Recovering from Comorbidities of Addiction

Addiction Recovery Publishing Nutrition April 19, 2024

Recovering from Comorbidities of Addiction

The great American poet Walt Whitman once said, “Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.” Perhaps no truer is this statement than for those of us who are recovering from issues of addiction or comorbidities of addiction. Addiction can keep us away from the sunlight of the spirit, but the right recovery plan can put us on a path right back to it.

What Does Healing at the Cellular Level Mean?

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we believe in healing at the cellular level. But what exactly does that mean?

Healing at the cellular level is all about healing the whole mind, body, and spirit. In other words, it is about an interconnected recovery that includes physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual healing. Interconnectedness is a crucial part of the equation because without healing one part of the “self,” none of the other parts will heal either.

For example, we can heal our physical bodies, but if we do nothing about our mental state, the physical improvements are almost certain to be temporary. The same goes for a sense of spiritual growth. Without a purpose or spiritual mission, it can be very hard to stay motivated to move forward in our recovery. 

This is what healing at the cellular level is all about. It is about getting to the root/core causes of our issues (such as comorbidities of addiction) and healing both from the inside out and the outside in. The way to do this is with a “multi-angled” approach.

What Is a “Multi-Angled” Approach to Recovery?

The multi-angled approach to recovery is all about focusing on the previously mentioned “cellular factor” by utilizing multiple means, methods, and modalities. This is also often referred to as comprehensive addiction care because of the amount of tools that are implemented for recovery.

A multi-angled approach to recovery is going to utilize modalities from all areas of recovery. This includes modalities from the psychotherapeutic world (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy), methods from the experiential therapy realm (such as nature immersion and surf therapy), and means from holistic practices (such as yoga and meditation). However, our addiction care must not just be comprehensive. It must be individualized as well.

The Importance of Individualized Addiction Care

At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we don’t believe in “one-note” or “cookie-cutter” recovery. We find that an overarching approach that doesn’t take the individual into account rarely works (at least not for healing at the essential cellular level).

It is important not just to see the diagnosis when it comes to treatment; we must also see the person behind the diagnosis. This is why we have a comprehensive and individualized intake process that ensures every individual’s needs are met. From issues at home and career to dietary preferences, we take it all into account. This includes our clients looking to recover from the hopeless state of mind, body, and soul, also known as addiction.

Understanding the Prevalence of Addiction in the U.S.

Addiction in the U.S. (and abroad) remains one of the most detrimental health and wellness issues that we face. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), “More than 20 million adults and adolescents in the United States have had a substance use disorder in the past year… Substance use disorders can involve illicit drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol.” Also, “Effective treatments for substance use disorders are available, but very few people get the treatment they need.”

Addiction has also taken on many different forms in recent years. From prescription stimulants to hidden synthetic opiates, more and more people in the 21st Century are being affected by addiction. This includes people who are struggling with addiction and mental illness, also known as comorbidities of addiction and mental illness. 

Better Understanding Comorbidities of Addiction and Mental Illness

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “People with a [substance use disorder] SUD may also have other mental health disorders, and people with mental health disorders may also struggle with substance use. These other mental health disorders can include anxiety disorders, depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, personality disorders, and schizophrenia, among others… Though people might have both a SUD and a mental disorder, that does not mean that one caused the other.” This last point is critical when it comes to recovery because it does not put more emphasis on one issue, which can be detrimental to recovery.

When it comes to recovery, all issues must be addressed as soon as possible. This includes mental health and addiction issues. If one of those gets treated without the other, there is a much higher risk of the untreated issue triggering a relapse, and relapses are much more common than many people may think.

According to the peer-reviewed journal Current Psychiatry Reports, “It has long been known that addictive disorders are chronic and relapsing in nature. Recent estimates from clinical treatment studies suggest that more than two-thirds of individuals relapse within weeks to months of initiating treatment. For 1-year outcomes across alcohol, nicotine, weight, and illicit drug abuse, studies show that more than 85% of individuals relapse and return to drug use within 1 year of treatment.” This is especially true for individuals who are struggling with the often less-discussed comorbidities of addiction.

Better Understanding the Less Discussed Comorbidities of Addiction

While comorbidities of mental health and addiction are often discussed, many people treat comorbidities of addiction as though they are a monolith. However, if an individual is struggling with more than one substance (such as alcohol and opioids, for example), they have a significantly more complex situation than if they had a lone addiction. This is why addressing comorbidities of addiction in a focused manner is so important.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), “As expected, [alcohol use disorder] AUD has strong comorbidity with other SUD. More than 40% of men and 47% of women with AUD have had another SUD in their lifetime. Having AUD raises the odds of another SUD by a factor of 3 to 5.” With raised odds of that magnitude, it is important that comorbidities of addiction get the proper attention that they deserve. This includes discussion in the public sphere as well as treatment in the recovery realm.

Recovering From Comorbidities of Addiction at the Cellular Level

As previously mentioned, if a recovery is worth pursuing, it is worth pursuing at the cellular level. This includes people struggling with comorbidities of addiction. 

Now, this cellular-level healing for comorbidities of addiction must also happen in a multi-angled, comprehensive, and individualized way. This includes the use of such therapies as nature immersion therapy, surf therapy, horticulture therapy, yoga, and nutritional therapy.

Recovering From Comorbidities of Addiction With Nutrition

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we have a maxim that we hold dear; “Food is medicine.” This is why we focus so intently on making sure that all of our clients’ dietary needs are properly met. Now, this includes ensuring that they are both getting the nutrients that they need and avoiding the anti-nutrients that they don’t.

According to the Journal for Nurse Practitioners, “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. Nutrients are plant and animal sources providing macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fat), micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, probiotics), and fiber,” and “Anti-Nutrients are food products that have no biological necessity.” We ensure that this happens by having some of the best nutritionists and dietitians in the country right on the property. 

Also, we have a licensed naturopathic doctor (ND) who can better ensure that our clients are getting exactly what they need. Food is not just about nutrition here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, either. It is also about pleasure and satiation. This is why we have world-class chefs preparing our meals specifically for each client’s dietary preferences. At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, food is not just medicine, but it is delicious medicine.

Recovering From Comorbidities of Addiction With Nature Immersion Therapy

Another exceptional way to heal at the cellular level is via nature immersion therapy, and no better place is this possible than on the Hamakua Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island. Here our clients can engage with some of the most beautiful waterfalls, overlooks, beaches, and (live) volcanoes that Hawaii has to offer. However, nature immersion therapy is not just about engaging with nature, but also about healing from it at the cellular level.

According to the National Park Service, “5 minutes walking in nature improves mood, self-esteem, and relaxation. Frequent exposure to nature reduces anxiety and depression while promoting a sense of well-being and fulfillment. Physical activity in a green space can reduce stress and lower cortisol levels by 15%.” Also, these are not the only benefits that nature immersion therapy has to offer.

The benefits of nature immersion therapy can be vast and varied and sometimes depend on the needs of the individual. According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Besides physical health improvements, nature exposure can bring about positive influence upon psychological constructs such as boredom, friendliness, well-being, and liveliness. However, across more than one hundred studies on nature/wildlife exposure, stress mitigation has been shown to be one of the most consistent and important psychological benefits. Also, ”While cognitive restoration and physiological well-being are the prominent and renowned benefits of nature exposure, there is one important construct that is often overlooked in environmental psychology research studies – that is, the human-nature relationship; also known as connectedness to nature (CN).” 

This “connectedness to nature” (CN) also applies to other therapies. Surf therapy is a prime example of this CN.

Recovering From Comorbidities of Addiction With Surf Therapy

Surf therapy is a version of nature immersion therapy. It just happens to utilize the ocean as its setting. Also, like “traditional” nature immersion therapy, it offers many unique benefits. So then, what exactly is surf therapy? It is a lot more than simply riding waves.

According to the academic International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Carefully planned water activities tailored to the needs of the individual can contribute to correct psychosocial and cognitive development. The International Surf Therapy Organization summarizes the benefits of adequately indicated surf therapy as follows: improved physical health and mobility; improved mental health, including reduction of specific symptoms, such as posttraumatic stress and depression; improved well-being (strengthening of trust and confidence, encouragement of independence, resilience and protective coping strategies) and improved social skills.” Another nature-engaging therapy that can offer similar benefits for people struggling with comorbidities of addiction is horticulture therapy.

Recovering From Comorbidities of Addiction With Horticulture Therapy

Horticulture has long been used as a means of relaxing and reducing stress. However, it did not have a specific therapeutic focus. This has changed in recent years as more and more people are discovering the overall benefits of horticulture therapy.

According to the peer-reviewed International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Horticulture has been long used as a therapeutic activity for people with mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and depression. People’s interactions with plants, through goal-orientated horticultural activities in the form of active gardening, as well as the passive appreciation of nature, could be therapeutic to people with mental disorders in many ways…[H]orticulture could have emotional benefits, such as reducing stress, reducing psychiatric symptoms, stabilizing mood, and increasing the sense of tranquility, spirituality, and enjoyment.” These benefits can be essential components for people healing from comorbidities of addiction.

Also, there is perhaps no better place to experience horticulture therapy than on Hawaii’s Big Island. Just as there are unique landscapes and surf breaks, unique fruits and vegetables are waiting to be cultivated. Located directly on our luxury 30-acre property are some of the most beautiful citrus and coconut trees, pineapple patches, guava bushes, and vegetable boxes waiting to be engaged. Another engaging activity here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab is yoga.

Recovering From Comorbidities of Addiction With Yoga

Yoga has been practiced for over 3,000 years, and it remains an ideal way to connect with ourselves mentally and physically. More and more people are discovering the benefits of holistic healing practices like yoga for issues of addiction and mental health. 

The benefits of yoga are hard to quantify as there can be so many. According to the International Journal of Yoga (IJOY), “Therapeutic yoga is defined as the application of yoga postures and practice to the treatment of health conditions. Yoga therapy involves instruction in yogic practices and teachings to prevent reduce or alleviate structural, physiological, emotional, and spiritual pain, suffering, or limitations. Yogic practices enhance muscular strength and body flexibility, promote and improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, promote recovery from and treatment of addiction, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, improve sleep patterns, and enhance overall well-being and quality of life.”

Whether it is walking through lush locations, surfing in the deep blue ocean, or practicing yoga on one of the white sand beaches, Hawaii’s Big Island is an ideal place to heal. This is especially true for issues of addiction or comorbidities of addiction.

Recovering From Comorbidities of Addiction With Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

Whitman also famously wrote, “Henceforth I ask not good fortune. I myself am good fortune.” Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we are here to remind our clients that they have everything they need inside of themselves. We do that by utilizing all of the unique means, methods, and modalities of recovery that we have at our fingertips.

Recovery is a journey, never a destination. There is no better place to start that journey than right here with us on Hawaii’s Big Island.

Comorbidities of addiction and mental illness are often discussed, but what about comorbidities of addiction disorders, such as someone struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD) and substance use disorder (SUD)? This situation is much more common than many people may think. If you feel like you or a loved one is struggling with issues of addiction, mental illness, or comorbidities regarding both, we can help get you on the positive path toward long-term recovery. The key is to take the first step and ask for help. For more information about the effective modalities that Exclusive Hawaii Rehab offers to help people with dual or multiple addictions, please reach out to us today at (808) 775-0200.