Q&A: Recovery in the Right Place

We provide skilled, hospital-supported help for addiction.

Dr. Anil Sharma Since 1975, the Recovery Center at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro has been helping the chemically dependent to overcome addiction, treating it as the disease it is. In June, Anil Sharma, MD, behavioral health medical director for Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro and Torrance and a UCLA assistant clinical professor of psychiatry, became the medical director for the center. He describes the center’s compassionate and evidence-based approach to recovery.

When should someone consider seeking care to recover from addiction?

A lot of times, it’s not the patients but friends or families who identify that patients are behaving differently and need help. They may be sad, withdrawn, absent from work, have legal or financial trouble, sleep longer or become irritable or erratic. Health symptoms can include weight loss or gain and changes in eating habits or hygiene. When patients come to us, we do extensive evaluations, including consulting with family and friends.

What services does the Recovery Center provide?

We offer inpatient detox for five to seven days for those who have been dependent on alcohol or drugs for a long time. When they stop, their withdrawal symptoms can range from discomfort to seizures, and in extreme cases coma or death can result. That’s why they need medical care for what we call a “safe and supervised withdrawal.” Once detox is completed, we may recommend they go into live-in rehab at the Recovery Center for about 30 days, where they attend multiple group and individual sessions to learn skills to stay clean and sober. About 30% to 40% of patients choose to go home after detox, and, depending on their needs, we recommend different levels of outpatient services. With our Intensive Outpatient Services (IOP), patients receive the same types of services as in rehab but attend for nine hours over three days per week for about four to eight weeks at the center. Also, we consider recovery a lifelong process, so we guide all our patients through the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

What makes the center distinctive from other substance abuse facilities?

We are one of only a few hospital-based programs in Southern California and the only one in the South Bay. It’s an important characteristic, because detox can be very risky if not done in a hospital setting. At the center we can put patients in the hospital’s ICU if they’re going through severe withdrawal effects like delirium tremens, a serious but temporary side effect from alcohol withdrawal. And we can consult with the many hospital specialists who are available. Unlike some other facilities, we also accept patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

How can people get more information and reach out to the Recovery Center for help?

They can call social workers or intake people 24/7 at 310-241-4021. We are open to patients from all over Los Angeles County, but particularly the South Bay.

For more information about the Recovery Center, call 310-241-4021.