Kathryn Leanne Dalton, a MUN School of Pharmacy graduate student recently published some outcomes of her research as a collection of essays, published by “Breakwater books”. Kathryn, who is from St. John’s, Newfoundland obtained an undergraduate degree in Neuroscience and Mental Health from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. After completing her Bachelor’s, she decided to return home to Newfoundland for a Master of Science degree in Pharmacy at Memorial University. Her research interests are in Neuroscience and Mental Health, with a focus on addiction.
“Ultimately the goal of my research interests is to discover the best treatment options for those with addiction. “-Kathryn Dalton
Speaking on the motivation and reason behind choosing this area of research, she said “Treatment programs typically operate a ‘one size fits all’ approach, meaning that someone aged 18 is treated the exact same as someone aged 40,50,60, etc. Individuals between the ages of 18-25, also referred to as emerging adults, are recently being viewed as their own distinct age group due to the fact that they have very different lives than their older and younger counterparts, and our brains are not fully developed until age 25.”
“This has implications in the onset of addiction and also in the treatment outcomes of addiction in this population. This is demonstrated in the fact emerging adults have the highest rate of addiction compared to any other age group and drop out of treatment a lot earlier than those aged 26+. The reason I want to focus on emerging adults with addictions is [because] it appears they are falling through the gaps of health care and may require different treatment plans, and my research aimed to identify which treatment worked best for [them].”
Kathryn’s passionate approach to her research led to the discovery that “effective addiction treatment for emerging adults is similar to effective treatment for all ages. However, emerging adults may require more support and understanding as they are sometimes more challenging to treat because of their unique differences. Hence based on my research, it was discovered that specific policy recommendations to improve treatment for emerging adults include tailoring addiction programming to the developmental needs of emerging adults, flexible programming for emerging adults, increased staff and family education, and involving health care professionals in the design of addiction programs could make a lot of difference to treatment outcomes.”
The success of her research led to her findings being included in a compilation of essays, edited by Dr. Douglas Gosse. A process Kathryn described as “exciting and through which I learned a lot about academic writing.”
Kathryn hopes that her contribution in the book “can help reduce the stigma associated with addiction.”
” I hope my contribution can help policymakers view emerging adults as a distinct population, and ultimately improve addiction treatment and give emerging adults the opportunity to become active members of society and as a result improve their quality of life. ” She added.
“I thoroughly enjoy this work and I have a big passion for helping those with addictions. So, enjoying what I do as well as the hope that my work can improve the lives of an emerging adult struggling with addiction is what helped me stay motivated during this process.”
On the next steps for her as a researcher and author, she had this to say. ” I hope to continue in the field of addiction treatment research by doing a Ph.D. and eventually working as a professor and researcher in an academic setting. “
“About Face- essays on recovery, therapies and controversies of addictions in Canada” is available on the Breakwater books website and on Amazon.