How Science is Changing Addiction Treatment

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis completed medical school at The University of Mississippi Medical Center and residency in general psychiatry in 2003. He completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 2005. Following this, he served as Chief Medical Officer for 10 years of Brentwood Behavioral Healthcare a private health system including a 105-bed hospital, residential treatment, and intensive outpatient services.

Our Facility

Admissions Question?

If you find yourself among the millions of people who battle with addiction and want to stop, chances are you have questions as to where to start. We’re here to help.

Until the 1960s, people who had a drug or alcohol addiction were viewed as criminals. It wasn’t until 1971 that the first federally-funded addiction treatment program was offered to struggling addicts. Since those days, addiction treatment has come a long way. Not only is treatment more accessible, but the treatment modalities are much more advanced.

One of the most promising forms of addiction therapy is evidence-based treatment. These therapy programs are built around treatments that have been studied extensively and are proven to help people overcome their addictions. We believe that it’s the most effective way to help clients heal from traumas and transform their lives. 

What is Evidence-based Treatment?

Evidence-based treatment means that a certain approach to therapy has been validated by scientific research, and has been proven to show results. Before a treatment can be considered evidence-based, it must meet a set of rigorous criteria before it can be officially listed in the National Registry for Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP).

Evidence-based therapies must undergo continued testing and show positive results each time. A single study that yields good results isn’t enough to make the official designation. Evidence-based treatment is proven with multiple large-scale randomized controlled trials conducted by independent researchers who aren’t associated with the treatment creators. 

For treatment facilities, there are a number of benefits to choosing an evidence-based approach. On one hand, it helps the facility get accreditation and is a major selling point to potential clients. Additionally, insurance companies are much more likely to work with a treatment facility that uses evidence-based therapy. There’s less risk of a client having an adverse reaction to a certain treatment when it’s been shown to be safe and effective.

The main goal of using evidence-based treatment is to limit the use of unproven, or unsafe treatments. For a client who is dealing with addiction, there is no real benefit in seeking unproven therapy techniques. Addicts are able to recover faster and more effectively when their treatment program involves all or mostly evidence-based modalities.

Types of Evidence-based Treatment

Evidence-based treatment spans far beyond pharmaceuticals. Researchers have found that there are numerous types of therapy that successfully help addicts overcome their addictions and mental health issues. Here are some of the evidence-based treatments available at Defining Wellness.

  1. Medication-assisted therapy

Medication-assisted therapy, also referred to as MAT, is sometimes used to treat people with a serious alcohol or opioid addiction. The client is given a small dose of an FDA-approved medication that normalizes brain chemistry, relieves cravings, and regulates body functions without the harmful effects of narcotics. MAT is always coupled with counseling and behavioral therapy. 

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy

Most of our clients participate in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) during their time in treatment. CBT has been proven to help people with addiction and anxiety rewire their brain, and eliminate harmful thought patterns. One type of CBT is Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), where a client is slowly exposed to their fears and is taught how to cope with those feelings without eliciting a negative or compulsive response.   

  1. Physical health

Physical health is an essential component of addiction recovery. Research has shown that exercise reduces depression and anxiety, and reduces cravings. The food you eat also has an impact on your body’s ability to heal. During addiction recovery, it’s important to eat nutritious meals because the body gets depleted of key vitamins and minerals. At Defining Wellness, all of our clients are set up with a physical fitness and nutrition plan during their time in treatment.

  1. Experiential therapy

Experiential therapy is another evidence-based treatment approach that all clients at Defining Wellness participate in. It’s been proven to successfully treat people with dual diagnosis, addiction, eating disorders, and psychological issues. Experiential therapy has also been shown to help people better identify their emotions. Some examples of experiential therapy at Defining Wellness are psychodrama, animal care, equine therapy, music, art, and play therapy. 

Using Technology to Treat Addiction

Part of our treatment approach to Defining Wellness is using evidence-based technology to help clients overcome their addictions. Our treatment facility is equipped with a state-of-the-art Wellness Lab with technology that has been proven to help the brain develop new neural connections, which regulate emotions.

Using evidence-based therapy alone to treat addiction is incredibly effective. But with the addition of technology, the body is able to accelerate the healing process and create a healthy environment for positive change to occur. We’ve found that a combination of evidence-based therapies and proven wellness technology helps clients get sober and maintain their sobriety for the long term. In our Wellness Lab, you’ll find technology such as:

  • Neurobiofeedback: Neurobiofeedback uses sound and visual feedback to help the brain reorganize and retrain itself to respond to emotions in a more healthy way. 
  • Photobiomodulation therapy: Photobiomodulation therapy uses an infrared LED light to reduce inflammation, repair muscles, and boost energy production.
  • PEMF therapy: PEMF therapy, which stands for Pulsed Electromagnetic Field, recharges cells in the body which allows them to heal more effectively and gives the body more energy to process other therapeutic work.

Addiction is a serious disorder, and it requires professional treatment. At Defining Wellness, we offer evidence-based treatment at our luxury rehab center in Mississippi. Our program caters to high-profile clientele who value privacy and a comfortable treatment experience. We offer a wide range of amenities including a 5-hole golf course, on-site fitness center, chef-cooked meals, massage services, and private cottages for clients during their stay. 

Depending on a client’s needs, we offer medical detox, residential treatment, partial hospitalization, and outpatient program. Our medical concierge team is on-site around the clock, and every client’s case is managed by a board-certified medical doctor.

If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance abuse disorder, treatment is available. We welcome you to contact us at (855) 790-9303 to learn more about enrollment.

Begin your Recovery Today

If you are ready to take the step towards a new life, call Defining Wellness today and learn more about how we can help you.