Effective treatment for mental health conditions requires a deep understanding of individuals and their experiences. For Aaron Wilson, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Cottonwood Tucson, that understanding, above all else, must begin with a quest for diagnostic clarity. An inaccurate diagnosis can result in a cascade of issues to follow, such as treatment resistance that can set the stage for serious adverse impacts and impede success from the start.
Dr. Wilson Discusses Diagnostic Clarity
Through his extensive psychiatric training and diversified clinical experience, Dr. Wilson has seen the difference diagnostic clarity can make at the outset of the treatment relationship. It is that passion for ensuring supportive mental health care and whole-team collaboration that drives his leadership of Cottonwood’s medical team.
”Medical providers can only fully uncover the factors that contribute to a patient’s challenges when they’re clear about the patient’s diagnosis,” Dr. Wilson says. “This approach ensures that individuals not only receive the most suitable treatment, but it also avoids soul-crushing hurdles such as treatment-resistant depression or other harmful conditions that can gravely deter their hope for success.” Whole person assessments, emphasizes Dr. Wilson, are the catalyst to removing treatment barriers and carve the path toward recovery success.
He notes that people often come to treatment facilities with diagnoses of depression, anxiety, or bi-polar conditions, but when his team performs whole-person assessments they nearly always find more to the story – sometimes long histories of trauma or specific traumatic events. Consequently, in-depth assessments are vital in developing effective treatment plans for patients suffering from mental health disorders.
The Cottonwood Difference
A cohesive, collaborative approach for treating mental health will reveal numerous previously unidentified contributing factors. Cottonwood Tucson is uniquely situated to provide patients with a three-dimensional view. Partnering with psychiatrists, clinicians, therapists, and psychologists to perform neuropsychological testing, Cottonwood uses a collaborative approach that aligns with the Center’s philosophy of the importance of cooperative treatment teams.
Dr. Wilson recognizes that managed care models have numerous inherent hurdles to effective treatment. The greatest one is time. Since diagnoses often aren’t straightforward, time restrictions undermine care quality from the start and make it more challenging to handle the intricacies of complex cases that commonly go hand-in-hand with mental health struggles. In these circumstances, residential treatment facilities are uniquely positioned to provide assistance to outpatient providers in enhancing treatment outcomes. There’s immeasurable value for patients who receive specialized attention unencumbered by the limitations of time. And there’s a benefit to the outpatient providers who are better set up for success to provide continuing care efforts once that patient is back in their primary care
Another element for success that residential treatment can uniquely tackle is the inclusion of exploring family dynamics. If this aspect isn’t included, an otherwise successful, hard-working patient finds themselves “sent right back into the storm” once their residential treatment experience is over.
There Is Hope
Many who arrive at Cottonwood with a diagnosis of treatment-resistant depression or other conditions come to the Center feeling defeated. Often, they’ve lost hope. Dr. Wilson frequently tells potential residents that while Cottonwood provides them all the benefits of great medical advances in psychopharmacology, brain chemistry, and genetics, along with a promise for diagnostic clarity, they are getting more than medically-ideal treatment. “Our message that there is hope is just as consequential. And, when a treatment center helps patients believe they can get better and walk away with hope for a better future that’s the real magic.”