Thursday, October 11, 2012

Coke - it’s the real thing!

Sarah McPherson interviews Rob Hadley, CEO of Vancouver Hypnotherapy Inc., a hypnotherapy practice that specialises in the treatment of cocaine addiction.

Coke - it’s the real thing!

Cocaine addiction in Canada is on the rise. Many rehabs are backed up, and while treatment is generally considered better than in many countries facilities are often overcrowded or have waiting lists that negatively affect treatment success rates.

With this backdrop, most agencies agree, there is a growing incidence of cocaine addiction in the population at large. More people, from more diverse backgrounds, have access to cocaine than ever before.

I spoke to Rob Hadley, CEO of Vancouver Hypnotherapy Inc., and heard his perspective on the situation.

“What we’re seeing is a shift in the type of usage, and the type of user,” says Hadley. “It used to be that cocaine was a drug of the super rich and rock stars. Nowadays it’s gravitating down the social scale. Most people can, if they really want, get this drug. There’s also a sense of entitlement among some users.”

Hadley points out that many people have the fast car, the mortgage and the house that goes along with it, and they feel entitled to that extra thrill. He explains that many users are not affluent at all. Some find the cost too hard and slide downwards to using crack - a far more addictive version of cocaine, but one that is often available in low dollar increments. It’s possible to get a $5 hit of crack, but the user is never going to be satisfied with just one hit.

“Some users fall into cocaine because they honestly think that it’s something they ‘should’ try. ‘You should try everything once, right?’ Wrong. Don’t try stepping in front of a train... and don’t try coke. The result can be much the same. One just happens a little quicker.”

“We see a lot of users start using coke as a binge drug. They have a few drinks, someone offers coke and off they go. Alcohol often goes hand in hand with coke for these users. Later, as the addiction takes hold, alcohol may come out of the picture completely.”

At Vancouver Hypnotherapy’s clinic in Vancouver, Hadley and a team of other hypnotherapists, work with an exclusive clientele. Most come from the affluent suburbs of West Vancouver, or fashionable Yaletown.

“We work with clients who are in their addiction. Many rehabs and treatment centres won’t touch patients who still use coke. Our approach is to wean down the user, ease them off while setting up a set of alternative behaviours and eventually beliefs. It’s been very effective for many of our clients.”

Those clients have included bank managers, civil engineers and TV personalities. They come because the service is discrete and can be used while they continue to live their lives. There’s no need for residential care. They have a strict regime to follow, but can do so while they continue to work.

“Our clients are more likely to own the bank than rob it,” says Hadley.

He also adds that if an addiction goes untreated, the chances are they’ll lose everything.

“At that point our rates look pretty cheap!”

Sarah McPherson. Toronto. 12 Oct. 2012.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ignorance is not as blissful as you might think.

There is a nasty phenomenon that pervades healthcare. The idea that a patient may have an opinion, or more worryingly - a valid opinion - and that this represents a challenge to a medical professional's authority.

In fact, in most organisational structures a wide variety of opinions and ideas is usually an indication that the system is healthy. The best ideas tend to win through, but a diverse number of ideas from a variety of directions is to be valued, not feared. To have an differing opinion is not necessarily to challenge the authority of another in the structure.

I mention this having heard yet another client describe their visit to a doctor. The patient was told what was wrong with her, following an examination. She disagreed. She was told that she was not a professional, and it was made clear that her opinion was of no value. The doctor rounded this off by saying, "and don't go looking up your symptoms on the net, and telling me I'm wrong."

As I listened to the client describe the situation I was reminded of my history studies. In the period before the reformation priests used to say to commoners 'don't try to understand theology', and most religious services were held in Latin, precisely to make spirituality inaccessible. To me this is very much like a doctor telling a patient not to learn about their health, online or elsewhere. Anyone, doctor or otherwise, telling us not to educate ourselves has to be met with the deepest suspicion.

Knowledge of any kind can be used badly. In the case of religious extremism it is likely that the kernel of spiritual message has been twisted out of shape by the person looking for knowledge. In the case of medical knowledge, there is equally a risk it can be taken in the wrong context. However, generally people are not fanatics, and they are not stupid. Most people are quite capable of managing their religious beliefs, or their health intelligently.

The fact is, many visits to doctors are unnecessary. They take up precious time and overload a system already hopelessly overburdened. This is not to say it's ok to ignore serious issues. It's simply a suggestion that people do take some responsibility for themselves, and educating themselves about their health.

My client did see another doctor, who offered an entirely different opinion, a different prescription and completely different explanation. The first had said it was a liver issue, the second a muscular issue to do with her lower back (and prescribed a powerful pain killer). As it was she found that after attending a restorative yoga class the symptoms went away and have not returned three months down the road.

So, yes, go out there and look up your symptoms. Learn what foods are good for you. Learn what practices may alleviate back pain. And when a doctor tells you not to educate yourself, do the right thing... Find a better doctor.