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Mental illness and addiction: often hand in hand

Boston Medical Center | 11/17/2017, 6 a.m.

BMC is the largest and busiest emergency department in New England, and serves more than 130,000 patients each year. The psychiatric team plays a pivotal role in both the Psychiatric Emergency Department and the general Emergency Department. They manage people in crisis, evaluate patients and determine the most appropriate treatment plan and level of care for patients with co-occurring disorders.

The Consult and Liaison team is available 24 hours a day and provides services where needed. The team offers psychiatry and substance use consultation to inpatients on medical and surgical floors, those receiving dialysis, transplant patients and outpatient medical and surgical cases.

The Grayken Center for Addiction was developed to provide expertise in three areas: treatment, training and prevention, and research. Clinical leaders in the Department of Psychiatry are key members and represent expertise in child and adolescent psychiatry, clinical studies and training. Michael Botticelli, the Executive Director, was clear on the Center’s commitment to the treatment of those with dual diagnosis, and cited the CATALYST program for adolescents and young adults as an example of that expertise.

“A significant percentage of people with a substance use disorder also have a co-occurring mental health disorder. This is particularly true with adolescents and young adults,” he explained. “In order to achieve positive outcomes, both issues must be treated since only dealing with one can lead to high rates of disengaging from treatment and high relapse rates.”