The Doctor’s Opinion –

May 18, 2018 – Dr. James Thompson leans in as the woman sitting on the couch in his office shares her story. As an addiction specialist, every day he examines why it happens, how to stop it and who it affects. “This epidemic, this opioid epidemic is so huge, it has created a new sub-specialty in medicine, if you will,” Thompson says. Thompson, who founded the Virginia Center for Addiction Medicine (VCAM) in 2016, says getting hooked is about physical and mental health.

According to VCAM, it is the first multi-disciplinary clinic in the region to treat all factors of addiction, including genetic predisposition, co-occurrence of mental health issues, trauma experiences, environmental circumstances as well as the drug itself. “Every person is born with an internal score card, and score enough points in the course of your life and you will develop the disease,” Thompson explains. “Getting physically clean is the easier part of the journey. The sense of shame, the sense of embarrassment, the sense of failure is crippling for a lot of people, paralyzes them into continuing to suffer when they don’t need to. If they could in anyway choose not to have the illness anymore, they would.”

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