Patients seeking treatment for drug addiction or alcohol treatment for abuse at Bluff often have co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar or post-traumatic stress disorder. Many also have other chronic physical conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, that are common among the general population too.
“Patients with drug and alcohol problems don’t just have drug and alcohol problems. They have other co-occurring psychiatric problems as the rule rather than the exception,” explains Dr. Jacobs. “They also have multiple medical problems, some of them directly related to their addiction. Others they may just have, like hypertension or diabetes, that have to be managed.”
Some of these disorders may have preceded the substance use but the symptoms were masked when the individual was using. People addicted to drugs and alcohol also tend to neglect their overall health – from nutrition to taking prescribed medications correctly to seeing a physician regularly – setting the stage for co-existing chronic conditions to get worse.
Through Bluff’s close relationship with the Medical College of Georgia, patients at Bluff with conditions other than their addiction are able to see top doctors and specialists for evaluations and treatment. “The Medical College of Georgia is the 13th oldest medical school in the country. We train more doctors than anybody in the state. We have every specialty we could possibly need,” Dr. Jacobs says, noting that he has gotten his seriously ill patients same-day appointments to see cardiologists, neurologists, hepatologists and gastroenterologists who normally have long waiting lists.
“The beauty of our affiliation is that we have access to the full power and technology of that fabulous teaching hospital that’s just 15 miles away.”
Bluff also has cottages that are wheelchair accessible and ADA compliant for those with mobility issues.