Mills-Peninsula Health Blog

Be Well, Be Well Informed

A Team Approach to Tackling Addiction

Posted on Dec 15, 2015 in Uncategorized


When someone you care about is suffering from addiction, it can be emotionally wrenching because the addicted person will often blame his or her problem on the nearest people and situations, Philip Kolski, a licensed clinical social worker at the Mills-Peninsula Behavioral Health Center, says. This, of course, pushes the people who are trying to help away.

“The addict is not in control any longer,” he says. “The person’s sole focus is to relieve the pain inside. As a result, addiction is a very lonely disease because often the addict has no support  system left.”

A Family Affair
When treating an addict, one of the first things Kolski and his staff attempt to do is partner with family and loved ones remaining in the patient’s life.

“We view it as a family problem,” he says. “That means we need to get everyone on the same page to treat it.”

Feelings of shame sometimes make people hesitate to seek help for someone they care about. But addiction is not a situation that is likely to resolve on its own. It’s a complex chronic illness that requires expert treatment, especially if the addict also has a mental health issue.

Getting Help
“The important thing to remember is that there is help available,” Dan Becker, M.D., medical director of the Mills-Peninsula Behavioral Health Center, says. Just as treatment programs emphasize to addicts that they are not alone, people who care about someone struggling with addiction are also not alone. If you are trying to get help for an addict, there are a few things you can do, Kolski says:

  • Seek out support: Addiction is tough on the whole family. So as addicts join support groups during treatment, it’s advised that their families do so too.
  • Confront the person with the consequences of his or her behavior, including possible health costs. “Until the results of the person’s behavior become serious enough to force them to change, they won’t seek treatment,” he says.
  • Talk to your doctor or contact addiction disorder experts directly if you need help. They can often connect you with resources both for the person you wish to help and for yourself.

Visit the Mills-Peninsula Behavioral Health website for information, services and resources, or call the Mills-Peninsula Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program at 650-696-4666.

Read more about addiction topics on the Mills blog:

Pain Killer Addiction: What to Know

Chemical Dependency and Aging

Mills-Peninsula Introduces Unique Residential-Based Rehab Program