Expert Interview: Kimberly Dennis, MD.

This weeks expert is Kimberly Dennis, MD., Medical Director at Timberline Knolls Recovery Center. A member of the American Society for Addiction Medicine and the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, Dr. Dennis specializes in the treatment of substance, drug and behavioral addictions, topics on which she has previously served as a national source. She also has extensive experience offering intensive outpatient treatment for families and adolescents with addictions and compulsive behaviors outside of her work at Timberline Knolls.

This post is meant to run in conjunction with our previous post about the cocktail playdate. Today’s interview will focus more on the treatment side.


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What are the statistics in regards to stay at home parents and addiction?

We don’t know of any national stats at this time.

What addiction seems to be most common for this group?

Alcoholism (wine very common, sometimes under the guise of being wine club members). Less common but significant is marijuana and prescription medications (narcotic pain meds, sleeping meds, anxiety meds like ativan or xanax).

At what point should a person seek treatment?

The earlier the better, many times with the population of women who are stay at home moms, treatment is sought at the point of intervention prompted by a concerned family member (husband, parents, close friends)

What should their family and friends be looking out for?

Changes in mood, social isolation, missing appointments, unable to attend to usual responsibilities at home, increased importance of alcohol in the home and at social gatherings, defensiveness when others comment about her relationship with alcohol/drugs

What does treatment for addiction include? How long could it take?

A team approach that addresses all aspects of the woman and all aspects of the disease–physical, emotional, social, spiritual therapies; 12-step facilitation for the patient and her family (AA and Alanon respectively); family therapy component; and experiential therapies benefit long-term recovery; treatment usually is longer term at some level of care (inpt, RTC, outpatient, recovery homes) 12 months to several years and even longer for maintenance support.

What should family and friends be prepared for during and after treatment?

Commitment of time, energy, money to the recovery process for the patient and family members; patience for the changes that take time; be prepared to look at themselves and how they might be roped into the disease, how they may be addicted to other sorts of behavior patterns or relationship patterns; long term and active membership in the 12step recovery community (AA, NA, Alanon, Families Anonymous)

What are some online resources family and friends can use?

Timberline Knolls’ Web site (www.timberlineknolls.com), NIDA website, AA world service office website, Alanon World service office website.

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What are your thoughts?

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