December 2015

Sunspire Health Shines on Hilton Head Island

Author: Kent Thune

Sunspire Health, a leader in the treatment of addictive disorders, recently opened its newest facility, Sunspire Health Hilton Head. It is located at 2200 Main Street in the former boutique hotel, Main Street Inn & Spa, which was remodeled with a floor plan designed to offer group and individual counseling sessions to Sunspire’s patients.

The facility provides a full continuum of care for both men and women suffering from substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders. The private and intimate accommodations provide patients with an environment well-suited for recovery.

What sets Sunspire Health apart from other addiction treatment programs and facilities is that it offers evidence-based clinical interventions and an abstinence-focused approach as the foundation of the program.

“Although the media educates people that addiction is a disease, the public still believes that addiction is a choice, a weakness of character. This is scientifically not true,” said Ravi Srivastava, MD, FAPA, FASAM, medical director of Sunspire Health Hilton Head.

Sunspire’s philosophy is that every patient is unique and therefore must be treated differently for the most effective results. So the approach to treatment can be considered holistic, although implementation will vary on a patient-to-patient basis. Their comprehensive clinical care plans, combined with their interdisciplinary group of Board Certified physicians, licensed addiction and mental health professionals, along with family therapists, provide the highest quality clinical care tailored to each patient’s individual needs and lifestyle.

The integrated plans used by Sunspire Health are supported by Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s definition of MAT is “the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a whole-patient approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.” Research shows that when treating substance-use disorders, a combination of medication and behavioral therapies is most successful. MAT is clinically driven with a focus on individualized patient care.

Therefore, Sunspire Health not only helps patients overcome addiction, but provides them with the tools and support necessary to achieve lasting recovery.

Levels of care include a residential program, partial hospitalization and an intensive outpatient program, all of which are offered to residents of South Carolina, the surrounding region and nationwide.

Fortunately, the stigma attached to addiction is beginning to fade from the public perception, thanks in part to the science-backed approaches and studies supported by Sunspire Health and the greater medical community. In fact, the term “substance abuse” was recently discontinued in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is the manual used by physicians, clinicians and researchers to diagnose and classify mental disorders. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) published the DSM-5 in 2013, culminating a 14-year revision process, to establish common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders.

Thanks to the DSM-5, substance use disorder is now the term used to describe a group of substances that lead to addictive disorders that are defined as chronic disease. The DSM-5 noted the new term to combine substance abuse and substance dependence into a single disorder measured on a continuum from mild to severe. Each specific substance (other than caffeine, which cannot be diagnosed as a substance use disorder) is addressed as a separate use disorder. These substances include alcohol, heroin, cocaine, opiates, methamphetamine, prescription drugs, PCP, and marijuana. Almost all of the substances are diagnosed based on the same variables and criteria.

A substance use disorder occurs when an individual develops more than a dependence but rather an uncontrollable addiction that results in the use of the substance that is unstoppable by the individual. Since the individual is not able to stop their behaviors and cravings for the substance on their own, the results of and the consequences for use have no relevance to the individual.

For example, alcohol use disorder is an individual’s excessive use of alcohol, resulting in an increased risk of developing serious health problems, and the uncontrollable intake of alcohol. Excessive drinking, drinking that leads to a disorder, often puts one’s safety at risk as well. It has been found that the genetic predisposition for the disorder exists and plays a significant role in one’s chance of developing an addiction to alcohol.

Alcohol consumption is very common in everyday life. People drink to socialize, celebrate, relax, and de-stress. SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that more than half of all adults drink alcohol. This same report showed that in 2013, of the 136.9 million drinkers ages 12 or older, 22.9 percent were classified as binge drinkers and 6.3 percent were heavy drinkers. About 17.3 million, or 6.6 percent, of these individuals met the criteria for an alcohol use disorder.

Marijuana is the most-used drug after alcohol and tobacco in the United States. According to SAMHSA, marijuana’s immediate effects include distorted perception, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and loss of motor coordination. Long-term use of the drug can contribute to respiratory infection, impaired memory, and exposure to cancer-causing compounds. Heavy marijuana use in youth has also been linked to increased risk for developing mental illness and poorer cognitive functioning. Symptoms of marijuana use disorder include disruptions in functioning due to its use, the development of tolerance, cravings for cannabis, and the development of withdrawal symptoms, such as the inability to sleep, restlessness, nervousness, anger, or depression within a week of ceasing heavy use.

“Many people experiment with alcohol or marijuana in their youth but go on to lead a healthy life without addiction,” Srivastava said. “However some people have a genetic predisposition to addiction and continue to use.”

Heroin is also a problem in America. Many heroin users are introduced to this opioid through prescription painkillers, like OxyContin. However, an OxyContin habit is expensive to maintain; therefore, many users turn to this cheaper, easier-to-buy alternative.

While beating addiction is no easy task, Sunspire Health believes that they have the best formula for success and they have a passion for providing help to those who need it. “Why climb a mountain when someone can drive you up there?” Srivastava said.

Sunspire Health Hilton Head is located at 2200 Main Street. For more information or for help, visit

Drugs are chemicals that tap into the brain’s communication system and disrupt the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information. There are at least two ways that drugs are able to do this: by imitating the brain’s natural chemical messengers, and/or overstimulating the “reward circuit” of the brain.

No single factor can predict whether or not a person will become addicted to drugs. Risk for addiction is influenced by a person’s biology, social environment, and age or stage of development. The more risk factors an individual has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction.

  1. I worked in the chemical dependeny field for six years in the 70’s. It is most gratifying to read about how addictive illness is now being aproached by Sunspire.
    Thanks on behalf of all those who will find their way to your door.

    — Marion B. Conlin    Jan 21, 09:55 am   

Let Us Know what You Think ...

commenting closed for this article