New Addiction and Recovery Center Offers Hope to Women With Dual Diagnoses 9

The ARC Takes Multifaceted, Holistic Approach to Recovery

If you or someone you know suffers from an addiction and mental health concerns–called dual diagnoses–you know how difficult it is to find appropriate, effective treatment locally.

A new alcohol and substance abuse treatment and recovery center, housed on the third floor of Valir Rehabilitation Hospital in Oklahoma City, is providing a trusted option for women ready to take the first step in their journey toward recovery.

The ARC (Addiction Recovery Center) is the brainchild of board of directors Jon Jiles, Kitt Wakeley, Dirk O’Hara, Oh Bunnag and CEO Tom Tucker.

“These men, filled with entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to set an example for the community, had–like so many–been touched by the specter of substance abuse, and they wanted to establish a place where superior care would be delivered to those in need of treatment,” said The ARC’s Vice President Amy Woolery.

In researching the issue, the men uncovered a need in this region for a facility dedicated to helping women with substance abuse problems and co-occurring mental health concerns.

“They set out on this adventure to find a space in which to establish an addiction recovery center. It is an adventure that is still evolving as they strive to build upon the continuum of care,” Woolery said. “This is what sets us apart; our board and CEO are extremely active in The ARC. They are a part of day-to-day decision-making, they are on-site frequently, and they know all of the care team and administrators on a first-name basis.”

Plans are ongoing to expand The ARC’s facilities, along with Valir’s other medical services. Groundbreaking has already begun for construction on the north and south sides of the current building.

“We hope to further expand our women’s program, and eventually broaden our scope to offer the same services to men,” Woolery said.

The ARC’s overarching theme is nautical. “We view The ARC as the vessel that will take our patients across troubled waters to a new, happier life,” noted Kimberly Farris, clinical director.

The Facilities

Currently, The ARC can accept up to nine “guests”; each guest enjoys a private bedroom with bed, leather recliner and table for two, and an en suite bathroom.

Each tastefully decorated bedroom features images of landscapes and wall art sporting inspirational quotes, which guests may switch out.

In the family room–the sign reads “Sisters in Recovery–guests are encouraged to gather for mealtimes and socialize, a critical component to recovery. A classroom is used for, among other things, 12-step addiction support group meetings.

Course of Treatment

Dr. Jeff Seaman, The ARC’s medical director and a psychiatrist, calls the “density” of their daily programming schedule “unique in our area, and perhaps unrivaled.”

“The guests at The ARC will be fully engaged in working their sobriety throughout the day and into the evening, leaving little idle time,” he said. “The inpatient unit will also accept guests 24/7/365 if we have a bed available, which is vital for those suffering with substance dependence.

“Once a guest decides on seeking help, any barriers to access for inpatient withdrawal management at that moment will impede their chance for treatment engagement, and they are more likely to remain trapped by their addiction. We will thus accept any hour, any day admissions because that is what it takes to serve this population.”

After the comprehensive assessment, treatment immediately follows.

“Evidence-based detoxification regimens utilizing objective rating scales will be used as well. These regimens have been repeatedly shown to shorten the length of time necessary to complete detoxification as well as avoid over- or under-dosing guests with the medications we use to manage their withdrawal symptoms,” he explained.

“A key component that drives our clinical philosophy is that addiction commonly co-occurs alongside other conditions/disorders,” added Julio Rojas, Ph.D., The ARC’s consultant and a psychologist. “This is particularly true for women. Therefore, it is critical to help our clients (and their family members/support system) understand how those comorbid conditions comingle and encourage them to address these conditions simultaneously while involved in treatment.”

The ARC along with sister company VizOwn are exclusively licensed to use the holistic Venn diagram framework, which Rojas developed and researched.

“The Venn diagram framework provides a visual image of how addiction, psychiatric illness and trauma interact to create suffering, but more importantly, it helps us to work with clients (and family) to create a road map for healing that is truly integrated,” he said, adding that understanding that these conditions commonly co-occur is only one part of the issue.

“The other [part],” he says, “is measuring the severity and relationship between these disorders within each client” through psychological testing. Psychological testing helps clients better understand that their motivation to get sober must be accompanied by an understanding of the comorbid disorders in addition to a well-informed treatment plan.

“No two clients will have the same issues, and personalized care is necessary and possible. While psychological testing can be invaluable for improving diagnostic accuracy, it is not a standard practice in the addictions field.”

The next step is to connect the guest with a patient-centered multidisciplinary team.

“Our programs are intentionally designed to have these key personnel in the same room at the same time partnering with our clients and family members. For many programs assembling a highly specialized and client-centered multidisciplinary team representing medicine, psychiatry, psychology and other key disciplines would be cost-prohibitive,” he noted.

The ARC’s multidisciplinary team also includes a dietitian 
and acupuncturist.

Admittance and Follow-up

Admittance is handled via referrals from emergency rooms, physicians, psychiatrists and licensed behavioral professionals. Upon admittance, each guest receives a biopsychosocial and comprehensive physician and nursing assessment.

Recognizing that addiction is a complex condition–even more so with a co-occurring mental illness–The ARC offers what Farris refers to as “a continuum of care” that generally starts with a tailored withdrawal management program, described above. Upon its successful completion, or “once the anchor starts to lift” to carry the aquatic theme further, guests are encouraged to continue their recovery at a residential or outpatient program.

One such option is VizOwn, an advanced women’s residential treatment and recovery center located in Pink, Oklahoma. VizOwn, The ARC’s sister company, offers a treatment program that incorporates equine-assisted therapy, a ropes course and programs on the 12 steps of recovery on 135 acres of scenic rolling hills.

Finally, Farris said, guests return to The ARC for further treatment and group education in an intensive outpatient setting.

In addition to the staff and physicians cited in this story, The ARC leadership team includes Susan Huffstutler, R.N., M.S.N., M.S., nursing supervisor.

For more information about the ARC, call 405.553.1ARC (1272). The ARC is located at 700 N.W. 7th St., Ste. 321.