Healing the Brain at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab
When it comes to active addiction, we often see the physical turmoil that it does to our bodies. We can see how it can age us, affect our complexion, and cause damage to our overall strength and muscle structure. But addiction also takes its biological toll on those parts of our body that we cannot see, such as our livers, kidneys, blood composition, and circulatory systems. Often, we understand this to be true, but it becomes secondary because we do not physically see the damage on a day-to-day basis. This is why healing the brain in recovery is so crucial.
Healing the Brain: A Focus on the Biological
The Dalai Lama once said, “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” So then, what happens when that “temple” of the brain becomes damaged? Everything else begins to crumble. Not only do our personal philosophies and outlooks on life become hindered, but we also begin to lose our sense of self.
Now, yes, many of these more psychological aspects of recovery can be addressed via “traditional” addiction treatment means, such as therapy, psychotherapy, and other neuroscientific methods. However, without healing the brain on the biological level, all of these other treatments will begin without a solid foundation.
When we talk about the negative psychological effects that addiction can cause, we often discuss the cognitive and emotional mental health issues that reside inside the mind, but we forget about the biological environment in which the mind exists: the brain. This complex organ must be attended to and healed physically if a full comprehensive recovery from addiction is going to take place. To heal on the cellular level, there must be healing of the brain as well as healing of the mind.
Healing the Brain: What Do the Negative Biological Effects of Substance Abuse Look Like?
The damage that substance abuse can have on the brain can be substantial, and it is certainly more complex than those old commercials with the egg, the frying pan, and the slogan, “This is your brain on drugs.” As with most aspects of addiction, the biological damage that is done to the brain is more intricate than a simple “cause and effect” scenario, and there are countless clinical studies to validate this complexity.
According to the journal Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, “From a psychological and neurological perspective, addiction is a disorder of altered cognition. The brain regions and processes that underlie addiction overlap extensively with those that are involved in essential cognitive functions, including learning, memory, attention, reasoning, and impulse control.” Also, “Drugs alter normal brain structure and function in these regions, producing cognitive shifts that promote continued drug use through maladaptive learning and hinder the acquisition of adaptive behaviors that support abstinence.” So, not only does addiction affect the biology of the brain, but it does so in a way that ultimately promotes addictive behaviors to persist.
The damage that addiction has on the brain is cyclic. It affects the pathways of the brain to protect itself from any interruption to its continued presence. Then that uninterrupted addiction process continues over and over again, causing more and more damage and further engraining itself against any outside interventions. These shifts in neural pathways are not the only biological effects that addiction can have on the brain.
The Specific Parts of the Brain That Addiction Targets and Disrupts
According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Drugs can alter important brain areas that are necessary for life-sustaining functions and can drive the compulsive drug use that marks addiction.” These specific areas include the basal ganglia, which is critical for motivation-building and finding pleasure in activities such as socializing, eating, and intimacy. What happens is addiction skews the reward center located in this part of the brain by overstimulating it with repeated use. Soon, these occasions that were once found pleasurable become dulled by addiction.
Another area that the brain affects is called the extended amygdala, which is involved in how we handle stressors and how we cope with emotions such as anxiety and worry. When this area of the brain is affected by addiction, we become more sensitive to these emotions, and they become much more pronounced. This is when that cycle kicks in again because when addiction causes these anxieties to rise, it is substance use that is often employed to temper them.
Yet another region of the brain that addiction affects is known as the prefrontal cortex. According to NIDA, “The prefrontal cortex powers the ability to think, plan, solve problems, make decisions, and exert self-control over impulses. This is also the last part of the brain to mature, making teens most vulnerable. Shifting balance between this circuit and the circuits of the basal ganglia and extended amygdala makes a person with a substance use disorder seek the drug compulsively with reduced impulse control.” The prefrontal cortex is especially important to highlight if substance use started at a young age because the damage to this area can be deep-rooted and take more attention to heal.
Healing the Brain: How Can This Happen at the Cellular Level?
Now, the good news is that most, if not all, of the negative effects that addiction can have on the brain, can not only be reversed, but with certain treatments, brain functioning can actually be improved. The key is healing the brain in a comprehensive and multi-focused manner. This is what healing the brain on the cellular level is all about.
One of the biggest components of healing the brain on a biological level is giving the brain the resources it needs to recover. These resources include the nutrients that active addiction depletes not only the brain but the entire body. Now, these nutrients are the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that the brain needs to function at optimal levels. More good news is that with proper nutrition and supplement implementation, these nutrients can be fully restored.
Utilizing Nutrition to Heal the Brain
The fact of the matter is that even though it is widely known that nutrition can be a critical part of recovery, it often gets little focus in most treatment facilities. This is unfortunate because it robs individuals of the potential for a full recovery at the cellular level.
According to Doctors Jeynes and Gibson, in their article, The Importance of Nutrition in Aiding Recovery From Substance Use Disorders, “Supporting the nutritional status of individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) and drug use disorder (DUD) is often neglected or only a very small part of the recovery support offered by outpatient services. This is the case despite the fact that substance use disorders, in many cases, can lead to malnutrition, metabolic disorders that compromise nutrition, altered body composition, and poor mental health.” Thus, it is not hard to make the conclusion that any other form of treatment would be less effective if a lack of proper nutrition is present.
Jeynes and Gibson also conclude that “[N]utrition should be an important part of the treatment of substance use disorders; however, it is not given much consideration in treatment guidelines, despite evidence that recovery outcomes can be improved by nutrition therapy and well-balanced nutrient intake.” This is not the case here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab. We take nutrition very seriously, which is also why we offer such an extensive nutrition therapy program.
Understanding Nutrition Therapy
Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we have a saying; “Food is medicine.” This is not a new concept either. It goes back nearly 2,500 years when the forefather of medicine, Hippocrates, said, “Let Food be your Medicine and Medicine be your Food.” This concept is what is embodied in our nutritional therapy program.
While it may seem relatively straightforward, nutrition therapy is much more than simply “changing one’s diet.” It is about changing the entire culture around what we eat and how we eat. Also, it has a lot to do with what we don’t eat as much as what we do. According to the peer-reviewed article, New Approaches to Nutritional Therapy, “Nutritional Therapy uses food to prevent and reverse diseases that plague most Western societies: diabetes, obesity, heart disease, arthritis, and depression. In order for food to be therapeutic, it must be nutrient-dense, measured in part by the nutrients and anti-nutrients, contained in consumed foods.”
This focus on what we should and should not eat is a big part of why at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we keep registered and licensed nutritionists, dieticians, as well as a naturopathic doctor on-site at all times. Again, it is not simply about what we eat but about why we should eat the certain things that we do. These professionals help to educate so that the benefits of proper nutrition not only cause positive effects at the moment but continue to do so long into the recovery journey.
It should also be noted that due to our focus on nutrition and the employ of some of the most respected professionals in the field, Exclusive Hawaii Rehab is specifically licensed to treat eating disorders and eating disorders that co-occur with issues of addiction. Yet another exclusive aspect of what we have to offer.
Healing the Brain: Understanding the Benefits of a Health Gut Microbiome
Many of the positive effects that are felt in our nutritional therapy program are from our focus on what is known as “the gut-brain axis.” This is the clinically supported concept that there is a direct link between the health of the “gut” (more specifically, the gut microbiome) and the health of the brain. Also this includes the physical brain as well as its cognitive and psychological capacities.
According to Doctors Shreiner, Kao, and Young, in their article, The Gut Microbiome in Health and in Disease, “The human microbiome is composed of bacteria, archaea, viruses, and eukaryotic microbes that reside in and on our bodies. These microbes have tremendous potential to impact our physiology, both in health and in disease.” Also, “They contribute to metabolic functions, protect against pathogens, educate the immune system, and, through these basic functions, affect directly or indirectly most of our physiologic functions.” So, how can we best support these microbiotas and, in turn, the healing of our brain? The answer is through quality foods, many of which we grow right here on our 30-acre property.
Understanding the Benefits of Horticulture Therapy
Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we take our nutritional therapy program to the next level and supplement it with something relatively new to the mental health and addiction field: horticulture therapy. We not only introduce our clients to the proper food that we should intake for the highest levels of brain functioning and cellular healing, but we actually show them how to produce it themselves.
Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, our clients interact with their food on a molecular level. Just as we flourish and grow in recovery, we plant the seeds that ultimately nourish that growth. On our sprawling 30-acre property, we now have rows of citrus and fruit trees that have been and continue to be, cultivated by our clients’ own hands. Right outside our recovery doors are lush trees of limes, oranges, tangerines, and longan fruit (which are a favorite among many clients and are especially high in necessary antioxidants).
However, horticulture therapy is not the only therapy that elevates our nutritional therapy program. We also offer exclusive infusion therapy for healing the brain at the cellular level.
Healing the Brain via Infusion Therapy
Infusion therapy is not a common offering at many treatment facilities or recovery centers. While there are many reasons for this, one of the biggest reasons is that most facilities do not have a licensed naturopathic doctor on-site that can facilitate the process.
Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we offer Concierge IV infusion therapy which allows us to integrate the benefits of high-grade nutrition supplementation into our comprehensive recovery plans. While we offer pharmaceutical-grade supplements as well, infusion therapy takes supplement replenishment to the next level by quickly introducing these much-needed elements directly into the bloodstream.
One of the infusions that we offer is the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) IV infusion. This is an effective and inventive type of therapy that is used to help people acquire the most well-rounded wellness possible, including healing the brain. Now, this infusion offers an increase in energy and metabolism while also promoting positive physiological impacts on the whole body, helping with sleep patterns, better-managing stressors, and improving mood and mental focus. NAD infusions are particularly helpful for those individuals struggling with addiction because they have been shown to reduce cravings and thus minimize the risk of relapse.
Another effective and exclusive infusion that we offer here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab is known as the Myers Cocktails IV infusion, which has been shown to be highly effective in restoring the elements necessary for both physically and psychologically healing the brain and body. This infusion is packed with minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients that are crucial for healing at the core root level. Myers Cocktails have been shown to increase energy, better improve immunity, aid in digestion (which also helps maintain a healthy gut-brain axis), reduce anxiety and stress, and even promote healthier skin and hair growth. If food is medicine, then infusions could be considered “high-dose” medicine.
Healing the Brain: Getting to the Core Root Causes of Addiction at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab
When it comes to healing at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we do so on both a deep internal and intense external level. This includes healing the brain on the cellular level.
Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we don’t believe in a “short-term fix.” We believe in long-term recovery. Hippocrates also once said that the “natural forces within us are the true healers of disease.” We know that, within all of us, we have the ability to heal at the core root level. Our mission is to nurture that ability and make sure it rises to the surface. Because when we are healed within, there is little doubt that the outside will follow.
The reality is that substance misuse and substance abuse can cause chemical imbalances and tissue damage, impede the function of vital organs, affect neuron transmission, and damage nerves. Therefore, restoring balance to the central nervous system can help the body and mind to heal from the damage that addiction has caused. This can also help to ensure that this critical healing goes deep into the cellular level. At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we use trauma therapy, infusion therapy, and pharmaceutical-grade supplements to aid in the process of biologically healing the brain. These methods help clients enhance the body’s innate and natural healing process, which makes it an excellent way to improve recovery. For more, contact Exclusive Hawaii Rehab at (808) 775-0200.