Addiction Experts from Elements Behavioral Health Headline Three-Part Workshop on Addiction and the Brain

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Board-certified addiction psychiatrist Christopher La Tourette La Riche, MD, nationally recognized expert in nutrition and fitness Pamela Peeke, MD, and triple board certified addiction psychiatrist Michael Baron, MD, present at a three-part workshop on Addiction and the Brain in Houston, TX.

Houston, TX (PRWEB) August 26, 2014 – Elements Behavioral Health presents a unique, three-part workshop on Addiction and the Brain: Common Neurochemistry of Trauma, Pain and Addiction, in Houston on September 12, 2014.

This workshop explores recent brain research in the areas of chronic pain, trauma and food chemistry and answers the following critical questions, among others:

  • What effect do childhood trauma, chronic pain and food chemistry have on the addictive process, including recovery and relapse?
  • What happens to the brain and body before, during and after treatment?
  • What are the suggested protocols for treatment and the recommendations for clients with trauma and chronic pain based on current findings in brain research?

Following registration and introductions, Christopher La Tourette La Riche, MD, will present “The Child is Father of the Man: Neurobiological Crossroads of Trauma, Addiction and Mood Disorders,” from 8:15 to 9:15 a.m. Dr. La Riche will discuss the three basic elements of the neuroendocrine system that, when altered in early life, can affect mood, anxiety and addiction.

“While everyone has experienced difficult life events, when trauma occurs in early childhood, it can seriously impact an individual’s life later, in some cases leading to mood and addictive disorders,” said Dr. La Riche.

Dr. La Riche will name and briefly explain a number of early life events that have directly correlated with disruptions in mood and the appearance of addictive disorders later.

From 9:15 to 10:15 a.m., Michael Baron, MD, MPH, FASAM, will present a second workshop addressing “The Added Complexity of Chronic Pain.”

“Chronic pain is an integral part of vicious cycles,” said Dr. Baron. “Pain aggravates addiction and addiction aggravates pain. Not only does this compromise effective treatment, but there’s little hope of combating chronic pain or addiction without treating both. The same can be said about pain and depression.”

Understanding the anatomy, pathology and physiology of chronic pain and addiction will help workshop participants gain a greater perspective on the interaction between them.

From 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP, will present the day’s third topic, “Food and Addiction: The Relationship Between Food, Recovery and Relapse.”

“Science now shows that food addiction is real and that cross addictions between food, alcohol and drugs are common and can complicate the recovery process,” said Dr. Peeke. “Certain hyper-palatable foods, especially refined sugar, have a profound impact on the brain’s reward center. Food is supposed to be rewarding. However, repeated, daily exposure to combinations of manufactured and processed sugars and fats can result in a highjacking of this reward center, causing organic brain changes that initiate the addictive cycle.”

Integrating the new science of epigenetics, Dr. Peeke will present critical integrative lifestyle elements that form the basic structure for treating addictive-like eating behaviors.

A panel discussion and Q&A follows with Jason Powers, MD, chief medical officer at Right Step and Promises Austin, and Scott Basing, PhD, founding executive director of The Hope and Healing Center.

There is no cost to attend this workshop, but seating is limited. Attendees may earn up to four continuing education credits. To register, visit the Elements Behavioral Health events page or contact Jeanette Lisalda at

About Dr. La Riche

Christopher La Tourette La Riche, MD, is a board-certified psychiatrist and addiction psychiatrist and an award-winning psychotherapist who serves as medical director at Lucida Treatment Center in Florida. Dr. La Riche specializes in treating patients with addictive disorders, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, adult ADHD and panic disorder. He uses a humanistic approach that focuses on the whole person, not just the disease.

About Dr. Baron

Michael Baron, MD, MPH, FASAM, is triple board certified in psychiatry, anesthesiology and addiction medicine and is the medical director of The Ranch treatment center in Tennessee. Dr. Baron’s passion is treating patients that have addiction and chronic pain, particularly among licensed professionals. He is currently serving a five-year appointment on the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners (Licensing Board) and is Chair of the Tennessee Department of Health Controlled Substance Monitoring Database Committee that is responsible for oversight of the CSMD database. He is also a group facilitator for the Tennessee Medical Foundation – Physician Health Program.

About Dr. Peeke

Dr. Pamela Peeke is a leading expert in the fields of nutrition and fitness. A Pew Foundation Scholar in nutrition and metabolism, Dr. Peeke is also assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland, and Fellow of the American College of Physicians and Sports Medicine. She is the chief lifestyle expert for WebMD, host of HER radio show on RadioMD and iHeart, a popular TEDx presenter, and chief nutrition and fitness correspondent for Discovery Health TV. Dr. Peeke is a New York Times best-selling author, including The Hunger Fix: The Three Stage Detox and Recovery Program for Overeating and Food Addiction. As senior science advisor to Elements Behavioral Health, she has created the integrative nutrition and holistic lifestyle programs at Malibu Vista women’s mental health center and Lucida Treatment Center.

About Elements Behavioral Health

Elements Behavioral Health is a family of behavioral health care programs that includes Promises Treatment Centers, The Ranch, The Recovery Place, Lucida Treatment Center, Clarity Way, Journey Healing Centers, the Sundance Center, the Sexual Recovery Institute and Right Step. Elements offers comprehensive, innovative treatment for substance abuse, sexual addiction, trauma, eating disorders and other mental health disorders. We are committed to delivering clinically sophisticated treatment that promotes permanent lifestyle change, not only for the patient but for the entire family system. For more information about Elements Behavioral Health, visit

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