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Why Effective Collaboration Between Primary Care and Addiction Treatment Providers Is Crucial

Medical services provided to addiction treatment clients.

Addiction is a complex disease, requiring a concerted treatment effort involving patients, their family members, and their primary care providers. According to the American Psychiatric Association, a “substance use disorder (SUD) is a complex condition in which there is uncontrolled use of a substance despite harmful consequences. […] People with a substance use disorder may have distorted thinking and behaviors. Changes in the brain’s structure and function are what cause people to have intense cravings, changes in personality, abnormal movements, and other behaviors. Brain imaging studies show changes in the areas of the brain that relate to judgment, decision-making, learning, memory, and behavioral control.”

That means, people suffering from a substance use disorder often navigate complex health challenges, sometimes exacerbated by a reluctance to seek treatment due to the impaired judgment mentioned above. At The Blanchard Institute, integrated medical services are designed to provide comprehensive primary care within the supportive environment of our recovery programs. This innovative approach ensures that as you embark on your journey to wellness, your physical health is cared for alongside your recovery.

A severe substance use disorder is far more complex than the simple consumption of drugs and alcohol. In his comprehensive 2022 historical overview of addiction, The Urge, Carl Erik Fisher emphasizes that addiction is not primarily about substances. “Addiction does not proceed inevitably from use. Most people who use drugs—including crack, methamphetamine, and heroin—do not develop significant problems. In studies spanning decades, no more than 10 to 30 percent of people who use drugs develop significant substance use disorders. Drugs are not ‘addictive’ in themselves; they don’t cause addictions in isolation.”

Fisher echoes Maia Szalavitz’s conclusion in her influential 2016 book Unbroken Brain: “By itself, nothing is addictive; drugs can only be addictive in the context of set, setting, dose, dosing pattern, and numerous other personal, biological, and cultural variables. Addiction isn’t just taking drugs. It is a pattern of learned behavior.”

Consequently, effectively treating addiction requires a comprehensive effort. Founder and CEO Ward Blanchard wanted the institute to be more than just another treatment clinic. “Right from the start, we knew our three main customers were going to be identified patients, their families, and professionals. That’s how we came up with the institute concept.”

If you’re a psychologist, medical doctor, or other provider treating a patient with a SUD or other mental health issues, Blanchard would like to work with you to help your patient.

Our approach to medical services is rooted in the understanding that recovery from addiction involves the whole person, including their physical well-being. The benefits of receiving medical care at The Blanchard Institute include:

Holistic health assessments
Regular check-ups and health screenings tailored to the needs of individuals in recovery, considering direct and indirect impacts of substance misuse on physical health.

Seamless coordination with recovery programs
As you progress through our levels of care, from partial hospitalization to outpatient programs, your healthcare plan evolves with you, ensuring consistency and comprehensive support.

Access to specialized treatments
For conditions directly related to or exacerbated by substance use, our team provides targeted treatments and referrals to specialists when necessary.

Why Choose Integrated Medical Services at The Blanchard Institute?

Our medical professionals specialize in understanding and treating the specific health concerns associated with substance misuse and recovery, providing care that primary care physicians may not be able to offer.

We offer compassionate care in a safe treatment space free from the stigma often associated with the disease of addiction, and we are encouraging openness and honesty about health concerns. We focus on long-term wellness strategies, integrating physical healthcare with your recovery process.

Every team member at The Blanchard Institute is committed to providing your client with the exceptional, comprehensive care they need to overcome a substance use disorder and move on toward a new and fulfilling life. 

The Blanchard Institute cultivates a safe, comfortable environment for clients and their families across North Carolina. Our recovery management and alumni programs support a life-long recovery. 

Our admissions process is discrete and confidential. Call us at (704) 288-1097—our experienced admissions specialists will guide you through the process and treat you with the dignity and compassion you deserve.

Ready to take the next step?