By Charmain Z. BrackettNovember 6, 2009
In the Army, it's sometimes a rare thing to see the fruition of a project you worked on from the beginning.
On Monday, however, Retired Brig. Gen. Donald Bradshaw, former commanding general of Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center and the Southeastern Regional Medical Command, did just that.
"Two years ago, we started talking about this at a behavioral health session at MEDCOM," said Bradshaw at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the residential treatment facility on the 12th floor at Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center.
The treatment center provides intensive inpatient treatment for active duty personnel with substance abuse and addiction problems. A similar program had been in place, but it was shut down in the 1990s in favor of outpatient treatment.
Statistics on service members returning from the war on terrorism prompted another look at a residential facility, said Bradshaw.
Twenty-five percent of Soldiers admitted to being heavy drinkers; 35 percent has psychological distress. Also, patients with traumatic brain injury were on the rise as were the numbers of Soldiers committing suicide.
"Our patients are too complicated to turn loose at the end of the day," said Bradshaw. "We're different for a number of reasons. These are Soldiers who have a unique job. They've got to deploy. They've got to be trained."
Soldiers aren't the only ones involved in the treatment process."This affects not only active duty but family members," said Dr. Janet Lenard, clinical director.
"Families are integrated. If the family is strong, there is less likelihood of the Soldier going back to the bad behavior," said Bradshaw.
Programs in the residential facility include substance addiction education, family enrichment programs, pet therapy and a 12-Steps recovery program. Services available include recreation and occupational therapy as well as nutrition services, relapse prevention and re-integration.