Dr. Pylkas to Speak on Addiction

Jan 21, 2013, 18:40 ET from Dr. Anne Pylkas

ST. PAUL, Minn., Jan. 21, 2013  /PRNewswire/ -- Is there a better way to treat addiction? That's what Dr. Anne Pylkas will be talking about during a lecture at Dakota Unitarian Universalist Church in Burnsville on Sunday, January 27 at 10:30 AM. Dr. Pylkas is an internal medicine physician who practices primary care and addiction medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. She also runs her own private practice called Medical Addiction Treatment (MAT) Clinic in Burnsville, which is online at www.matclinicmn.com.

"In a lot of ways, addiction is being treated the same way now as it was sixty years ago," says Dr. Pylkas. "We've learned so much about addiction, how the chemistry of the brain works, and what treatments are most effective, yet most patients don't receive what should be considered the standard of care today."

The problem is immense. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that addiction is more common than heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. This means millions of families face barriers when trying to get their loved ones the care they need. Traditional chemical dependency treatment at a "rehab" center is expensive, often costing tens of thousands of dollars, and insurance rarely covers the full cost. People going through in-patient addiction treatment have to miss work or school and be away from their support networks. The process is expensive, emotionally intrusive and a single stay in treatment rarely leads to long-term sobriety.

Dr. Pylkas advocates for integrating addiction treatment into the mainstream of medical care. "We need to see it the way we see depression or diabetes. They're all chronic diseases that we screen for, diagnose, and treat with evidence-based therapies. There are medications and behavioral treatments that are effective in treating addiction." 

Part of the challenge will be changing the public perception of addiction. A national survey out of Columbia University found a third of Americans still see addiction simply as a lack of willpower or self-control. "Despite evidence to the contrary, our policies and treatments for addiction continue to reflect this view of addiction as a moral failing," says Dr. Pylkas.

The Dakota Unitarian Universalist Church is an inclusive religious community that hosts lectures from professionals in various fields as a way of engaging members and the public in wider conversations. It is located at 135001 County Road 5, Burnsville, MN 55337 and online at www.dakotauu.org.

SOURCE Dr. Anne Pylkas