Tuesday, August 1, 2017

What Does Taking an Integrative Approach to Treatment Mean?

What Does Taking an Integrative Approach to Treatment Mean?


To integrate means to unify separate things. For many years mental health has been seen as purely mental health, ignoring the possibility that what happens in the brain could affect any other area of life. The brain is the epicenter of life, the hub of everything that makes a human a human. In the brain there are countless functions happening all the time, like communication with the nervous system. Central nervous system functions are occurring all over the body all of the time. Not treating everything that the brain communicates with, for example the body, is neglectful care. Drug and alcohol abuse highlight this.

Drugs can be central nervous system depressants or central nervous system stimulants, for example. Substances are labeled this way in order to clarify understanding of how they interact with the brain and the body. The body is holistic, meaning the every part of the body, like the brain and the physical form, for example, are intimately connected. Today words like “integrative” and “holistic” have a connotation of “alternative” relating more to natural forms of treatment and medicine. Ironically, taking an integrative approach to treatment is more natural, because the body and the brain are naturally connected. Substance use disorders, mental health disorders, compulsive behavioral disorders- all of these holistically affect mind and body. Stress, for example, is something we often talk about as isolated in either mind or body. We feel stressed in our mind, and we feel stress in our bodies. Yet, it is the same stress, and we often treat it differently.

Taking an integrative approach to treatment means ceasing to compartmentalize mental health disorders like drug and alcohol addiction. Rather than purely treat the brain and isolate addiction or another disorder, the integrative approach treats the whole (holistic) person, bringing together every part of them.

Integrative treatment is important because the healing brain supports the body and the healing body supports the brain. There is, of course, a spiritual component as well which is transcendent of mind and body. Exercise, for example, is a meditative practice which helps the physical body gain strength and detoxify. Exercise is also proven to reduce stress as well as symptoms of depression, anxiety, and cravings. This, exercise is a holistic practice.

The philosophy of integrative treatment is as strong as the clinical approach itself. Many who struggle with mental health disorders feel entirely defined by their mental health disorder singularly. They forget that there is more to them than their addiction, their depression, their sexual compulsions, or whatever their specific issues are. Integrative treatment helps clients remember that they are more than their diagnosis- they are not defined by their diagnosis, but their diagnosis is a part of them, a part which is actively being healed.

Cottonwood Tucson has gained international critical acclaim for an integrative approach to treating co-occurring disorders. Our proven clinical programs help heal mind and body while each client embarks on a spiritual journey to recovery. Call us today for information on our residential treatment programs: (800) 877-4520

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