At Bella Monte, we don’t only treat individual symptoms. Every aspect of a person, including their culture, upbringing, and history, is considered. This article talks about our whole-person approach and how looking at the entire person can help them heal on a deeper level.
What It Means to Treat the Whole Person
When a person enters treatment, they often have complicated reasons why they developed an addiction in the first place. Every single person has their own story about how they got here. Not one story is the same. People come from diverse backgrounds that influence how they think, feel, and behave. In addiction treatment, the entire individual needs to be considered. Treating the whole person involves not only getting to know the person on a deeper level, but learning with them what works best for their treatment plan, and then adjusting when necessary.
Why Surface-Level Treatment Doesn’t Work
When treatment only focuses on the symptoms of addiction, it ignores the reasons behind the addiction. Sure, it might be easy to only treat a person’s symptoms and then have them move on, but what good does that really do?
It Only Addresses Symptoms
In order for treatment to be successful, it needs to go beyond the addiction itself, and even beyond mental illness symptoms, and focus on the underlying causes. For example, a person with an addiction isn’t just dealing with an addiction. They might also deal with depression and anxiety symptoms as well. Then just below that, they might deal with symptoms of depression and anxiety because of a history of instability, or a current toxic living situation. The whole-person approach allows you to uncover these deeper reasons so that they can be addressed instead of ignored.
People Are Multi-Faceted
People are complicated. There are many different sides to a person and ways their past and upbringing influenced them. Surface-level treatment doesn’t explore those sides, and instead only focuses on one part of that person and one part of their life. This doesn’t help the individual truly understand themselves and their situation. This can lead to incorrect assumptions about themselves and overgeneralizations about their addiction experience.
Multiple Factors Influence Addiction
Addiction doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There are plenty of risks that can lead to addiction that might go ignored if only the surface is uncovered. These risks include things like genetics, family history, personal history, stress, mental health, and environmental influences. There still isn’t a definitive cause of addiction, but there are certain things that can put you at a higher risk for addiction. Knowing about these factors increases the success of recovery. If your environment played a factor in addiction, that’s important to know during recovery. If genetics played a role, then that’s important information for family members who could also be at risk for addiction and not even know it.
The Benefits of the Whole-Person Approach
Each person that seeks help for addiction comes with a complex history that is uniquely their own. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work for people coming from different backgrounds, who have experienced different upbringings, and who have varying levels of support. The whole-person approach to treatment allows for each individual to adhere to a treatment plan that will address their specific mental, emotional, and physical needs.
Gets Behind the Why
Since addiction doesn’t exist in a vacuum, there are reasons behind substance use and how a person got there. Instead of focusing only on the addiction itself, you are able to trace back your steps and explore your personal history. You’re able to look at the bigger picture. Often, the reasons a person started substance use can be connected, even if these connections aren’t obvious. Your physical health can influence your mental health, and your mental health can influence your spiritual health. Whole-person healing considers all of these factors and why they are impacting the individual the way they are.
Allows for Deep Change
Knowing why you are struggling with addiction can help you heal on a much deeper level than focusing on only the addiction itself. You might have a history of trauma, or you might not have the best coping mechanisms for when things become too stressful. With the whole-person approach, you are able to look at that and rethink how you have lived your life up to this point. There might even be things that you aren’t even aware of. It’s common for people to realize things about their behavior that they never thought about before. For example, a person looking deeply at why they have an addiction might not connect that reason to past trauma or burnout from work.
Can Be Adjusted for the Individual
When you’re treating the whole person, you can change the treatment plan to fit the person’s needs. You can choose what parts to focus on, what problems need to be solved, and where healing needs to happen. You aren’t limited to following a specific program. A whole-person approach considers a person’s interests, experiences, and ways of thinking when developing a plan that works.
The whole-person approach doesn’t treat everyone as if they were the same. Each person is incredibly different. Addiction treatment shouldn’t follow a one-size-fits-all approach, because that misses the deeper reasons behind a person’s addiction. Knowing the deeper reasons behind addiction allows for more meaningful healing that is more likely to be sustainable in the long run. By treating the whole person, the person struggling with addiction can see how everything is connected. They can know how their history influenced their substance use, and what steps they need to take in order to fully heal. Bella Monte treats our clients with a whole-person approach. The history, upbringing, and culture of our clients matter when it comes to their care. People are complicated, and so is addiction. If you would like to learn more about our whole-person approach to care, call us today at (800) 974-1938.