November 7, 2013 6:42 pm
Updated: November 8, 2013 9:06 am

Is it time for Ford to consider rehab? Pressure mounts following violent video

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Video: Rob Ford issues yet another apology as a video of him swearing and ranting emerges. Jennifer Tryon has the story.

TORONTO – Just days after telling reporters that he was “in a drunken stupor” when he tried crack cocaine, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said he was “very, very inebriated” in a new video that shows him in an apparent rage.

On Thursday, the Toronto Star posted a video it had purchased, showing the mayor in a fit, slapping his legs and threatening to harm an unidentified person.

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READ MORE: New video surfaces of Rob Ford in apparent rage

“When he’s dead, I’ll make sure that mother—er…I need f—cking 10 minutes to make sure he’s dead.”

When speaking to reporters on Thursday, Ford wouldn’t clarify what the context of the video was, except to admit that he was “very, very inebriated” at the time.

For Dr. Oren Amitay, the video’s content was enough to raise red flags.

“That’s not a drunk person. He’s hyper-agitated, his whole body is high charged. That’s frenetic,” Amitay said.

Amitay is a Toronto-based registered psychologist and instructor at Ryerson University where he teaches the psychology of addictions.

READ MORE: Mayor Rob Ford admits to smoking crack cocaine

From his point of view, the past few months have been a downward spiral for Ford. His recommendation: Ford should seek professional help, specifically inpatient rehabilitation.

“He’s not able to control himself; he’s had lots of warning signs. When you’re in the denial phase and not ready to change, rehab forces you to look at your situation honestly,” Amitay said.

“I do think he needs time away,” he said.

READ MORE: What addiction experts are saying about Rob Ford’s crack cocaine admission

It’s been a tumultuous week for Ford, but this isn’t the first time experts have suggested he may need help. The mayor’s own chief of staff was fired last May after he urged Ford to “go away and get help,” according to reports.

Earlier this year, three councillors claimed Ford had a drinking problem and encouraged him to seek treatment.

Options available for rehab intervention

Seeking professional help can come in many different ways. Facilities offer inpatient treatment where addicts can have help around the clock, but 85 per cent of the time, people choose outpatient options, according to Paul McGary, director of Lakeridge Health’s Pinewood Centre.

Pinewood Centre has six treatment facilities across Toronto’s Durham region.

“When a person is starting to experience levels of problems in their lives and early indications are showing up that gives a sign that it’s time to do something about it,” he told Global News.

What worried McGary was Ford’s admission to trying crack cocaine, a highly addictive stimulant, while drinking.

During the rehabilitation phase, patients get assessed and could go through a detoxification before treatment, which could include education, counselling and therapy.

At Toronto’s Bellwood Health Services, addiction is treated in myriad ways.

“We look at the whole person, their physical health, emotional health, social health with family, work and the community, and their spiritual well-being. That’s understanding the quality and purpose of your life,” Linda Bell, CEO of the centre, told Global News.

To help patients learn to cope with life in healthier ways, patients take on reflection, group therapies, physical exercise, relaxation and even meditation. It could be a months- or years-long process.

“As you live each day in a program, you’re getting three square meals a day, you’re not getting involved in drugs or alcohol or what you use for coping, good sleep, good rest, good counselling. Your body starts to rebalance itself and you start to think more clearly and you start to get a handle of your life,” she explained.

“It’s like treating cancer. It’s like treating heart disease, you don’t just bring people in and they’re fixed,” she said. At Bellwood, when patients complete treatment, they commit to returning each week for checkups.

Why this expert says Ford could benefit from inpatient rehab

While not all patients commit to inpatient treatment, or they can’t leave their jobs, families and other responsibilities to do so, Amitay said inpatient treatment is worth considering for Ford.

This is for a number of reasons. Two of the biggest triggers for relapse are your environment – where and who you surround yourself – and stress, whether it comes from your job, your family or personal life. Inability to cope well with your emotions is typically correlated strongly with substance abuse.

If a patient isolates himself from his usual network, he could keep from seeking drugs. He’d also have time to reflect on who he spends his time with and how they influence him, Amitay said.

Being in the public eye doesn’t help either.

“Normally, you would think that having a job in the public or being high-profile would mean you know you’re under scrutiny. In such cases, some people are able to control their behaviour, as the risk of jeopardizing their career would be enough motivation,” Amitay said.

Amitay said this doesn’t seem to be enough for Ford. “Most people who cannot control their drug or alcohol use are harbouring a lot of shame, both before their substance issues began and afterward. At this point, Ford’s problems are being revealed to the entire world and this could make it much more difficult for him to deal with any longstanding and current shame. Being in the public eye could undermine his progress,” Amitay warned.

In the meantime, Ford conceded for the second time this week that he’s made mistakes.

“All I can do is reassure the people that…I don’t know what to say,” he said. “I saw a video. It’s extremely embarrassing. The whole world is going to see it,” he added.

“I hope none of you will ever be in that state.”

Video: Addiction counselor Mark Elliot talks about how Mayor Rob Ford’s erratic behavior over the past few days

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