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Addiction Medicine

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  • ASAM - American Society of Addiction Medicine
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Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.
Prevention efforts and treatment approaches for addiction are generally as successful as those for other chronic diseases.
Download ASAM’s definition of addiction here:
Dr. Leslie H. Secrest | Medical Director/Psychiatrist
“Addiction medicine integrates the knowledge of the neuroscience of addiction with the knowledge of the phases of addiction treatment.”
Dr. Leslie Secrest, Medical Director

Addiction Medicine at Burning Tree Ranch

Nine years before Burning Tree Ranch was founded, Addiction Medicine was developing as a widely recognized medical subspecialty. Later, in 2016, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) officially identified addiction medicine as a distinct medical subspecialty under the American Board of Preventive Medicine.
Since 1999, Burning Tree Ranch has utilized addiction medicine to aid in the diagnosis, treatment and recovery of persons with the disease of addiction.

Chronic Relapse & Mental Health

When someone who suffers from chronic relapse qualifies for the Ranch, they have often been diagnosed with an underlying mental health disorder. Sometimes, they are prescribed medications. Sadly, the chronic relapser, given the disruptive nature of their addiction, often fails to take their prescribed medications consistently. In many cases, they may let medication refills lapse, or neglect following up with a provider altogether. At Burning Tree Ranch, we understand that establishing a foundation in sobriety is the very first thing that must happen. Afterall, pharmaceutical and clinical interventions are not effective when the patient is actively using, relapsing, and engaged in behaviors that adversely affect the prescribed treatment plan. Interrupting the active addiction offers our clients the opportunity to be evaluated and assessed outside of their using patterns. This promotes a more realistic, baseline view of the chronic relapser, and enables us to determine more clearly what the co-occurring disorders are, if any.

At Burning Tree Ranch, we commingle several therapeutic interventions, evaluations, and assessments before arriving at diagnostic conclusions. If it becomes apparent that addiction is intricately enmeshed with a mental health disorder, the client will work closely with our addiction medicine team to develop a proper treatment plan.

Burning Tree Identifies the Big Picture Using Addiction Medicine

If a patient receives a diagnosis for a mental health disorder, the addiction medicine team at Burning Tree Ranch will ensure the correct medication and treatment protocols are administered. However, with the goal of a proper diagnosis, it is imperative to start at a baseline. The goal is to see the big picture and determine what is really going on by offering intensive individual therapy in conjunction with medication management, when needed. Many treatment centers simply offer medications as an answer to perceived mental health diagnosis without sufficient exploration of the patient’s history, symptoms, and post-acute withdrawal symptoms. In other words, they miss the big picture.
Part of the reason other treatment centers do not diagnose properly is lack of time. This is one of the many reasons Burning Tree Ranch chooses to be an authentic long-term treatment center. Time allows us to properly diagnose the chronic relapser and get them the treatment they desperately need to live a life of excellence beyond sobriety.
Burning Tree recognizes the need for intensive, individualized care and accepts that mental health and addiction treatment takes time. Since 1999, Burning Tree has worked to address the unique mental and emotional needs of the chronic relapser.

Removing Manipulation from Medication Management

Often people who suffer from chronic relapse and substance use disorder have sought medication from doctors in an attempt to change the way they feel. Some addicted persons are able to dictate what medications they receive and manipulate doctors to get what they want. Most have done this in the midst of active addiction, or during brief interludes of abstinence.
At Burning Tree Ranch, we don’t let our clients play doctor.
We have a well-trained, highly credentialed staff of professionals who determine proper diagnoses, treatment plans, and medication management when and where appropriate.

Types of Therapies at Burning Tree Ranch

The Burning Tree Ranch treatment team utilizes dialectical behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapies and support groups in conjunction with addiction medicine to craft real-time, tailored therapy plans for every client.

As our website suggests, Burning Tree takes an integrated treatment approach to addressing the dual diagnosis needs of each client. Rather than focusing on the sequential treatment of chemical dependency and mental disorders, we address the entire person and all their needs in one setting, during one treatment episode. Our team members understand the concept of chemical dependency as a primary disease, while recognizing that untreated psychiatric disorders are a contributing factor to relapse.

find recovery,
not just sobriety



LMSW, LCDC | Counselor
Kristina Robertson serves as Counselor at Burning Tree Ranch. Holding both a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Social Work, Kristina’s greatest joy is “watching our clients learn to love themselves again.” An avid equestrian, mother to twenty-one horses, and all-around animal lover, Kristina serves as a bright shining example of long-term recovery in action. Her commitment to whole person health: mental, physical, emotional and spiritual makes her an invaluable member of the Burning Tree Ranch clinical team. As a distinguished Phi Theta Kappa and Alpha Zeta member, Kristina believes deeply in each client’s pursuit of becoming their best selves.

"who is a burning tree client?"

Beth Legacki, Burning Tree Ranch Alumni