It Takes a Village: Tackling the Complex Nature of Addiction

Recovery from addiction is not just about resolving physical dependence on drugs or alcohol. These substances also impact the brain and have an effect on virtually every aspect of a person’s life. Due to the complex nature of addiction, it takes more than just a single doctor providing treatment for recovery to take place. It takes many healthcare providers from all different areas of practice. April is National Interprofessional Health Care Month, and a great time to stop and recognize all of the people that contribute to addiction recovery and ongoing well-being.

Treating the Whole Person

Addiction usually does not occur on its own. It is often paired with a co-occurring disorder such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or eating disorders. This exacerbates the Complex Disease of addiction because there is a strong link between physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health. Substance use affects a person’s health, mood, finances, career, family, relationships, and much more.

In order to overcome addiction, it is essential to treat co-occurring disorders together and understand the full impact of mental health and substance use. Treating one condition but not the other can worsen symptoms and make recovery even more difficult and relapse more likely. For instance, detox as a standalone treatment is not enough because it does nothing to address the underlying reasons behind the substance abuse problem or change the person’s behavior.

Working Together for Recovery

For treatment to be effective, medical professionals must work together. That means creating teams that include:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Nutritionists
  • Peers

Each person plays an important role in recovery. Professionals should have ongoing communication where they collaborate on the individual’s treatment plan and adjust accordingly based on the person’s progress. For someone struggling with addiction and an eating disorder, a nutritionist may develop a healthy meal plan, but they must work together with a psychologist who helps improve the individual’s relationship with food and works with them to follow this plan.

Building a strong support system is critical so the individual in recovery knows who they can turn to and that they are not alone. It is important to build trust and have people standing beside them along each step of the way, whether it’s a doctor, family member, or peer who is also in recovery.

Keeping an Open Mind

There is no “quick fix” for addiction, and everyone’s journey is unique. Keeping an open mind and being willing to try different strategies is essential. An individual never knows what might work well for them even if it wasn’t as effective for someone they know. Be open to trying new things and working with professionals from across the healthcare spectrum in order to fully embrace recovery and address the many ways in which it impacts health and well-being.

Crossroads supports clients by creating a multidisciplinary team to address the various facets of addiction and how they impact recovery. Individualized treatment plans are created to help clients turn their lives around, overcome addiction, and develop healthier routines. From mental health to nutrition counseling to relapse prevention, Crossroads guides clients along each step of the way toward building a lifestyle of recovery and understanding the complex nature of addiction.