Biomedical Psychiatry & Addictions

One of the most powerful tools we can give our patients is knowledge about their illnesses. We offer several opportunities to interact with experts in the areas of mental illness and addictions. Often, patients are unclear about how they came to have an illness, what they can expect from their care, how medication helps, and alternatives for treatment. At The Retreat, we hope to make our patients thoughtful and educated participants in their care.

Addictions Group

The Retreat holds a weekly group for residents who face a co-occurring mental and addictions disorder.

The group, comprised only of residents from The Retreat, is designed to assess and promote the level of motivation necessary to:

• Work on addiction behaviors
• Identify and reflect on the impact of the addiction
• Engage in a process of self-diagnosis
• Discuss and prepare for triggers and difficult environments
• Learn coping skills

The learnings from this group align nicely with the DBT skills learned at The Retreat, often leading to a successful stay.

Alcohol Education Lecture Series

Because The Retreat is located on Sheppard Pratt Health System’s main campus in Towson, Maryland, residents are able to participate inaffiliated programs also held on campus, such as the Alcohol Education Lecture Series presented by the Kolmac Clinic and Dick Prodey, M.A.
Residents participating in The Retreat’s biomedical psychiatry and addictions group therapy track are encouraged to attend this eight week series, which focuses on topics such as:

• Alcohol and alcoholics
• The disease
• Signs and symptoms
• Dynamics of dependency
• Recovery
• Attitudes
• Addiction
• The family illness

Each topic is presented independently, so residents are able to join the series at any time.

Biomedical Psychoeducation

We believe that education is one of the most powerful tools patients can use to combat their illness. Biomedical psychoeducation provides a weekly opportunity to interact with members of our psychiatric staff, including the director of Sheppard Pratt’s research program, in a question and answer session about the biological and diagnostic issues of psychiatric care. Some of past topics selected by The Retreat residents have included:

• Genetics of psychiatric illness
• How medications or devices work
• Difference between a mood disorder and a personality disorder

Psychiatric diagnosis and treatment can be complicated and confusing. Our goal is to provide our patients with a thoughtful perspective based on the latest information provided by the director of Sheppard Pratt Health System’s Research Program.

Individual Addictions Counseling

A specialized addictions counselor meets with each resident struggling with addiction. These sessions, held weekly, are used to assess the nature of the resident’s relationship to alcohol and/or other drugs, as well as to educate and motivate the resident along their path to recovery. These meetings are and customized to the resident’s particular needs, and can be therapeutic, educational, or motivational in nature. The addictions counselor works together with the resident’s primary therapist and is a critical, ongoing part of the treatment team.

Self-Help Groups

Alcoholics Anonymous holds meetings several times each day on Sheppard Pratt’s Towson campus. Residents struggling with addictions are strongly encouraged to attend these meetings, as well as meetings of Narcotics Anonymous or Al-Anon when appropriate. Self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Al-Anon are considered to be extremely helpful throughout the recovery and healing process.

Weekend Attending Meetings

On Sunday mornings, residents may meet with the attending psychiatrist on call and a member of the nursing staff to review group and individual progress, questions, and concerns. Additionally, the group plans the activities for the upcoming day. The attending psychiatrist is also available to discuss any changes to a resident’s medications or treatment plan that are required over the weekend.