Substance Abuse BLOG

The Fourth Annual West Coast Symposium on Addictive Disorders heated up an already hot La Quinta, CA May 30 – June 2.

Tweets from this conference were at a premium so there wasn’t much to learn from the tweets themselves but a little digging showed this conference had a lot of information to offer guests on the addiction of all kinds.

Clearview Treatment Programs(@ClearviewTreats) a treatment center in Los Angeles; DBT Therapy (@DBT_Therapy), a subsidiary of Clearview Treatment Programs; and Borderline Treatment (@BorderlineInfo), which runs the Borderline Personality Treatment blog, all appear to have the same person looking after their Twitter accounts, as they were tweeting in unison.

One of their tweets said; “Are you ready for Dr. Gorgorian's presentation on DBT for Substance Abusers at #WCSAD on June 1st?”

The Dr. Gorgorian referred to is Dr. Alina Gorgorian, clinical director of Clearview Women’s Center for Borderline Personality Disorder in Los Angeles.

Her presentation at the symposium, DBT for Substance Abusers: A New Approach to Helping Clients Struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder and Addictions, gave attendees an overview of how Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) helps people diagnosed with both Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and an addiction.

“Substance abuse frequently co-occurs with Borderline Personality Disorder and may cause heightened symptoms in either disorder,” Dr. Gorgorian is quoted on the Clearview Treatment Programs website as saying. “The co-occurrence of the two disorders can cause severe emotional dysregulation, increase the probability of relapse and poor treatment outcomes, and increase the risk of suicide.”

DBT helps people diagnosed with both BPD and a drug or alcohol addiction better regulate their emotions and improve impulse control.

Another treatment center that was tweeting from the symposium was Benchmark Recovery (@BenchmarkRecCen) from Manor, TX, saying; “Headed to #WCSAD; Excited to hear from great speakers like @bradlamm @marklundholm & others!”

That was in reference to Brad Lamm of Change Inc., who kicked off the symposium with his workshop More Good | Less Bad: Building on Intervention to Fuel Systemic Change, which talked about ways intervention can change the life of the entire family affected by addiction rather than just the identified patient.

Benchmark Recovery’s tweet also referenced comedian Mark Lundholm (@marklundholm), who presented the workshop Passion, Purpose, Path, which was aimed at healthcare, addiction and treatment professionals. They were invited to examine themselves professionally and personally, using PowerPoint, group exercises, and comedic material, in order to rediscover their passion, purpose and potential.

Global Adolescent Project (@GlobalTeenProj), a non-profit organization aimed at educating, encouraging, and empowering teens in Haiti, tweeted that its founder Dr. Nancy Sobel (@drnancysobel) also presented at the symposium.

Sobel presented Resilience Training for Teens…Rebuilding a Relational Home, which introduced the idea of transforming trauma into a reparative experience, helping to prevent and intervene in adolescent addiction.

Dr. Adi Jaffe (@LADocJ) seemed excited to be presenting at the symposium, tweeting; “15 minutes until my #wcsad 2013 presentation on technology in addiction treatment. Come say hi!!!”

True to his tweet, Dr. Jaffe’s presentation was entitled Innovation in Addiction Treatment – Making Treatment Better through Technology and covered tech-based screening and assessment, referral to treatment tools, treatment provision, and aftercare.

The symposium looked like it was a great place for networking, as evidenced by this tweet from Marsha Stone (@MarshaStoneBRC), CEO of Benchmark Recovery Center in Austin, TX sent before the symposium; “Look forward to connecting & meeting new folks this weekend! #WCSAD” and this one sent after; “Nice connecting with new people through #WCSAD!”

The symposium covered much more than just alcohol and drug addiction. Showing it’s a comprehensive summit on addiction, the symposium had presentations on sexual addiction, gambling addiction, eating disorders, the rarely talked about addiction problems in older adults, Substance Abuse Professional training and much much more.

And just how hot was it in La Quinta?

For that, I go to psychotherapist Dr. Colleen Kelly (@ColleenKellyPhD) who tweeted; “At #WCSAD West Coast Symposium on Addictive Disorders at La Quinta where it's a cool 115 in the shade.”

Whoa! That is hot!

For a full overview of what was on tap, visit