Navigating the Seas of Addiction and Recovery with Dr. Kerry King, Vice President of Clinical Services at RCA
Authored by Ken Redmile
On Saturday, April 3, 2021, John Demasi, host of South Jersey radio show Talk With A Purpose, hosted Dr. Kerry King, Vice President of Clinical Services at RCA, as part of his ongoing series Fighting the Opioid Epidemic.
In an engaging discussion, Dr. King recounted various structures of substance abuse disorder and its treatment.
Demasi dove into the conversation asking if there are any recent innovations to addiction treatment at RCA. In response, Dr. King pointed to WorkFlex,™ a new treatment enhancement service, offered at RCA at Lighthouse, which allows patients to maintain work and school obligations while at the inpatient rehab facility—stressing that this has been of particular help to business owners in treatment themselves in the South Jersey area.
Correcting the misconception that addiction is a mark of a bad character choosing destructive behavior, rather than a disease in need of treatment, Dr. King underscored the ways that substance abuse operates on brain and behavior. From thinking, planning, delayed gratification, reward and motivation, she explained how the brain locks onto behaviors that deliver pleasure.
To which Demasi replied, “I’ve never heard an explanation like that,” highlighting how thorough it was.
At this point, RCA at Lighthouse CEO Dawn Belamarich made a surprise call into the show, asking Dr. King to elaborate on the ways that RCA helps patients overcome the difficulties she described in dealing with delayed gratification.
When patients’ brains learn that a substance will blunt a feeling, they become afraid of the full experience of that emotion, fearing that they lack the capacity to endure it, Dr. King noted. But through the treatment provided by on-site specialists, they learn that feelings “crest and fall like waves,” developing skills around grounding, motivation and the knowledge that they can survive with support—an “experience that can be game changing” in a life of recovery.