Behaviours that are explicable due to mental health problems (impairment in ability to make a choice) are dealt with differently in the justice system than behaviours that are considered wilful (bad choices). For those who are facing legal charges for offences (e.g., DUI/impaired driving, drug charges, drug trafficking, assault, etc.), it is important to have an assessment to determine if there are underlying Addiction or Mental Health issues that are affecting an individual’s behaviour.
All behaviour is the result of brain function. Problem or deviant behaviours can arise when one part of the brain is under or over functioning so the brain is not operating in a healthy way. Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Primary means it is not caused by something else and chronic means that it is lifelong in nature. Addiction is impacted by both genetics (heredity) and environment. Stress, exposure to substances, family, culture and other factors activate chemical switches in the brain that regulate how the Addiction genes are expressed, especially age of onset and the severity of the disease. The more severe the disease, the earlier it manifests and more dysfunctional the behaviour.
Mental health problems, commonly referred to as mental illness, are common and personally experienced by at least 20% of Canadians during their lifetime. Although most mental health issues typically begin during adolescence and young adulthood, people of all ages, cultures, educational and income levels can experience mental health issues, which can have a serious impact on behaviour and one’s ability to function effectively. Mental health issues such as prolonged problems with anxiety and depression, together with problems in behaviour, can result in psychiatric or mental health diagnoses such as generalized anxiety disorder, depressive disorder, or bipolar disorder. It is necessary to do a thorough assessment, rule out intoxication and withdrawal symptoms to determine if these symptoms are a complication of Addiction or other underlying issues. If Addiction is treated properly, these complications go away; other times mental health problems can occur independently of Addiction.
Health Upwardly Mobile (HUM) is a health and wellness company based in Calgary, Alberta. We are an integrated team of healthcare professionals, which includes medical doctors, registered psychologists and registered nurses. Our clinic provides outpatient services (individual and group therapy, as well as a structured 18-day Intensive Outpatient Program spread out over 3 months) and treatment specific to Addiction, Mental Health, Chronic Pain and Occupational Health issues.
All new clients go through our comprehensive assessment. This includes a holistic, bio-psycho-social-spiritual assessment to create a comprehensive and individualized treatment plan. It is recommended that all appointments be done on separate days to optimize the opportunity for the patient to talk openly and honestly with each professional and learn incrementally through each interaction. A comprehensive treatment plan will be developed throughout this process and shared with the patient as the assessment progresses.
If you are in need of a legal report, then you will complete a 3 part comprehensive assessment which includes meeting with a nurse, psychologist, and physician, after which a medico-legal report can be provided at the request of the lawyer or individual to be used in court. The report will include criminal code requirements as outlined by the lawyer as well as treatment recommendations and objectives.
For more information about our services and associated costs, please call our clinic office.