All too often in the addiction treatment world, the terms dual diagnosis and co-occurring get used as buzz words or marketing tools. Rehabs and treatment centers consistently market themselves as offering dual diagnosis and/or co-occurring treatment when the truth is, they are unable to truly offer that level of care, treatment, and support for patients that have a dual diagnosis or co-occurring issue. This is a dangerous game to play, because when a patient truly needs a program that can support their dual diagnosis or co-occurring diagnosis, the worst place for them to be is an addiction treatment program ill-equipped to handle such issues. 

 

Additionally, as addiction is a complex, chronic medical illness and more and more patients are walking through the doors of addiction treatment facilities needing help for dual diagnosis or co-occurring issues. While years ago, a rehab or treatment center may see some patients with co-occurring issues and others that were, for lack of a better term, “garden variety” alcoholics, it is almost an outlier currently to have a patient receiving care at a rehab that does not meet criteria for having a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder.

 

Individuals that suffer from addiction or substance use disorder also are at a greater risk for dealing with additional medical issues. Many people that suffer from addiction have not taken care of themselves during their addiction, meaning that a chronic medical condition has gone unmanaged, or that they have developed additional physical and other medical ailments due to their addiction. 

 

Therefore, it is imperative that a treatment center have an integrated medical staff into their treatment program, where a patient can not only receive care for their addiction but also receive comprehensive care and support for co-occurring mental or psychiatric issues and other ongoing medical needs.

 

Here at Maryland Addiction Recovery Center, we are proud to provide a full comprehensive medical department to support MARC’s treatment approach and clinical programming. This integrative care model, where our clinical team and medical team collaborate in tandem, offers a full suite of treatment services for MARC patients that not only may be suffering from addiction but also in need of psychiatric care and medical support. 

 

The MARC Medical Team 

 

Alfred Forrester, MD, LFAPA
Medical Director

Dr. Alfred Forrester is a psychiatrist and the Medical Director at MARC. He is board-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Forrester’s received his undergraduate education at Yale University and then graduated from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He went on to complete his internship and residency in Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, followed by a clinical fellowship in Affective Disorders at Hopkins. Dr. Forrester has received academic appointments at Harvard Medical School, the Institute of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 

 

Dr. Forrester said, “An important thing to say about the medical department here at MARC is that we work in a dynamic team approach with the clinical staff and recovery staff. In some facilities, there is one doctor that is onsite very little just for oversight, or there is a medical department that operates independently to just handle medical or psychiatric issues. Here at MARC, we understand that addiction is a complex issue, so all members of the team need to work together to provide the best patient care and treatment experience. Dr. Woodruff and I are intimately involved in each case, attending daily rounds with the clinical team, coordinating care with the primary therapists, and staying informed of any issues a patient is experiencing at both the clinical and community living campus. Our primary objectives are to correctly identify any psychiatric issues and to ensure that patients are receiving up-to-date, evidence-based treatment modalities; and that the psychiatric and medical care is collaborating with the clinical staff to facilitate the patients’ recovery process.”

 

Douglas Woodruff, MD
Staff Psychiatrist

Dr.  Douglas Woodruff is the staff psychiatrist at MARC. A graduate of University of Maryland School of Medicine, Dr. Woodruff completed his psychiatry residency at University of Maryland and has worked in both inpatient and outpatient treatment settings, for both public and private organizations and facilities. He has overseen mental health services for an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), as well as been a staff psychiatrist for Sinai Hospital’s outpatient drug and alcohol treatment program. Dr. Woodruff has a patient for working with patients that have a co-occurring disorder, specifically an ADHD or bipolar disorder diagnoses. He believes that medication is a starting point in recovery, but that medication can only act as a strong foundation upon which therapy and other treatment approaches can build on to allow a patient to experience a true holistic recovery from addiction. 

 

Speaking about MARC, Dr. Woodruff said, “Many patients come to MARC suffering with or dealing with multiple types of co-occurring disorders. Trauma, anxiety, depress, bipolar disorders and other psychiatric conditions. Through therapy and appropriate medications, we need to make sure that these issues are addresses and treated, while also ensuring patients are receiving care for their substance use disorder. These approaches need to work hand-in-hand, so the clinical and medical departments take a cohesive, unified approach to the care of each patient.” 

 

LaShanda Roberts, MSN, BSN, RN, FNP-BC
Nurse Practitioner

LaShanda Roberts received her undergraduate degree from Stevenson University and her master’s degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner from Chamberlain University. She began her career in nursing at Johns Hopkins Hospital and has worked within a variety of nursing roles, including in a hospital setting, home healthcare, case management, and leadership positions. As the Nurse Practitioner at MARC, LaShanda’s primary role is to offer whatever medical care, support, and oversight is needed for each patient during their treatment experience. She handles each patient’s incoming medical assessments and history and physical exams, as well as monitoring and managing their ongoing medical care, including collaboration with outside medical specialists or providers when necessary.

 

LaShanda stated “I tend to our patients when they get sick or if they come to MARC with other medical complications, like an underlying health condition or chronic medical issue.  We want to make sure that when a patient is at MARC and under our care, that we are certainly treating the addiction and the mental health issues they are experiencing, but also help them begin a journey of overall health and wellness. We want them to begin to take preventative health steps in their lives, or make sure that they are appropriately managing any health issues that they may have.”

 

During COVID-19, LaShanda has also stepped up into a vital role within the medical department, handling all patient and staff testing and advising alongside MARC leadership on the implementation and execution of necessary CDC recommended health and safety protocols. 

 

Colleen Waterfield
Medical Services Coordinator

Colleen Waterfield began her journey with Maryland Addiction Recovery Center in 2015, when she began her employment as the very first MARC Therapist Assistant during the creation of the MARC extended care Community Living Treatment program. During her time at MARC, Colleen has also worked as the TA Weekend Supervisor and Alumni Coordinator. Now, as MARC’s Medical Services Coordinator, Colleen operates as the engine of the medical department. This includes internal scheduling for patient appointments with Dr. Forrester, Dr. Woodruff, and LaShanda, and any external scheduling of medical appointments for MARC patients with outside providers or medical specialists. Her role also includes coordination with any laboratories for testing and results, communication with the pharmacy regarding patient medications, and ensuring all medical matters are communicated across all departments within the company. 

 

Speaking about her role at MARC as part of the medical team, Colleen explained, “As the medical services coordinator here at MARC, I work with the patients to schedule all their appointments, both with the MARC medical providers and any outside providers or specialists they may need to see. This can include medical specialists or dental appointments. I also coordinate care for any medical issues that may arise while a patient is at MARC that is outside our medical scope, then facilitate ongoing communication of that case between the outside provider and our medical team here. This type of inter-organizational communication, and inter-agency collaboration, is key in order to deliver patients the highest quality of care.” 

If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorder issues, please give us a call. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive dual diagnosis addiction treatment in the Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (410) 773-0500 or email our team at info@marylandaddictionrecovery.com. For more information on all of our drug addiction, alcohol addiction and co-occurring disorder services and recovery resources, please visit our web site at www.marylandaddictionrecovery.com.

Zach Snitzer is the Corporate Director of Marketing at Maryland Addiction Recovery Center and is responsible for the business development, marketing, branding, public relations and social media strategies of the organization.