity or risk. Examples include opioid use disorders needing MAT to prevent death, severe cravings, insomnia, moderate-severe pain, recurrent panic attacks, psychosis, mania, suicidal tendencies with moderate to severe risk, unstable angina, uncontrolled seizure disorders, early labor in pregnancy, homelessness, and other critical concerns.
  2. Priority Attention: These are issues that need to be addressed promptly but are not immediately life-threatening. This may involve treating co-occurring moderate to severe conditions, applying for benefits such as SSD or Medicaid, or transitioning to a different job from a high-risk environment like bartending to something more stable.
  3. Future Focus: These are issues that are important for long-term recovery but may not require immediate action. This could involve finding a new meaningful job, adjusting to a recovery-focused lifestyle, and other goals that can be achieved within the next 6-12 or 18 months.

By using tools like the ASAM 6 dimension assessment and LOCUS/CALOCUS, we can identify and prioritize symptoms, including social determinants of health, to ensure a holistic approach to treatment planning.

Stay tuned for more insightful answers from Dr. José Calderón-Abbo, M.D. FASAM, in our upcoming posts!

Healthcare Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute the offering of medical advice or professional services. The information provided should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, and those seeking personal medical advice should consult with a licensed physician.

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