ER physician Dr. Travis Stork shares the sad statistic that nearly half of all homeless people suffer from mental illness or chronic substance abuse disorder. The Doctors invite intervention specialist Dr. Ken Seeley to share how to look for early warning signs that may keep a loved one off the streets and even more importantly, alive.
“So many people wait until the bitter end… waiting until they end up homeless. You can see behaviors change, you can see attitudes change, you can see they don’t have goals in life anymore, they don’t have ambition for life, and they’re suffering deep down inside,” Ken explains. He says it’s so important to call a professional and get an assessment if you see those symptoms.
Ken says the symptoms for both mental illness and addiction are so similar, so it is important to get a proper diagnosis. Early on, medication or an outpatient program may be enough to address the problem as opposed to later when a longer addiction treatment program is needed.
Cody, a homeless man with a heroin addiction, is now in a 13-month treatment program and The Doctors ask if Dr. Seeley has any advice for him. Dr. Seeley commends Cody and says he loves that when he had a slip-up and left treatment, he brought himself back. Cody had said he left because his feeling and emotions came up and it was hard, and Ken says those feelings and emotions are going to come up all the time.
Ken recommends Cody dig deep down into the trauma because there’s some trauma he hasn’t dealt with that is causing those emotions and the pain he is going through. If Cody digs in and does the hard work, Ken believes his life can be amazing. He could be a success story, just like celebrity hairstylist Jason Schneidman, the former addict who helped Cody get into treatment.