Topic: Dr. Surita Rao will discuss addiction as a brain disorder, and the implications of that for treatment, including both psychosocial therapies and medications. The disease of addiction carries a lot of stigma and people are often angry and frustrated with the person who suffers from a substance use disorder, asking why they just cannot stop using. While recovery is definitely a choice on the part of the patient, it is not a simple one. A large number of people who suffer from an addictive illness also have coexisting mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. It is often difficult to determine which condition started first, but treating both simultaneously often helps the person to get better from both conditions.
About Dr. Surita Rao: Surita Rao, M.B.B.S, M.D. FASAM, is an associate professor and director of the psychiatry residency training program, at the University of Connecticut Medical School, Department of psychiatry. From December 2002 through October 2014, she was the Chair and Director of the Behavioral Health Service Line at Saint Francis Care. She was the Service Medical Director, Whiting Forensic Division, Connecticut Valley Hospital, Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services from November 2014 through October 2015. She completed medical school at Bankura Sammilani Medical College in India and did her psychiatry residency training at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Staten Island, New York and the Yale University School of Medicine. She did her addiction psychiatry fellowship at the Yale University School of Medicine. She has been on the faculty at both Yale and Emory Universities. Her clinical work has focused on addiction psychiatry. Her career has focused on patient care, administration and teaching. Dr. Rao has served on the Board of Directors for the American Society of Addiction Medicine and as vice chair of their national membership committee. Currently she serves on the ASAM ethics committee. She is past president of the CT chapter of ASAM and is on the executive committee of the Connecticut Chapter of ASAM. She also serves on the Board of the Hartford Dispensary. She has done multiple regional and national presentations on substance use disorders and mental health issues. . She did a variety of media appearances on television and radio over her career, including appearances on CNN and a pilot series of a radio show on Voice America Internet radio, “ Mental Health with Dr. Surita Rao”. Podcasts can be found online and through iTunes.