by Dr. Mark Burdick
International Expert Mental Health & Education Consultant
My answer is a qualified, “yes” for the following reasons: isolation, distance from historic and family relationships, lack of orientation or unfamiliarity with places, lack of access to resources such as doctors and other health practitioners (chiropractors, spiritual care, etc.) and lack of meaningful relationships within a foreign-feeling place.
For all of these reasons expats are more likely to turn to substances, like drinking or prescription drugs.
I have two types of experiences that qualify me as an expert. First, life experience. Once upon a time my family moved to Dubai. My father worked for an international oil company, which required him to make a move that my mother was never truly in favor of doing. I would visit them in their expat enclave during holidays from private boarding school in Europe. I saw their group of friends drinking a lot, and later dying from alcohol related illness. Another type of experience is my international professional experience. I live and work as the American Psychologist here in The Netherlands and in the UK with many expats who suffer from the illness of addiction, or related mental pain.
What I saw as an expat family member is now what I commonly see as a professional working with communities of expats: lack of meaningful relational activities and lack of access to help, makes people more susceptible to drinking and using drugs such as prescription medications. It affects their health, relationships with partners, family members and friends. Unfortunately, the amount of abuse is profound.
If you answered YES to any one of these questions, then you, your family member, your friend is ‘at risk’, and needs help.
Seek out a psychologist or mental health provider to assist in an evaluation. Guidance comes out of an evaluation, and sometimes provides insightful information beyond instinct. Certainly your general physician can provide a referral, if one is needed for domestic insurance and to access a health care provider or rehabilitation program.
Triora is one place to certainly consider to see if it’s a fit. I also refer some patients to Triora for specific reasons. I would be happy to speak with you about my experiences and expertise. Don’t wait: take the first step. Simply contact me via email, or phone.
Lastly, I want to conclude by saying: thank you for taking care of yourself! It means a lot to your family, friends, and community.
Dr. Burdick is a clinical psychologist with a practice in Amsterdam (Herengracht 282 Amsterdam, 1016 BX), where he serves expats in the Netherlands and Europe with treatment and/or as an interventionist.
Triora’s addiction care is one of the most successful ways to overcome addiction. Using the unique Triora Model, we treat body, mind and soul to help you and your loved ones regain a meaningful life. Our professional staff provide discrete inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation to people like you from the pleasant surroundings of our private recovery clinics in Alicante and Malaga, Spain.