The Rose of Lakeview, the women’s addiction treatment center at Lakeview Health, opened its doors for new patients in June 2016. Built on four acres of newly acquired land adjacent to Lakeview’s existing Jacksonville, FL campus, the 54-bed facility provides housing for women in treatment and serves as the location for their detox, medical care, and primary therapy.
The program allows treatment to be completely gender separate, with men being housed and treated in renovated space in the men’s addiction treatment center, the Star of Lakeview.
Gender-responsive addiction treatment for men and women has many advantages. Women typically respond to substances differently than men. For example, they may have more cravings and may be more likely to relapse after treatment. Important physical and psychological differences between the sexes need to be reflected in addiction treatment.
One major contributor to addiction in women is trauma. Many studies have found that between 70 and 90 percent of women in addiction treatment have experienced at least one significant traumatic event in their past, including abuse as a child, domestic abuse, and sexual assault.
Dr. Ellen Ovson is the Medical Director of Lakeview Health. She has been working primarily with female patients at The Rose since she joined Lakeview in July 2017. “It’s been an extremely rewarding experience,” she says. “I have the privilege of working with a really talented, multidisciplinary team. The clinical and medical staff work really well together, and we are able to address all the issues our patients are dealing with: trauma, pain, grief, fitness problems, and others. Lakeview is an all-encompassing treatment center.”
Lakeview Health’s trauma-informed care approach helps women come to terms with their traumatic experiences, which improves their prospects for long-term sobriety. Trauma isn’t the only underlying condition, though. Many patients require dual-diagnosis treatment because they suffer from a mood disorder or mental illness. If a patient presents with depression, it might be the result of a traumatic life event. Some patients will have a genetic predisposition, especially if addiction runs in the family.
Treating addiction and all co-occurring conditions comprehensively pays off for Lakeview Health clients. “My patients do extremely well,” says Dr. Ovson. “It’s too early for specific data on outcomes but I keep in touch with many of my patients after discharge and most of them enjoy a sustained recovery.”
Initially, Dr. Ovson sees her patients every day, so they get a lot of individualized attention. She gets to know the women really well and quickly notices when things are not okay. “Sometimes, patients come and I immediately know something is wrong. Even if they don’t admit it right away, I ask them, ‘Something’s different today. What happened?’ because I realize there is a problem.”
Dr. Ovson is passionate about helping her patients, and she knows all too well what they are going through. She has been in recovery herself for over 20 years. “I can share my own recovery experience with my patients. If they are struggling with something, I know how to help them.”
Lakeview Health designed the women’s facility so that the space itself contributes to the recovery process. “Our residences will not be mistaken for hospital facilities—they feel more like home,” says Ovson. There is a lot of attention to detail. “The first thing I noticed when I started at Lakeview was that the mattresses don’t have uncomfortable plastic covers,” remembers Ovson. “It matters.”
Although Dr Ovson is an experienced addiction professional, she has never worked in a place quite like Lakeview. “This is the best-kept secret in America. No other rehab in the US is nearly as good at addressing all of the needs of the patients or has staff who are this good at what they are doing.”
The integrative health approach at Lakeview goes far beyond the cessation of drug and alcohol misuse. Lakeview’s abstinence-based, comprehensive care addresses the whole self of the patient to ensure a sustained recovery from addiction.
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