Holistic Approach

Behaviorial health center looks for medical issues

By Martin Lenkowsky

Undiagnosed medical problems can be an invisible barrier when addressing addiction and other types of behavioral health, which is why the Florida House Experience takes a broad look at its clients.

Chief medical officer and physician Ahmed Howeedy describes FHE as being much more than a standard behavioral health disorder treatment center. “We treat other medical conditions as well,” he says. “We have a full medical staff. We can follow patients with other medical issues.”

FHE specializes in treating addictive disorders as well as other behavioral health diagnoses, such as mood disorders, depression, anxiety and traumatic disorders. Howeedy says many mental health disorders can have underlying—often, undiagnosed and untreated—physical problems as well. FHE says addressing all of a patient’s problems, both mental and physical, is important in the road to recovery.

“We have a full-time medical staff,” he says. “We do PFTs [pulmonary function tests] for breathing problems, chest X-rays, and IVs for hydration. We look at if there are any medical conditions that might be contributing, or are there medical conditions that have resulted? We believe in optimizing the health of the body. There’s a direct correlation with the health of the brain.”

FHE is an accredited, 202-bed health care institution, located at 505 S. Federal Highway in Deerfield Beach. It has a sister facility, Sunlight Recovery Center, in Boca Raton.

Howeedy says behavioral health issues often lead to other medical conditions. “Most patients who come here haven’t seen a doctor in a while,” he says, “and it’s wearing down the body, and affecting the brain. We have to address all of it.”

For example, a 25-year-old chronic drug user might develop cardiac, gastrointestinal and breathing problems. Howeedy says it’s not uncommon for this type of patient to have secondary physical problems, including uncontrolled diabetes, “which will directly affect everything else. It will directly affect the mental status. Our goal is we want to optimize long-term health.”

Unfortunately, he says, addiction treatment centers often are not successful. There’s a nationwide 80 percent relapse rate.

FHE serves not only as a behavioral health treatment center, it’s heavily involved in treating future generations of health care workers. It is affiliated with multiple universities, including the University of Miami, Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University and Barry University. Students are trained in social work, nursing, as well as master-level family and psychiatric nurse practitioners.

FHE’s philosophy is that one’s state of the mind is directly related to one’s brain health. The brain is not sitting on an island of its own, but rather is part of an intricate system in communication with the entire body. The health of the brain affects the health of the whole body, with the opposite being true as well.

Howeedy says FHE has played a positive role in contributing to the overall mental and physical well-being of the surrounding community. It’s opened an outpatient clinic for use by the entire community. He says full, continued care—mental and physical—is available to former patients as well. “It’s a great resource,” he says, adding it provides a patient who might have relapsed a place to go.

“We do primary, integrated clinic treatment. We integrate treatment for behavioral and physical conditions,” he says. “Our clinic can provide these. We can screen people for depression.” ♦

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.