Shreya M. 2023 | BASIS Independent Silicon Valley
- Project Title: Tracking the Progress of Veterans Undergoing Addiction Treatment
- Basis Independent Advisor: Hal Hansen
- Internship Location: Palo Alto VA Medical Center
- Onsite Mentor: Dr. Emaya Anbalagan
Examining addiction from a neurobiological perspective, it hijacks the pleasure-reward system which results in the weakening of the brain’s functions. Currently treatments for addiction include psychosocial interventions (cognitive behavior therapy, mutual help groups, and motivational interviewing) and pharmacological treatments (agonists, anti-agonists, and partial agonists). Veterans returning from combat have been seen to have high rates of substance abuse along with signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) which can create complications for treating substance abuse. Around 30 percent of veterans who have served report symptoms of mental illness, and around 10 percent of veterans have been diagnosed with substance use disorder, rates which are higher than the general population. The Foundations of Recovery Program at the Palo Alto VA Medical Center is an addiction treatment program that helps veterans develop recovery skills through a residential program before a personalized recovery plan for three-months after discharge. FOR exists to help those with mental and physical health concerns learn the basics of early recovery. By tracking the progress of addiction treatment through surveys and interviews, we will be able to examine and determine how to further evaluate the effectiveness of different addiction treatments as well as external factors that can make a difference on treatment outcome."