“People don’t get sick the way they used to,” said Dr. Gary Patton with Patton Clinic. “The way people are getting sick now is so different. The idea here at Patton Clinic is not just to treat illness and addiction, but to try to get to wellness and happiness. So getting better isn’t just getting over being sick; it’s changing your life in a way that helps you stay well.”
Patton Clinic offers treatment for patients with addictions and psychiatric illness. Its specialties include weight-loss counseling, opioid addiction treatment , alcohol dependence treatment and occupational psychiatry, including fitness for duty evaluations.
These comprehensive psychiatric and addiction treatment strategies are provided in the clinic’s beautifully decorated offices at 2704 Old Rosebud Road, Suite 230, in Lexington. The rooms are painted in subtle, soothing colors, and many of the pieces of art displayed in the waiting room and other rooms at the clinic are creations by former patients.
The clinic, which opened in 2011, prides itself on offering a patient-centered atmosphere that promotes wellness and balance. It practices psychiatric services that promote flourishing mental health for any individual, whether they are dealing with everyday stresses, weight loss, loss of loved ones or medical issues or are suffering from addictions to drugs and alcohol. The staff “strives to provide the science of medicine with the art of living well.”
A success story
Like many other people, Lauren had experimented with different kinds of drugs during high school. And like many other people, she never dreamed she would become addicted.
“I didn’t get addicted until I was probably 20,” she said. “You don’t expect that’s going to happen. You’re using every day out of fun, and one day you wake up and you don’t have anything and you’re sick and you realize your body is depending on that drug. Six months into using, I knew I was addicted.”
She kept telling herself that she was just using a low dosage of her drug of choice and it was still affordable; that was her excuse for not giving it up. When she finally realized she needed help, she tried different avenues to get clean. None of them worked.
“I looked into different rehab programs for detox and backed out every single time,” she said. “For about a year and a half I was trying different methods and really trying hard. I knew I wanted to quit and needed to quit. I had been hospitalized. In the hospital, they were treating me with a blood pressure medication. That’s what they were going to use in the rehabs, and I just knew it wasn’t going to take me out of my sickness.”
She also tried Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, but these programs didn’t prove beneficial either.
“I was using when I went,” she said. “I think most of the people in those meetings are. A lot of them appear high or they probably go home and drink or use that night. I know because I was one of them. The 12-step program might work for some people, but it wasn’t necessarily my style.”
Her mother discovered Patton Clinic while doing research on rehab possibilities for Lauren. At Patton Clinic, she began taking Suboxone, a prescription medicine used for maintenance treatment of opioid dependence. Suboxone is specifically designed to discourage misuse and abuse.
“It’s a strip taken orally every day,” Lauren explained. It blocks receptors so if the patient is using opiates while taking Suboxone, they aren’t able to get high. It also moderates withdrawal so patients using it don’t get as sick.
Although it’s suggested patients stay on Suboxone for 18 months, Lauren was on it for only 11 months.
“I was really confident that I was ready to stop,” she said. “Over that 18 months, one learns to live without needing the drug and get back into everyday living activities and responsibilities.”
The clinic’s atmosphere, as well as the staff and Dr. Patton, appealed to Lauren.
“This is like a clean environment,” she said. “You don’t feel like a druggie when you’re in here and they don’t mistreat you. They’re not rude to you or anything. That’s important.”
Now 25, Lauren has been sober for a little over a year and feels wonderful and hopeful.
“Everything has changed,” she said. “I just see everything differently. I’m clear headed, I’m back in school and I’m working on my fitness. I’m kind of turning into a health freak now. I volunteer once a month at God’s Pantry. I’m just really happy. And I’ve quit smoking after 10 years, too.
“I credit Dr. Patton with a lot of it,” she added. “He was all I needed. He was very patient with me throughout everything and never gave up on me.”
Lauren stays in touch with Dr. Patton, seeing him once every three months. Her ordeal has helped her become a stronger, more focused person.
“You may be detoxed or cleansed of the actual drug in just 48 or 72 hours, but they say it takes a good 18 months for your mind to get back in the right state of mind and focus,” she said. “Talking to Dr. Patton step by step and him seeing me progress has been motivating, too.”
Lauren shares her story with friends who are in the same circumstances she once found herself in.
“I don’t talk a whole lot about it, but I have a couple of friends I’ve tried to reach out to and tell them what happened to me,” she said. “The problem is that everybody is in denial, and I know myself you’re not going to want help until you’re ready. Until then, you don’t want to hear about it, you don’t want to talk about it. So I just let my friends know what worked for me. I don’t push it because they block you. I know because I’ve been there.”
Making a Difference
Originally from Pikeville, Dr. Patton is a graduate of Transylvania University and the University of Kentucky, where he did his residency training in psychiatry. He has practiced in a variety of settings, including St. Joseph Hospital, Ridge and St. Claire in Morehead, as well as in a private practice.
“I’ve loved them all, but I’ve done addiction since 1975,” he said. His mantra about his work is simple: “You just have to be really happy at work and you have to be doing something that makes a difference.”
Dr. Patton is dedicated to hearing his patients’ stories and helping them cope with the different traumas they face. He prefers his clinical setting because he can make time to listen to every patient for as long as they need and want.
“You have to find out their life’s story and hear the amazing things and strengths they’ve had in the past that might pull them through or work to help them come up with new ways to cope,” he said. “Sometimes when people look at their own story, they start to see the solutions and the strengths they’ve had before.”
Dr. Patton believes in a holistic approach to health.
“People are getting physical, spiritual, and biological illnesses – they’re not inseparable,” he said. “There’s no part of your body that’s compartmentalized. You have to look the whole person.”
Sandy Davidson, a licensed counselor, joined Patton Clinic because of the prevalence of substance abuse she saw all around her. “It just seemed to be where I was always pointed,” she said. “It’s a desire of mine to break that cycle of abuse as much as I can.”
She is very much on board with Dr. Patton’s approach to mental health. “He doesn’t just want to treat the behavioral problem,” she said. “He wants to figure out what started it and get into that and fix that. That’s my primary purpose here. It was a God thing that brought me here and I love it.”
CT Barnham manages the business side of the clinic so the staff can concentrate on helping the patients.
“The ultimate goal is to ensure Dr. Patton can help the most people he can to get on the right direction,” he said. “That’s the primary focus. Let him do what he does best, which is helping people, and we’ll handle the business part of it.”
Alesha Akers handles patient relations, bill paying and operations for the clinic, making sure there’s a flow, and especially making sure the patients are taken care of.
“Every single person that works here brings something different to the table,” Alesha said. “I love waking up and coming to work.”
Administrative assistant Karen Wheeler, who check patients in and out and also helps with the drug screenings, feels the same way. “It’s a relaxed atmosphere,” she said. “I have worked in another Suboxone clinic and there is more care involved here. All the other clinic was worried about was getting their money. They weren’t worried about the patient. That makes a big difference. We’re all about helping the patient.”
Another important member of the Patton Clinic staff is Bear, a huge white dog that is often found lounging in the hall and is always available for a hug, pat or treat.
The patients appreciate the efforts Patton Clinic has made to give them a positive experience.
“One patient said, ‘I knew if there was anyplace where I could change, this would be a place where I would be safe enough to change,’” Dr. Patton recalled. “Another left a Post-it note on the door that just said, ‘You saved my life.’”
“We’re a conduit to them to help them put the pieces of their lives together,” Sandy said. “They’re the ones doing it. They’ve got the pieces of the puzzle; they just don’t know to put it together. We help them do it. We’re the ones that are blessed from it. Everybody wins.”
How to Contact
Patton Clinic, PLLC
2704 Old Rosebud Road, Suite 230
Lexington, KY 40509
Phone: (859) 317-9045
By Tanya J. Tyler, Associate Editor