Dr. Harry Haroutunian

Finding Answers and Hope in Science

Dr. Haroutunian, best known as “Dr. Harry,” has been practicing medicine for over 30 years.  His inspirations for contributing to the recovery world come directly from science as well as his personal recovery.  He has maintained a longstanding private practice and has consulted with several residential treatment centers in the areas of medication assisted detox and treatment planning. Dr. Harry also works with high profile professional athletes and professional sports teams. Recently, Dr. Harry published Being Sober: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting To, Getting Through and Living in Recovery\" and has collaborated with Dr. Louis Teresi, author of Hijacking the Brain: How Drug and Alcohol Addiction Hijacks our Brains - The Science Behind Twelve-Step Recovery.  Currently, he is Physician Director of the Betty Ford Center Professionals Program.

For years, Dr. Harry has worked with well-known members of the community and celebrities  on addiction recovery, and has gotten to know the special challenges of patients in that niche area.   “One of the specific challenges pertaining to the status of the patient is that they need to be treated under conditions of intense privacy,” Dr. Harry told RecoveryView.com.  “The issue of shame also prevents these people from seeking treatment and interrupts their progress.”

Having had a great deal of experience with this high profile group of patients, Dr. Harry decided to establish Addiction Medical Recovery Services last year in the Coachella Valley (which Dr. refers to as the  “Mecca of Recovery”).  AMRS provides private physician consultations to other health care practitioners for the evaluation and treatment recommendations of their patients.  What sets ARS apart is that it is truly a “private” consultation service that provides intensive, individual, Clinical Diagnostic Evaluations. 

“AMRS provides individualized treatment protocols for people who for one reason or another cannot access conventionally offered treatments,” said Dr. Harry.

RecoveryView.com learned from Dr. Harry the slough of obstacles faced by those who are well- known in large communities. Oftentimes, they are held to higher standards, the pressure of which becomes a breeding ground for high stress situations and relapse.   Further when patients are professionals, they may be dealing with the close scrutiny of a particular licensure agency, which puts them under constant threat of being stripped of their license.  Professionals seem to have greater financial consequences attached to feeding and even treating their addiction. When they have a high value contracted for their services, there is greater financial risk to them personally and to their families.  But even for these high risk groups, Dr. Harry sees hope.

“AMRS is set in Rancho Mirage, which has an incredible recovery support group.  There are lots of meetings, sober living residences, and lots of external recovery programs.”

Through the years, Dr. Harry’s perspectives have changed as a result of developments in science, and when talking to RecoveryView.com, he expressed the wish that families would come to know the hope that science brings for those facing addiction.  Dr. Harry lectures to families every week and has found that many continue to believe that addiction is an issue of moral judgment or faulty character.  “They have had someone in their lives with the disease. They’ve been lied to, cheated. They have seen aggressive behaviors and boundaries have been crossed. It’s too personal for people. But I want to tell them all that this is not a bad person doing bad things.  It’s genetics epidemiology - a set of symptoms.” For anyone continuing to doubt whether alcoholism is a disease, Dr. Harry says, “It is an absolutely chronic organic disease of the brain that is incurable and fatal if left untreated.”

As Dr. Harry continues to forward new paradigms among professionals in the industry and continues speaking to those individuals and families in treatment, he carries with him this message: “Science shows that this is treatable if a lifelong treatment plan is initiated and continued. There is hope.”

Join Dr. Harry for the Evolution of Addiction Treatment Conference on February 5-8, 2015 at the Westin Lost Angeles Airport and plan to inspired!  Dr. Harry will be presenting an “Overview of the Past 20 Years of Addiction Treatment - What We Have Learned and Where We Are Headed.”

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