Addiction (chemical dependency or compulsive-behavioral) results from the reward pathway gone awry and is not a disease of morality. The neurobiology of addiction is often interwoven with psychiatric disorders and can also cause physical health problems. Dual diagnosis (addiction + mental health disorder) is common but can be challenging to tease-out and treat effectively. I have over fifteen years of collective experience serving roles as as a psychiatrist, medical director, and consultant for several local community organizations providing comprehensive and integrated services for adolescents and adults with serious addictions and related psychiatric and medical conditions.
"Fall seven times and stand up eight." —Japanese Proverb
Holistic or integrative psychiatry blends principles of allopathic (traditional) psychiatry and functional medicine. Functional medicine focuses on pathways of cellular metabolism that are influenced by nutrition, movement, mindfulness, sleep, and emotional regulation. Creating balance among these pillars often leads to optimizing health and wellness, can minimize the number or dosing of medication(s), and can even result in resolving psychiatric and related physical health issues.
During the initial assessment, elements of emotional, mental, and physical health are explored to best understand origins of concern or dysfunction. Thoughtful consideration of psychiatric and physical symptoms in the context of current quality of nutrition, relationships, stress, productivity, and spirituality (or self-reflection) is essential for optimizing treatment plans and goals for health. Integrative psychiatry works best with active- collaboration between the provider and client/patient, because treatment plans often nudge toward active changes in behavior(s) and/or perception(s) that can assist with healthy and sustained changes in the brain and body.
"We turn not older with years, but newer every day." —Emily Dickinson
Violence, trauma, and abuse often result in functional impairment and are linked to serious health issues that affect both the body and the brain. Those who have experienced violence, trauma, and/or abuse may experience psychiatric, cardiovascular, autoimmune, addiction, and hormone disorders, among others. Resolving trauma-related symptoms allows for improving function and often healing the neurobiological pathways associated with the long-term effects of unresolved trauma. Integrating therapeutic principles, medications, and functional medicine can optimize healing, allow recovery and build resiliency. Collaborating with therapists who are skilled in trauma-resolution techniques is often part of the treatment plan when complex trauma is present. Most importantly, learning to treat one's self with gentleness and kindness allows for deeply integrated healing.
“Don’t look for miracles. You, yourself, are the miracle.” —Henry Miller