Do We All Have Addictions? with Dr. Nzinga Harrison

Despite her credentials, Dr. Nzinga Harrison prides herself on being a “regular ol’ person who loves regular ol’ people”. While Nzinga wears many hats, you can find her spending her days as the Chief Medical Officer and Co-Founder of Eleanor Health – her outpatient treatment provider she started in 2019. Ever since she was young, Nzinga has had a heart for activism and advocacy, which comes out in her work at Eleanor Health. Her passion falls with people who’ve had their lives impacted by addiction and making sure they know how much their lives are worth. In today’s episode of Lift U Up: Inspiring Health Stories, we hear from Nzinga’s story from the moment she knew she wanted to pursue medicine, to finding her place to make a change.

There aren’t many of us who knew what we wanted to spend our life pursuing at the age of six, but for Nzinga that is exactly what happened. Very early in her life, she fell in love with science. When she recognized early-on that the doctors in her life, specifically her pediatrician, were missing something in their doctor-patient interactions with her, she decided that she could do better – so she set out to do so. Being in and out of doctors’ appointments growing up, Nzinga was able to get a clearer picture of what set doctors apart. She knew what she liked and what she didn’t. The main differentiating factor were the doctors who treated her like a person — and that’s the kind of doctor she wanted to be.

In Nzinga’s pursuit of a medical degree, she fell deeper in love with science, the more she learned. During her rotations, she experienced Psychiatry work for the first time and didn’t see much value at first. She questioned, “Where is the science?” and expected to move on. However, through that work, her eyes were opened to the connection between science and feelings, decision making, and behaviors.

Today, Nzinga and her team at Eleanor Health treat those affected by substance abuse through their value-based model. She sees her passion for activism and advocacy come alive each day as they are able to spread the message that even though addiction is impacting their patients’ lives, their lives are always worthwhile and they should feel heard.

What else can you expect in this episode?

  • The reason why the lack of personal touch in medicine is probably the fault of the Healthcare system as a whole.
  • How Nzinga first developed a passion for addiction treatment.
  • What is addiction, and how (mainly) everyone is affected by it to varying degrees.
  • Why the medical system is so negative towards addiction.
  • How COVID-19 increases the rates of addiction.

Where to find Nzinga:

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