Conference in La Quinta on Addictive Disorders
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By Angela Monroe, May 31, 2014, for KMIR

LA QUINTA -- The West Coast Symposium on Addictive Disorders is taking place this weekend at the La Quinta Resort.

The event began Thursday and runs through Sunday.

The fifth annual West Coast Symposium on addictive disorders is a huge four day international event right here in the valley with over 800 participants from 38 states and four different countries.

"This is one of the leading conferences in the country. It really brings together a wide variety of the top treatment centers nationally," said Dr. Michael Barnes, clinical program manager for Cedar.

"One of the things that the C-4 conferences are known for is a great energy. We try to have them at very nice places that do great things for us to help us be a host to the field and kind of give them a feeling of being taken care of," said Dee McGraw, the director of education and event services.

The West Coast Substance Abuse Disorder Symposium is an event that combines workshops and seminars on timely industry topics.

One such topic is the correlation between substance abuse and returning military veterans.

"Well one of the things that we really know is that there is a pretty clear relationship between addiction and post traumatic stress disorder. I know that the VA is developing programs in virtually all of the their hospitals to address both of those issues. There's a very large trend at this point to begin to integrate addiction and trauma counseling together. It maximizes the opportunity that clients will be able to stay in recovery if they're working on the traumatic process simultaneously. In the old days we used to think that you had to separate the two treatments, and now we're beginning to realize that if you don't treat them together, you really miss the opportunity and relapse is a much more likely scenario."

Dr. Barnes says that there are new innovations in not just treating all different kinds of addiction but sustaining a lasting recovery.

"Even though we've known for years that addiction is a chronic illness, we've always treated it as an acute illness with these, relatively short, very specific time frames and we're really beginning to look at what we call recovery management. The idea that if disease is a chronic illness for a lifetime, then recovery is a process that is actively engaged in for a lifetime.

With over 50 workshops, 60 faculty members, and 105 exhibitors, there is something for everyone in attendance, and a positive energy is promoted throughout the conference.

"We have a lot of different people here who do many different things in the industry. So, we try to provide a few for each person," said Gary Colby, co-chairman of C4.

"It's a labor of love for a lot of folks. So, it's good to have people get together and share the love amongst themselves."

The WCSAD is an annual event and is partnered with the La Quinta Resort to be held at the end of May for the next fifteen years.

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