Your body and your mind – if one isn’t healthy, the other won’t be for long. “Holistic” medicine as it is known today tackles this challenge, taking an approach to healing that incorporates every part of a patient’s health into account.
That means taking both the physical and the mental aspects of health into account when formulating a healthcare plan. In addiction recovery, it’s important to tackle not only what the addiction does to your mind, but what it does to your body, as well. Recovering from addiction requires a stable emotional core, a keen sense of self-esteem, and a reversal of the damage done by bad coping mechanisms.
However, to assess how addiction has affected and changed someone – and how far they must go to step out of its bounds and regain their life – an individualized and holistic approach is necessary. This means approaching addiction recovery through diet, through exercise, through therapy, and other treatment methods such as mindfulness and sober living.
How much exercise, what kind of diet, what form of therapy – these are questions that can only be adequately answered through professional personalized care.
What is Personalized Care?
Personalized care is the antithesis to approaching a problem with a cookie-cutter solution, particularly in cases like addiction treatment where recovering patients are often sent through a “proven” system rather than an individualized form of care. Personalized medicine is easily confused with personalized care, but there is a difference – personalized medicine is a medicine developed through the genetic material derived from a patient.
For example, stem cells retrieved from embryos. The medical and spiritual debate around that form of medicine is separate to the usefulness of personalized care, which involves diagnosing a recovering patient as just that, a patient with a mental and physical condition that requires a treatment they can adapt to their lifestyle for the long-term.
Not everyone can complete the 12 steps, nor does everyone’s belief system align with that brand of recovery. Some do better in therapy with a single professional, while others respond better to group activities, meetings, and developing bonds and relationships with others in the recovery program. Some can get out of rehab and confront their issues with the conviction needed to jump back into the responsibilities of life, like a single major wake-up call. Others require help, through outpatient treatment programs and other post-rehab programs, to get their life back on track in a way that best suits them.
That’s where personalized care jumps in – residential treatment centers, outpatient treatment programs, and other quality recovery professionals will put the onus on developing something for the patient, and not putting the patient in a situation where they must adapt to the program. There is one exception to the rule, and that would be sober living – a treatment philosophy where recovering patients live in an environment designed to keep them focused on their new responsibilities out of rehab, utilizing strict scheduling to build self-esteem and accountability, and remove the use of addiction by replacing it with functional, purpose-filled life.
Where this sort of approach doesn’t work, personalized outpatient care helps those fresh out of rehab get the help they need to stay on their feet in the first few weeks of recovery while looking for work, getting back into school and focusing on filling out their life with new hobbies and interests to replace addiction and declare it obsolete. A big part of effective personalized care involves addressing not just the issue of addiction, but a patient’s entire mental and physical health.
Combining the Mental and Physical in Recovery
For many, addiction is a test of life. Overcoming it may be the hardest thing anyone will ever accomplish, going against their own will and mental programming to accomplish what they really want, against what the brain thinks it wants. To do that, and to successfully create a mental and physical environment wherein you can resist the old habit and nagging temptation of another drink or another hit, you need to remove every reason to skip back to addiction.
Relapses happen quite often in cases of recovery, and this may be due to the chronic nature of addiction as a brain disease. However, many recovery programs don’t address the invasive nature of addiction and the way it requires a healthy body and a healthy psyche to resist. Being clean and staying clean is one thing, but finding a purpose and a reason to stay clean is quite another.
Healthy eating, regular exercise and regular visits to your personal physician will not only keep you in shape, and feeling good about yourself, but it’ll also improve your mood, help you manage your emotions, reduce mood swings and deal with the drastic shift in emotions common during early periods of recovery, where a patient is readjusting to life outside of rehab.
Therapy – whether in a group or one-on-one – can help address deeper issues past a patient’s addiction, such as their fears, anxiety, and worries regarding weakness, any shame or regret they harbor, and the bitterness they might experience living a sober life. It can also help them regulate their emotions, and stay positive even in times of heavy stress.
Addiction Does Require Healing
Addiction recovery is the basic terminology used for treatment from addiction – the idea is that you’re recovering from the physical, emotional, and psychological effects of brain disease. But healing is another way to describe the recovery process, because you’re actively tending to deep inner wounds caused by or partially to blame for the addiction.
It’s not enough to be off the drugs – you need to heal your mind from the effects of addiction by confronting its aftermath. While addiction can develop in anybody regardless of mental health, emotional fortitude, satisfaction, and lifestyle, often addiction is coupled with serious issues such as anxiety and depression either before or after the habit developed.
Your care will look different from that of another person. You cannot expect an introvert to thrive in a group setting, and you cannot expect someone with a high sports drive to be satisfied with art therapy. Some people go through addiction without depression, anxiety, or any other mental issues. Others struggle to maintain a healthy body image due to a genetic issue, disability, or constant stress at home and/or at work. Every situation is different, with its own unique set of challenges and factors – personalized care is the only way to ensure everyone gets the treatment they deserve and need.