Healthy You Podcast Episode 6: Addiction

May 03, 2023

Podcast Episodes
Addiction and Substance Abuse

Frankye: From Riverside Health System, this is the Healthy Youth Podcast where we talk about a range of health related topics focused on improving your physical and mental health. We chat with our providers, team members, patients, and caregivers to learn more about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and improve overall physical and mental health.

So let's dive into learn more about becoming a healthier you.

All righty. I'm really excited to have o Omar Peterkin. Join us today on the Healthy You Podcast. Mr. Peterkin works at Riverside Behavioral Health Center and is a nurse practitioner. Mr. Peterkin, tell us a little bit about how you ended up, uh, in your current career as a nurse practitioner and more specifically, um, supporting the behavioral health patient Population.

Omari Peterkin, NP: Sure. So, um, I've been a nurse for, ooh, coming up on eight years, has been, have been a nurse practitioner now for, this is going on year three. Okay. Uh, I've done a wide range of, of, uh, worked as you know, in the nursing field in different specialties. I started out in orthopedics as well as did some behavioral health on the side.

Um, then moved on. Um, the ICU intensive Care unit and worked in the bird trauma ICU for a couple of years while there, um, I think that's when I started to kind of get a hint, an idea of possibly going into the mental health field, seeing a lot of patients who were treated, you know, for their acute.

Injuries, illnesses. And it's almost like, you know, you take care of them, treat them, save their lives, and it's on to the next, um, whatever treatment or part of their lives or care. Um, and a lot of these patients would come in experiencing significant traumas to themselves or family members, whether they're, you know, whatever it may be.

And I always felt like that issue was never fully addressed. So that was kind of a, I think was my first indicator of, you know, possible. wanting to explore the mental health, behavioral health field and what led to me to eventually transferring over to fully owned being in the mental health world.

Frankye: Okay.

I'm a former critical care nurse myself. Okay. So more, my background was more ICU, U ccu, U M I C U, um, and, and those kinds of things. So, we're kindred spirits as go as it relates to our nursing background. Okay. So, we're going to be talking. today about addiction and substance abuse. Mm-hmm.. Um, and this subject is really near and dear to my heart.

Um, I think we all have individuals that we know, or even family members that have struggled with addiction and substance abuse. So, I want to talk to you a little bit today around when we hear the phrase as addiction and substance abuse. What does that really.

Omari Peterkin, NP: So, addiction and substance abuse, um, those two words are fairly, are used, you know, very frequently in the world today, especially in the behavioral health field.

And they can kind of be intermixed among each other. Addiction is almost seen, you know, in my eyes, almost seen as like, A relapsing type of disorder. It is, you know, and a lot of people, you know, see it, they don't, you know, see it as, you know, people want to see a lot of people see, you know, uh, a, uh, you know, a, a diagnosis, right?

You know, whether it be like heart failure, head injury, trauma, whatever it may be. Addiction is its own type of diagnosis and, you know, form of. in its own way. Right. Um, and it's almost like a relapsing, um, disorder where people who, you know, may be trying to seek out, you know, whether it be a certain something that doesn't necessarily have to be a substance.

People can be addicted to numerous things. You can be addicted to your food, right. To your phone. Right. So, it's a constant., um, it's almost like a relapsing disorder of using, you know, whether it be a certain substance, um, addicted to you, like you said, a certain food, whatever it may be. Behavior that's repetitive and repetitive and repetitive.

And that can be difficult to stop, address and even treat sometimes. Right.

Frankye: Would you expand a little bit more? You know, I hear. chemical reactions. Mm-hmm. and, and things like that. So, can you talk a little bit about that as it relates to addiction?

Omari Peterkin, NP: Sure. Um, you know, and even substance

abuse. Yeah. So, substance abuse, addiction, um, you know, people may address it as, you know, whether they may be some form of, you know, type of chemical imbalance.

Um, the way we see it as is, you know, when we're treating, you know, patients or people who may be suffering from addictions or certain level of substance abuse is, you know, they may be. You know, seeking, you know, specifically in substance abuse, they may be seeking alternative gains from using a substance repetitively.

So, whether it be, you know, any type of drug, illicit drug substance, or even, you know, substances that are over their counter. Medications and using it, you know, repetitively or for, um, incentive or ulterior motives as opposed to what that medication may normally be used for. Right. When we see that at an intense level or at a level that becomes out of control, right?

That's when we have concerns for. addiction, substance abuse, and, you know, may consider that person for some level of treatment that may be necessary.

Frankye: Okay? Mm-hmm. that, that's great information. Mm-hmm., what about. it being, uh, hereditary. Mm-hmm. or, you know, some people being concerned that they have strong family history of this.

Mm-hmm. Um, and can you talk a little bit about that.

Omari Peterkin, NP: and yeah. So, there are, um, lots of studies and evidence that shows, um, lots of risk factors that are evident. Out there, you know, in the world and based on studies that, um, if direct family members or there's a history in the family of say, uh, you know, a person's parent or you know, their.

uh, father, mother may be abusing a certain substance, you know, primarily one known as alcohol, right? Alcohol abuse. Right. Um, that can be, you know, there's lots of studies that show that, you know, it runs in the family with genetics. There is a chance of, you know, if a, a child or even adult, whatever it may be, is around.

type of lifestyle influenced by that or seeing that, or you know, there is significant family history, there is a percentage chance of that offspring, that child, that family member potentially, you know, displaying some of those symptoms or having similar abuse, you know, risk factors. Right.

Frankye: Are you seeing an increase in substance abuse and addiction?

Um, currently.

Omari Peterkin, NP: Definitely, yes. Okay. There's been, you know, lots of increases. I think for sure, it's become more prominent, obviously with C Covid, you know, the Coronavirus Pandemic people being in their homes, right? Isolated. Right. Obviously along with the numerous amounts of mental health disorders that have been almost brought to light, right?

People are seeing people who are depressed, and I think it's a. Of, you know, the mental health disorders as well as the substance abuse disorders. You know, people, you know, resorting to substances, alcohol, drugs, marijuana, whatever it may be., excuse me. Mm-hmm. There was definitely an increase.

Frankye: Have some water.

Omari Peterkin, NP: Um, thank you.

definitely increase. Um, with the, you know, coronavirus pandemic that we saw in regard to, you know, substances being used and, you know, a necessary, you know, necessity for more treatment. Right.

Frankye: I've also heard that rural areas sometimes can be plagued. Mm-hmm. with addiction and substance abuse. Substance abuse.

So, to hear you kind talk about the pandemic, which isolated us in the same ways that rural communities have less activity mm-hmm. and are more isolated., um, can you talk a little bit about that or is there any association? Um,

Omari Peterkin, NP: I would say that to those areas as well. Yeah. You know, there's possibly definitely, you know, increase in the rural areas, um, in regard to, you know, possible substance abuse and the increased numbers of, you know, people out there that are abusing substances.

Um, You know, obviously we see, uh, a large population of, you know, homeless people as well. We see, um, you know, a mixture of people who are experimenting with different substances. You know, different substances are being introduced to the, you know, population. Um, uh, a big thing this past summer with us that we saw was a spike in, um, substances that are being laced.

Right? You know, like marijuana being. And we have adolescents, adults, a mixture of, you know, populations that are coming in and, you know, they may be, you know, chronic users of a certain substance. For example, marijuana. and they go to use a substance that, you know, whether it's beknownst or unbeknownst to them, that's laced, and they have their first psychotic episode.

Right. And that can be very scary, very intimidating. Not only to the person who's using the substance, but also their family members, their loved ones, and those surrounding them. Right. Right.

Frankye: Mm-hmm. Wow., um, great information. Mm-hmm., um, what would you, as our listeners are listening, uh, today, what would you suggest if they know someone or may be struggling with addiction or substance abuse themselves?

Omari Peterkin, NP: Um, so it can be very, it can be very cha First of all, it's very, right. You know, it can be very scary. It can be very challenging. Um, you know, for, especially if it's like one of their loved ones who they care for. They are used to knowing them and possibly even seeing them in a light or a manner that.

They're not seeing now, you know, with them being under the influence of substances, um, dealing with that level of addiction. So, I would say, you know, it's definitely important to have an open, what we call a therapeutic mindset, where, you know, try to remain as calm as you can with the person, as patient as you can with that person or loved one.

and you know, from your own aspect of care. I think it's important to educate yourself as much as you can on what your loved one may be going through experiencing with their level of addiction, whether it be to alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, whatever the substance is, it's important to. Be open, be as therapeutic as possible to educate yourself.

And you know, once I feel as if you have a certain level of education on whatever substance that you know, whatever substance they're addicted to, abusing or using, um, to do your best to sit down and have that open dialogue, right, communication. , educate them if you can, because they might be the only person that you, that you know, they might be more obviously more comfortable listening to you, you know, their loved one as opposed to, you know, a stranger, whoever it may be.

And. Provide them and educate them on choices, options of what they can do to help them with treatment. Um, you know, try to identify in obviously the most caring and therapeutic way. How have you noticed that you know, these substances are possibly impacting your life? Are you seeing these major changes?

And, you know, they may be unaware as you know, what's going. How it's affecting them, which usually can be the case with, you know, addiction and substance abuse.

Frankye: Okay. If they're struggling, um, navigating that themselves. Mm-hmm., are there resources within Riverside Behavioral Health Hospital that can help support them from an outpatient perspective or even an inpatient treatment aspect?

Omari Peterkin, NP: Yes, so we have pretty much all levels of care, um, for the most part, um, from an inpatient standpoint. Um,, those patients who may be suffering from, you know, severe or significant substance abuse, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, whatever it may be. Um, we do provide inpatient detox program where they may stay there for, you know, a certain number of days.

They're provided, you know, a safe you. Care environment where they're being checked on, you know, for their safety. We provide groups where they do a mixture of group therapy, individual therapy. Um, they may be able to meet also with a substance abuse counselor and therapist who specialize in substance abuse treatment.

Um, we also have case management, case managers who are present that can help, right. Coordinate those next levels and steps of care to help prioritize. Okay. And we meet together as a team, right? And decide, hey, you know, and if the patient is obviously open to it too, because  they have to be on board. Um, might this patient benefit from a long-term type of hospital?

at like a rehab. Right. Uh, which unfortunately we don't have. Right. We have the connections to help get them set up to help navigate them. Exactly. We also have patient resources. Yeah. We also have, um, php, which is like a partial hospitalization program, which I would say is like the next step down from inpatient hospitalization where patients can come, I think it's five, about five days a week, Monday through Friday, and it's, excuse me, half.

It's like a six-hour program all throughout the day. Right, right. Um, where they get a lot of similar treatment. Okay. Um, therapy. Medication management, they can meet with a pharmacist case manager. So, they get a full, you know, around the clock treatment. And then there is our, um, iop, which is our intensive outpatient program, right.

Which is more suitable for like, you know, the person who's working and you know, they come, you know, a couple of days a week, still able to meet with the groups. Counselors, therapists, case managers, get medication management. and it's, you know, o overall level of care treatment to help point them in the right direction.

Right. Throughout the course of their, their treatment.

Frankye: It sounds like there's a coordinated effort. Yes. Um, and it's individualized. Mm-hmm. the patient center as to which transition level would be appropriate. So that's really good. Mm-hmm. that they have, you know, those resources because I, I'm, I'm sure that it's challenging, um, and that, um, there may, it may take several.

visits, is that correct? To really overcome, you know, addiction and substance.

Omari Peterkin, NP: abuse? Yes. Usually it's, you know, takes multiple, you know, courses and, you know, treatments throughout, you know, like you said, each person's plan of care is individualized, right? So, it's. Assessed each time they visit and, you know, go, you know, it's reviewed with, um, that substance abuse counselor too as well, and the treatment team, you know, to, to gauge, okay, how is this patient doing in regards to their treatment and their overall hopeful level of sobriety and functioning, right?

Frankye: Mm-hmm., I would think the benefit of, of participating in a formalized program in a transition of care is that there can be physiological symptoms. Mm-hmm.. Related to, um, detoxification. Can you talk a little bit about that? Because some things, you know, I think some people think that they can do it on their own.

Mm-hmm. or within their own, you know, family space or friend support. So, could you talk a little bit about the benefit of a more formalized, um, program such as detoxification?

Omari Peterkin, NP: Sure. And you know, I can tag in on along the lines. , you know, when a family member or a person who was going through, you know, substance abuse, addiction and even, you know, say they want to try to detox on their own right, which can be very worrisome and even very dangerous at times, and you can tell if a person too is suffering from really significant.

substance abuse or addiction issues, if they don't have that insight into saying, hey, you know, I actually need that type of treatment. Right. Or do or don't think that they can do it on their own. Right. As opposed to, you know, coming in and getting treatment from licensed professionals. Mm-hmm.. So, um,, I apologize.

Frankye: That was, that, was that you, you answered my question. I apologize. Your question,. You answered my question. Okay. Okay, great. Great information. And then also a little, I would like for you to talk a little bit about the stigma. Mm-hmm. that's associated with addiction. Mm-hmm., um, and substance abuse, um, and how challenging that can be.

Mm-hmm. and really impact someone coming forward. Mm-hmm.. due to feeling, you know, due to feeling they may be judged. Mm-hmm.. Um, and so I know that there are some hotlines and some other ways that they can access information. Um, While, while, while, um, keeping their, an anonymity. Right.

Omari Peterkin, NP: Yeah. So, there are numerous hotlines, you know, that are available, you know, for people who are, you know, dealing with addiction, substance abuse, um, issues that you can keep your, you know, anonymous and so forth.

Right, right. Um, I feel that, you know, stigma in general, always been around. It will always be around, um, you know, just based on society in general and how people look at things, how they assess things and are judgmental on different topics. Um, I feel that we're starting to make a dent into stigma. I think specifically like I like to bring up the Coronavirus pandemic, right?

And all of these, you know, mental health outcry and outbreaks and people around the world are trying, you know, are starting to have that understanding that, hey, mental health is real. Right. You know, people deal with it on a daily basis. Mm-hmm. and it. Okay. To not be okay, you know? Right. It's, it's, it is.

Okay. And it's important to reach out, you know, for that level of help. Um, you know, we do our best over, I believe, at, at Riverside Behavioral to help address and, you know, at, I would say, I don't like to say the word attack, but. Help to decrease stigma, right? Because it's there specifically in that substance abuse profile type of patient, right?

A lot of people, and I can, you know, tell you, you know, the different things that people say, you know, in general you'll hear those negative, you know, derogatory words. Oh, you know, they're just a crack head, right? They're just, you know, an alcoholic that hurts, you know, themselves or hurts others. Um, they just want to do this, say that so they can go out and, you know, get high, get their substance, and get high.

And those are common. You. words and that, that all builds into stigma right there because it sets them aside and it makes the person who may be going through those hard times and resorting to substances feel even more alienated. Right? So, it's important, you know, as providers, as people educating the public on.

People who are going through substance abuse are human too. Everyone has their own issues. Absolutely. Absolutely. In every type of way, people may cope differently. And a lot of people who are, you know, experiencing substance abuse that sometimes is their way of coping with hiding whatever it is they're going through.

Underlying trauma, underlying abuse, um, underlying stressors at work, whatever it may.. It's about teaching them, educating them, and all that combined together I think is going to help to overall potentially decrease that level of stigma, but most importantly, continue to provide that high level of care that's necessary for people out there who are suffering, and most importantly, those who are suffering in.

Frankye: silence.

Right? Mm-hmm., that is so important. Don't judge because you never know what someone has been through mm-hmm., um, and why they're in that situation. I just want to thank you and I applaud your commitment, um, to support, um, our community and the patients that we serve. As we continue, I feel like we're in the battlefield and we're combating, uh, addiction and substance abuse.

Mm-hmm. . Um, so thank you very much. So if we have someone listen, Who may be struggling with addiction or substance abuse, or knows someone who's struggling with that, what would you say to them as we close out the this podcast?

Omari Peterkin, NP: I would say that I think it's, if you are, you know, have a loved one out there, or if you yourself are suffering, um, first of all, I would like to say it's, it's.

and you're not going to hear this a lot from a lot of people, but it's okay, first of all to feel the way that you are feeling. Um, and at the same time, it's also extremely important to take those next steps, you know, to figure out what you can do to get help, to reach out. Help is readily available. , um, you know, definitely here at Riverside Behavioral, I know there's a lot of services that we can provide, um, to people and we provide them on a daily basis.

Um, so I would say reach out, you know Yes. To the help that is, that is readily available for you. Yes. And to not feel any sense of shame about it. It actually shows and displays a sense of power more so than shame. Absolutely. For. To be able to look yourself in the mirror or to be able to speak to your loved one, to show your loved one that you do love and care for them by getting them that essential help that they may need.

Frankye: All right. Thank you, . The information has been invaluable, um, and I know we will reach many. Um, and, um, um, thank you

Omari Peterkin, NP: again. Awesome. Thank you for having me. .

Frankye: Thank you for listening to this episode of Healthy Youth. We're so glad you were able to join us today and learn more about this topic. If you would like to explore more, go to

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