Any medical condition carries with it a host of symptoms, treatments and potential outcomes, but physical ailments can often overshadow the profound impact on a person’s mental health. COVID-19 aggressively attacks the lungs, yet it’s the long-lasting economic damage and loss of job security that will stick with millions of citizens, regardless of whether or not they contracted the virus. The ramifications of recent events are detrimental to mental health and can cause anxiety, depression, substance abuse and a long list of other conditions.
A group of those experiencing the mental health ramifications of the pandemic include people recovering from substance use disorders. National Recovery Month works to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with mental and substance use disorders to live healthy and rewarding lives.
Quentin Gabor, MD, M Physicians psychiatrist, has wanted to help others improve their health and quality of life since he was an adolescent. Raised in a family that included physicians and a psychologist, he witnessed the tremendous value that the healthcare professions brought to the world, which led him to pursue a career in psychiatry.
“I can’t imagine another lifestyle that would allow me to partner with people like this, other than being a psychiatrist. Practically everyday I feel like I can help empower people,” Dr. Gabor said.
Dr. Gabor, like many others in his field, is passionate about service to the communities he interacts with. As the stigma surrounding mental health has improved to a degree over time, more people are realizing that medical professionals can provide them with valuable tools and treatments to make a difference.
I think there is increasing respect and dignity for those that have mental health concerns. My goal in providing treatment is for my patient to fully become the person they have the potential to become and to assist them in seeking purpose and meaning.
Recovery does not happen alone, or even with the help of just a single psychiatrist. Dr. Gabor utilizes a person-centered approach within a recovery model, placing emphasis on an individual’s particular strengths, needs, interests and lifestyle. He assesses the full picture and works beyond direct treatment to consider all of the circumstances and goals that could give a person greater control, agency and support.
Mental health experts work with primary care providers, therapists, case managers, pharmacists and peer recovery specialists to enable every individual’s success. They also help to build a robust recovery network through vocational programs, spiritual resources and enhanced connection with friends, family or community members.
Since he began his journey into medicine over 20 years ago, Dr. Gabor recognized that there have been dramatic advancements in the understanding of mental health disorders as well as mental health treatment. “We’ve seen that the combination of psychotherapy and medication, along with social supports, can provide great improvement of most mental health conditions, and that recovery should be an achievable goal,” he said.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental health or substance use disorder, there is help. COVID-19 has led to an increase in telemedicine initiatives, making psychiatric visits, including psychotherapy, possible through video and telephone sessions. Working on mental health is hard work, but speaking with a physician is the first step toward a healthier version of yourself.
My life experiences have taught me that if we can approach everyone with respect and understanding and act with kindness and compassion, we can partner in becoming the best people that we can be.