Wraparound Care: The Benefits of Whole-Person Mental Health and Addiction Treatment
Sep 12, 2022
Mental wellness and physical wellness go hand-in-hand. Over the past few years, that idea has become crystal clear. I have been so pleased to see more open conversations about the role of mental health in whole-person care. Still, I fear we risk missing a vital part of the conversation if we do not specifically talk about mental health together with addiction.
I have had the honor and privilege of working at CleanSlate since early 2018. Our centers have helped thousands of people diagnosed with opioid use disorders and/or alcohol use disorders. Over time, we have come to understand and appreciate the multitude of complex conditions someone may face when seeking addiction treatment. Many of our patients simultaneously struggle with addiction and mental health conditions—something known in the industry as “dual-diagnosed.”
The fact is, some of us have led incredibly hard lives and/or suffered from some type of trauma. Trauma can be associated with a variety of events, such as a difficult childhood or maybe a veteran who has been through a war. Regardless of the cause, the aftereffects of trauma do not just go away. They must be dealt with carefully.
That is why it is so important to treat the whole person. To succeed in addiction recovery, we must address the core mental health issues that could have caused someone to begin using or drinking in the first place.
Focus on mental health first
Our goal at CleanSlate is to save lives by getting our patients into treatment, then helping them achieve long-term recovery. Initially, we focused on a clinically proven treatment method called Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). While MAT is highly effective in treating substance use disorders, it does not address other elements of addiction.
For people with a dual diagnosis, our experienced team collaborates with them to create treatment plans that start by addressing their mental health disorders. This is critically important to understand. Too many times, I have seen patients ignore their mental health issues and focus solely on their addiction because they felt it caused the most damage to their health and relationships. While that logic makes sense, in my personal experience, patients struggle to stay sober when they do not deal with their underlying mental health conditions. Why? It’s simple. Until a patient has been properly treated for their mental health conditions, they have a very slim chance of achieving long-term recovery.
As a person who has been dual-diagnosed and in recovery for 18 years, I can speak first-hand about the need for holistic “wraparound” treatment, followed by continued support in long-term recovery.
I am recovering from addiction to pain medication and other drugs, including alcohol. I also suffer from mental health conditions, including severe attention deficit with hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). At first, I thought my addiction was something that needed to be treated on its own. However, over time, I have learned that my mental health issues play an incredibly large role in my addiction as well as my sobriety.
That is why wraparound treatment and ongoing support are essential for me, and for hundreds of thousands of others.
Support long-term recovery
Sometimes, the first part of treatment for a dual diagnosis is medication to help someone clear their mind enough to grasp what recovery from addiction is all about. Unfortunately, many people mistakenly believe they will not truly be “sober” if they take some form of medication to treat their mental health condition(s). That is simply not true!
Taking medication for mental health conditions is perfectly okay but should be carefully assessed by trusted providers. As patients’ circumstances change, they should work with their doctors to find the best treatment options for their unique conditions. By combining mental and physical recovery, following doctors’ treatment instructions, and taking medicines as prescribed, patients can integrate recovery into every aspect of their lives.
The good news is that there is genuine hope for people dealing with a dual diagnosis. Treatment of the core mental health issues that may have led to the initial use of alcohol and drugs can, in turn, support the treatment of substance use disorders. Full, whole-person, wraparound services like those offered by CleanSlate offer a real chance to achieve meaningful, long-term recovery.
About Brent Holliman, MBA
As Senior Director of Application Development & Security at CleanSlate, Brent develops and implements innovative software solutions to improve employee and patient experiences. He managed the international team that built Ares, CleanSlate’s innovative EMR system, and now serves on the CEO’s Cabinet, where he helps shape and implement the company’s business strategy.
Before joining CleanSlate in 2018, Brent worked as Application Development Manager at Century Aluminum and as Director of Product Architecture for HealthStream, Inc. Brent received his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix and his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Belmont University.