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B E H A V I O R A L  H E A L T H  N E W S 

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A message from Pain Program Director Roxana Lal

I've worked for Sovereign for two years and now serve as the specialty programs director. I'm thrilled to continue my passion for creating something new – not reinventing the wheel, but building the excitement around new programs. It keeps me going.

That's why I'm so excited about our new Pain Program. Sovereign Health is tailoring recovery to each person's individual needs. We'll help patients accept the pain and live beyond it, independent of narcotics.

The problem of pain 

For the majority of those with chronic pain, it's an issue of mental health as well as substance abuse development. The pain guides all decisions, and many people stop enjoying life. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 115 million Americans suffer chronic pain. There are more people experiencing pain than people taking drugs on the street.

Physical therapy and opioid pain management are clearly not enough. I am very enthusiastic about creating a healing-centered program around a population not typically open to seeking outside help for an internal struggle.

Many in the pain community don't see themselves as addicts, but may have built up a tolerance to painkillers and are taking anything and everything to numb physical and emotional hurt.

Here in Southern California, we have a unique opportunity to reach multiple demographics who need chronic pain recovery. Many of our substance abuse patients have chronic pain, as do our veterans, who perhaps have resisted treatment so it would not go on their military record.

Debilitating pain affects every facet of life and can prevent people from being present during priceless life experiences. Patients feel as though they're totally alone. That's where Sovereign Health's Pain Program comes in. Through cutting-edge cognitive technologies, talk therapy, restorative yoga and ancillary services such as acupuncture, mutual support and measurement-based care, we will help adults choose life and get back in the game.

Working together to live with pain

Pain is ostracizing and often carries a stigma. The support process groups offered within Sovereign Health's pain program create a unity and commonality where you feel a connection you didn't think you could. All the attention that was focused on your experience can be successfully externalized.

At home, patients may be the only person in the family who experiences pain. At residential treatment in Sovereign's Pain Program, all housemates have similar issues and can relate to one another. Everyone is working together toward the same goal.

Further, chronic anger often accompanies chronic pain. That's why it's imperative that members of our team understand chronic pain and can relate to all shades of emotion living with pain. Pain patients receive care from compassionating doctors, nurses and perhaps physical therapists. We'll walk alongside our patients.

Sovereign's Pain recovery is a fusion of an informed nutrition plan, sleep hygiene, a reconnection with people plus an empathetic community all committed to learning cognitive tools to overcome pain episodes without the dominance of prescription addiction. 

Making measurable life changes

We are cognizant that pain experiences are constantly shifting in timing and intensity and compounded by mood and life struggles. Our Pain Program parallels our CEO Dr. Tonmoy Sharma's vision of measurement-based care in that we encourage patient feedback every step of the way and have an effective and evolutionary curriculum open to the patient's desires.

Just like eating healthy is about lifestyle changes rather than dieting, the Pain Program is not about "all or nothing"; it's about what the patient can do today.

Where hopelessness and sedentary abiding have grown like weeds in a garden, Sovereign Health is the gifted gardener: We gently prune out the negativity and cultivate enjoyment. Our Pain Program is not about completely eradicating pain experiences; it's about making life changes – one changes leads to another and another.

We're in this together!

Press Release: Sovereign Health Launches New Pain Program in San Clemente

Sovereign Health, a leading national provider of behavioral health treatment services, has launched a new Pain Program at its San Clemente treatment center, designed to assist individuals whose pain has led to an addiction to prescription and/or illegal drugs. Sovereign’s integrative approach to pain management focuses on the biological, social, environmental and personality variables that trigger pain. Sovereign’s mission is to reduce patients’ primary reliance on addictive medication and to enhance their nonpharmacological pain management. READ MORE

Jason KMIR.pngVideo: Jason Hennick Discusses Sovereign Health’s Adolescent Treatment in KMIR Interview

Sovereign Health’s Rancho San Diego Program Director Jason Hennick highlights Sovereign Health’s unique adolescent treatment approach in a new television interview on KMIR News in Palm Desert, Calif. Watch the full video interview here. WATCH THE VIDEO

Beyond-NIMBY-Series-1_Crowd_From-Back.jpgLocal News: "Beyond NIMBY" Editorial Series

Sovereign Health is pleased to announce the “Beyond NIMBY” editorial series, a second series that addresses residents’ strong opposition to having treatment and supportive services provided to individuals with disabilities within their communities — a phenomenon commonly referred to as “not in my backyard” (NIMBY). Read the latest articles here. READ MORE

M E D I C A L  N E W S •

Sovereign Health CEO Highlighted In New LA Times
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Dr. Tonmoy Sharma Discusses Why Addiction and Mental Illness
Should Be Treated Together

Historically, mental illness and addiction have typically been seen as separate, unrelated issues.

But around half of patients with addiction issues also suffer from co-occurring mental illness, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concerned specifically with the two eponymous conditions. 

• C L I N I C A L  N E W S •

-improve-depression.jpgLooking on the Brighter Side May Increase Effectiveness of SSRIs, Improve Depression

Looking on the brighter side may increase effectiveness of SSRIs, improve depressionYou probably have met a person at least in passing who has been diagnosed with depression, or perhaps someone closer to you has the disorder – maybe your friend, partner or family member. Sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping, changes in appetite, and even thoughts of suicide plague individuals living with depression. READ MORE

Adopted Children More Likely to Develop
Mental Health Disorders, Study Shows

Raising children is often one of the greatest joys for parents. Watching them meet their developmental milestones, develop their own personality and anticipating the change they may create in the world may be some of the greatest gifts to parents. Raising children comes in many forms: adopting, fostering and giving birth. Parents do not have to be biologically related to their children to experience parenthood. READ MORE

• F E A T U R E  N E W S •

Editorial_series_State_of_Addiction_Policy_banner_02182016_new.jpgSovereign Health is proud to release the 10th and final installment of its editorial campaign, “The State of Addiction Policy.” The culmination of the series takes a close look at the platform of President-Elect Donald Trump and projects how his administration will affect the nation's behavioral health. We track all of his relevant campaign promises and compile expert analysis on their expected consequences. READ MORE

shutterstock_362584388-1_copy1.jpgSovereign Health’s ‘Relationships in Recovery’ Content Toolkit Now Available

Sovereign Health's "Relationships in Recovery" content toolkit is now available. This resource for former patients and their loved ones provides step-by-step guidance and tools to assist them in rebuilding relationships that were damaged by addiction. READ MORE


Book Review: ‘A Common Struggle’ Helps Remind Us That We Are Not Alone

Addiction and mental illness affect everyone, from the homeless to the highest-earning businessman. These well-known problems are a common trial among many walks of life, even politicians like Patrick J. Kennedy.

A former congressman and the youngest child of Senator Ted Kennedy, Patrick Kennedy faced co-occurring conditions of bipolar disorder and an addiction to prescription painkillers. In May of 2006, Kennedy, who was at the time a congressman for Rhode Island, crashed his car into a traffic barrier on Capitol Hill. Almost immediately he decided to seek treatment for his addiction and mental illness.

• T E S T I M O N I A L S •

PRIME-Testimonial-Jimmy-442422-edited.jpgJimmy B. Goes From Stress to Self-Care

It was hard to catch up with Jimmy B. over the phone, but when we did, it was well worth the conversation.

He starts by apologizing for missing the calls, yet he sounds more positively at ease than remiss.

“I don’t have my cellphone on me, and when I’m here at the [Sovereign Health PRIME] house, I’m enjoying recovery. It’s the little things, you know? Some guys come in glued to their phone, but when they tell you you don’t need your cells, it’s because you don’t need a cellphone in recovery. You’re here to work on you, and that starts to feel good."

E V E N T S  A N D  W E B I N A R S •

Event: galit shezifi-589907-edited.pngPrinciples Of Expressive Arts Therapy

Presented by Galit Shezifi, M.S.W.

This is an introduction for Expressive Arts Therapy. Expressive Arts Therapy refers to a therapeutic approach with individuals, couples, families, groups and community-based programs that integrates a wide range of arts modalities in the service of human growth, development and healing. We will cover the development of this field of practice. This C.E. and networking event will take place on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 11:30 A.M. (PST) in El Cajon, CA. REGISTER NOW

Webinar: Film/Video-Based Therapy And TraumaJCohen photo 3(1) (1)-3.jpg

Presented By Joshua Cohen, Ph.D.

Film/video-based therapy is a cutting-edge new approach to counseling, psychotherapy, art therapy and clinical psychology using video technology. Clinical work includes using this approach in such diverse settings as prisons, mental hospitals and community counseling centers as well as with populations including at-risk youth, trauma victims, developmentally disabled youth and everyday adults struggling with relationship issues. This webinar will occur on Wednesday, November 16, 2016 at 11:00 A.M. (PST). REGISTER NOW

Event: Seeing Red: Anger, Alexithymia picture of Dr. Mark-698475-edited.jpgAnd Aggression In Domestic Violence

Presented By Mark S. Ellinger, Psy.D.

This workshop will focus on domestic violence, anger and alexithymia. The information will be given in a pragmatic way so that participants will clearly understand the basic working components of anger through the lens of alexithymia. This C.E. and networking event will take place on Friday, November 18, 2016 at 12:00 A.M. (PST) in Pompano Beach, FL. REGISTER NOW

Event: Opioid Dependence And The Controversies
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Presented By Sayeh M. Beheshti, M.D., M.A.

Opioid dependence is now a nationwide epidemic. Buprenorphine is used for both detoxification and maintenance. This talk introduces the biological mechanism of how opioid dependence forms, and how buprenorphine acts. We will then talk about the pros and cons of buprenorphine use. This C.E. and networking event will take place on Tueday, November 29, 2016 at 11:30 A.M. (PST) in Costa Mesa, CA. REGISTER NOW

N E W S  A R C H I V E S •



How to Cope With PTSD During The Holidays

We hear it on all of the radio stations: It’s the most wonderful time of the year. In spite of the bleak weather outside, the holidays are a joyful period filled with laughter, good food and — for most of us — happy memories. Unfortunately, people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often struggle during this season of merriment. After all, it’s difficult to enjoy the holidays if you’re anxious, depressed, sleep-deprived or attempting to suppress unpleasant thoughts and feelings. READ MORE

P S Y C H O L O G Y  T O D A Y 


The Science of Accomplishing Your Goals

-By Ralph Ryback, M.D., and Courtney Lopreseti, M.S., senior staff writer for Sovereign Health Group

It’s good to have goals, no matter what size they are. Maybe you want to cook more frequently instead of ordering take out. Maybe you want to finally finish writing that novel. Or maybe you just want to get past a new level of a particularly tough video game. READ MORE


5 Steps for Navigating (or Leaving) a Toxic Relationship

-By Ralph Ryback, M.D., and Kristen Fuller, M.D., senior staff writer for Sovereign Health Group

Toxic relationships can consume a vast amount of our mental and emotional space and cause immeasurable pain. My previous post focused on how to recognize signs of a toxic relationship—the first step to seeking help and bettering your relationships. But what happens after you recognize the signs and realize you are knee-deep in a toxic relationship?. READ MORE

S O V E R E I G N  I N  T H E  N E W S •
S O V E R E I G N  U P D A T E S 

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• V O I C E S  O F  T H E  A D D I C T 'S  M O M •

The Work of The Addict’s Mom: What We’veVoices-of-The-Addicts-Mom_Daniel.jpg
Accomplished So Far

Written by Sherry Schlenke, the mother of a child (now deceased) with the disease of addiction

As the number of addicted persons reaches epidemic proportions in our great nation, it is important to recognize the work of thousands of dedicated women. Led by Barbara Theodosiou, these are ordinary mothers, who are watching their children descend into the depths of addiction, yet are performing extraordinary feats to save their precious children.

Since its inception a decade ago, TAM has expanded its efforts by raising public awareness, acting as liaisons between policymakers and the community, and advocating for reforms in the legal, insurance and recovery systems of our country. Barbara and TAM members have received many awards and accolades, but the primary mission remains to provide a forum for blame-free sharing. That is the work of TAM.

The work of TAM is “Sharing Without Shame.” The work of TAM is to support our members, our grandparents, our moms of incarcerated children and our grieving moms. The work of TAM is to support our families, who have been devastated by the disease of addiction, and to offer understanding, comfort and hope to our members.

The work of TAM is for Barbara to travel to Washington, D.C., to accept, on behalf of all TAM members, the Champion of Change award from President Barack Obama at the White House.

The work of TAM is to welcome Director Michael Botticelli, of the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy, as a member. The work of TAM is for members to participate in several live webinars with the director, voicing their concerns and their desire for reforms in the justice system, the insurance industry and the health care system.

The work of TAM is performed by our individual members, who protect each others’ children by traveling to a hospital bedside, by providing transportation, food and toiletries, by sending letters to a prison and by visiting a child in jail or in treatment, as TAM moms do.

The work of TAM is members meeting, posting, sharing, supporting, researching and informing society about the deadly disease of addiction.

The work of TAM is to propose a law that makes treatment more accessible and more affordable through insurance or the state, as a TAM mom has done. The work of TAM is to appeal to the state legislators and ask them to place an obscure, currently legal but deadly drug (Kratom) on the watch list to be regulated, as a TAM mom has done. The work of TAM is to appeal to lawmakers and the court system to permit us to secure guardianship over our adult children, which a TAM mom in Kentucky has accomplished. The work of TAM is to lobby lawmakers to permit parents to keep the opioid overdose medication in their homes and to require first responders to carry it on their vehicles, as TAM moms in Maryland and across the country did.

The work of TAM is to de-stigmatize addiction. The work of TAM is to focus the attention of our nation on addiction by marching in Washington in partnership with FED UP! The work of TAM is to create a quilt, sewn with loving volunteer hands, of patches depicting our lost children. The work of TAM is to proudly display that quilt in Washington, demonstrating to the nation that we are not ashamed of our children.

The work of TAM is to secure a proclamation from her town, designating May 17 as The Addict’s Mom Day, as Barbara Theodosiou did. The work of TAM is to hold events in our communities (Walk a Mile in My Shoes). The work of TAM is to host candle-lighting ceremonies (Lights of Hope) to commemorate our loved ones in recovery, in active addiction or who have died. The work of TAM is to host a record number (62) Lights of Hope events in every state in our nation, as the mothers of TAM accomplished in 2015. The work of TAM is to plan over 100 Lights of Hope events in 2016.

The work of TAM is to collect the “Voices of The Addict’s Mom” and ask Barbara in her speeches to give voice to moms who have never had a forum to share their feelings.

The work of TAM is collaborating with federal agencies, such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, to become better informed and keep abreast of the latest research and best practices in the field of addiction, which TAM does.

The work of TAM is for moms to contact every police department in every state and ask them to adopt the Gloucester, Massachusetts, Police Department’s Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative that offers rehab instead of prison, as TAM moms have accomplished.

The work of TAM is to run marathons, wearing a shirt with her deceased boy’s picture and the names of TAM children who have died, as a TAM mom does.

The work of TAM is for the members to conduct a nationwide search on social media for Barbara’s Daniel, who was missing for a week before Barbara learned that he had died.

The work of TAM is represented by the heart and soul of not only Barbara, but of our wonderful members, who every day make an important contribution in the field of addiction in an effort to save our families and our beloved children. That is the work of TAM.

“I want to find every mom who is sitting alone in the dark, with tears running down her cheeks, feeling broken and desperate.” – Barbara Theodosiou

About The Addict’s Mom


Founded 10 years ago by Barbara Theodosiou, “The Addict's Mom” (TAM) embraces and connects mothers and other family members who are struggling with a loved one who suffers from the disease of addiction. TAM offers mothers and other family members the opportunity for open, honest sharingof their experiences, sorrows, pain, challenges and victories with their children. To learn more about The Addict’s Mom, please visit: For more writing samples featuring The Addict’s Mom members, check out the latest edition of the Sovereign Health Continuing Care newsletter.

 O T H E R  H E A D L I N E S  O F  I N T E R E S T 

SARDAA Health Storylines

Schizophrenia and Related
Alliance of America

Help Guide

Alcoholics Anonymous

Mental Health America of
Los Angeles

Al-Anon Family Groups

American Psychiatric Association

Narcotics Anonymous


Nar-Anon Family Groups

Smart Recovery

Gamblers Anonymous

 A  N O T E  F R O M  T H E  M A N A G I N G  E D I T O R 

Sovereign Health is transitioning to a new e-mail marketing software system. Please make sure to add Sovereign Health announcements and newsletters to a safe sender e-mail list to protect your news from being filtered to your spam folder. As you receive your e-mails from Sovereign Health’s new system, please make sure to fill out the form below to customize the news you want to receive. We appreciate your loyalty to Sovereign Health news and hope to continue to provide editorial resources to further educate professionals, patients and readers on subjects that affect the future of treatment.

Rachael Mattice, Managing Editor for Sovereign Health

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