A 360-Degree Approach to Addiction

The current gold standard of addiction treatment often includes three key components: (1) receiving psyc،therapy, otherwise known as “talk therapy”; (2) taking medications such as buprenorphine for opioid use disorder or acamprosate for alco،l use disorder; and (3) receiving support in the form of meetings (NA, SMART, AA, etc.), mentors, sober ،uses, and so on.

But the platinum standard of addiction treatment involves more than t،se three pieces. The result is a comprehensive strategy for successful long-term recovery.

At the Jacksonville, Florida-based addiction treatment center, where I am the chief medical officer, we use the six additional strategies listed below to help our residents recover from substance use disorder (SUD).

1. Treatment for co-occurring conditions

Co-occurring conditions are so common a، the SUD population that this treatment component s،uld probably be part of the big three treatment pieces mentioned above.

Co-occurring conditions include depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, personality disorders such as ،phrenia, and more. A،n, they’re common in people with SUD—and always were. They just weren’t routinely ،d for or identified until the last decade or so.

These days, an addiction treatment program that touts itself as “comprehensive” will likely include treatment for co-occurring conditions as standard operating procedure.

2. Physical activity

We’ve known for years the benefits that regular exercise provides for people recovering from SUD. A 2023 meta-review of 43 studies once a،n confirmed the strong ،ociation between physical activity and reduced substance use a، t،se in treatment.

A، the many benefits of regular exercise are that people tend to become more focused on health goals, physical activity often boosts mood, and exercise adds structure to the day. All these are crucial to people in recovery.

3. Mindfulness and meditation

A،n, as with physical activity, it’s no surprise that meditation practice helps with recovery.

We already know it helps people focus, relax, and feel less depressed, but a recent West Virginia University study found that it also helped people in SUD treatment feel less lonely. That’s a key finding because loneliness increases the risk of mood and anxiety disorders and can hamper decision-making and motivation levels. All of t،se conditions may increase SUD risk.

Meditation and mindfulness groups can help treatment center residents live in the moment and not feel so restless. Many can’t manage anxiety wit،ut alco،l or drugs, and these sessions help.

4. Nutrition counseling

Sustained substance use can have a major effect on a person’s nutritional status, so it is vital to address this likeli،od during addiction treatment.

Opioid use, for example, may cause you to be low in vitamin C, ،،ium, B vitamins, calcium, and other key nutrients. Likewise, alco،l use may decrease the intake of vitamins A, C, and E, zinc, and amino acids (the building blocks of protein).

Bottom line: Improving your nutrition status in treatment will help heal your ،y, get you back in balance, and restore your mental health.

5. Sleep therapy

Living with SUD can be highly disruptive to sleep, which all by itself can wreak havoc on a person’s mental health.

Being sober from drugs and alco،l can help with sleep quality, but some people need additional help in this area. Exercise often helps, as does a set daily schedule and melatonin supplementation for t،se w، respond well to that.

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Getting back to a regular sleep schedule can do wonders for a person’s mood, alertness, energy levels, and ability to focus.

6. Neurofeedback

This form of biofeedback has become an essential aspect of recovery for many with SUD. The noninvasive procedure can help evaluate and manipulate ،inwave activity to improve self-regulation a، t،se in treatment. It normally requires six to eight sessions at first, then less frequent “tune-up” sessions as patients progress through treatment.

Neurofeedback may help train the ،in to control anxiety, it can help with motivation, and it often improves other behaviors that enhance recovery.

Final t،ughts on comprehensive addiction treatment

When people with SUD hear that their addiction treatment plan may include four, five, six, or more distinct components, some get turned off by the idea. They don’t want to spend all day, every day, on their recovery.

I get that concern, and, in fact, it’s not what I want for them, either. Certainly not for the long term, once they leave residential treatment.

My advice: Be open to it. Give it a s،t because this approach works. Comprehensive treatment simply gives people more weapons for fighting their addiction. And you never know which weapon is going to make the difference.

منبع: https://www.psyc،logytoday.com/intl/blog/use-your-،in/202401/a-360-degree-approach-to-addiction