Why a Comprehensive Diagnosis Is Key to Healing at the Core Level

Addiction Recovery Publishing Addiction Recovery August 20, 2023

Why a Comprehensive Diagnosis Is Key to Healing at the Core Level

Even before connecting with a recovery center, there are many measures one must take if they are going to recover from either addiction, issues of mental health, or both (dual diagnosis). The first measure is acknowledging that there may be a problem. Then the next measure is accepting that there may be a problem. The last measure before treatment is the action step. It involves reaching out for help. Taking these three brave initiatives can bring us to where we ultimately need to be at the start of the recovery process: receiving a comprehensive diagnosis to heal at the core level.

The First Step Is Reaching Out

While many people may understand that the recovery process can often be a challenging one, they often don’t realize that one of the biggest challenges is reaching out for help in the first place. Reaching out for help is often incredibly difficult because many forces at work aim to keep that help from coming.

These forces can be both internal and external. The internal forces involve the mental, emotional, and physical components of addiction and mental illness. These “diseases” have been proven to be symptomatically adverse to individuals reaching out for help. That is because these chronic diseases create negative cognitions that tell us that we either are unable to get help or are not worthy of getting help. Then these diseases often drain us emotionally, so seeking help feels pointless. Finally, these diseases can physically stop us from getting help. The withdrawal of addiction is just one example.

These external forces include individuals that may be enabling our behaviors. Many people are unaware of the complexities of addiction, mental health, and the importance of seeking recovery. Also, there are work, home, and social demands that often make it feel impossible to reach out. But ultimately, the truth is that all of these issues are surface level, and what is most important is reaching out for help, getting a comprehensive diagnosis, and starting to get to the real core root causes of our problems.

The Importance of Receiving the Right Diagnosis Right Away

It is also important to know that simply reaching out to the first recovery center, addiction specialist, or mental health professional that we find is not always going to work out. Many people seeking recovery often feel like they are obligated to accept the situation of the first recovery professionals that they find. This is certainly not the case. Yes, we need help. But we also have the autonomy to advocate for the best type of help that is going to fit our needs.

It is important to connect with recovery professionals that offer a broad spectrum of expertise. This includes either being capable of offering multiple recovery options or having access to a treatment center that can do so. “One-note” recovery will often only go skin deep and may miss aspects of our addiction and mental illness that need to be addressed. Now, this is what a comprehensive diagnosis truly means. 

Getting a comprehensive diagnosis right away is also important because it is important to start a comprehensive recovery plan as soon as possible. A comprehensive and crucially important, competent diagnosis will inform us of what type of recovery program we require, such as residential treatment, a partial hospitalization program (PHP), or some type of intensive or general outpatient program. Also, a comprehensive diagnosis will inform us of what type of treatment modalities within those programs may best suit our needs.

A Comprehensive Diagnosis Is the Key to Healing at the Core Level

One good question to ask ourselves when we begin our recovery journey is, “Am I looking to simply get better, or am I looking to heal at the core level?” Again, this is not a judgment; “feeling better” is far and away more satisfactory than struggling with untreated addiction and/or mental illness. After all, the iconic psychologist Abraham Maslow once said that “The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.”

However, healing at the cellular level isn’t just about feeling better in the moment; it is about addressing the internal core causes of our external problems and drastically changing our lives for long-term wellness. To heal at this cellular level, a comprehensive diagnosis is crucial. However, the question then becomes, “What exactly does a comprehensive diagnosis look like?” The answer is it looks thorough and complete but is still open for adjustments.

What Does a Comprehensive Diagnosis Look Like?

When it comes to addiction and mental health, a comprehensive diagnosis should include an investigation into those same mental, emotional, and physical components that aim to keep us away from recovery. For example, regarding addiction, a comprehensive diagnosis should first determine the severity or the stage that the addiction resides. If it is a severe or late-stage addiction, it is crucial to connect to a responsible detox center and begin the process of healing the physical body. 

On that note, it is vitally important that we don’t try to detox on our own or help others detox if we are not clinical professionals. Detoxes are not only difficult, but they can even be deadly without the proper care.

Next, it is important to address our mental state. A good psychologist or psychiatrist is going to be able to discern what potential mental health or addiction disorders are present and the best place to go to address them. This is especially important for dual diagnosis. Even if we already have a diagnosis, a qualified specialist is going to be able to discern if other issues may be being masqued by our initial diagnosis. 

Finally, it may be helpful to address our emotional state by connecting with a professional that has the same ideals and values. This may be spiritual or may be religious, or this may include a holistic lifestyle. Disclosing this information and holding to our goals ultimately will help our doctors connect us to the right recovery center. 

A Comprehensive Diagnosis Deserves a Comprehensive Recovery Plan

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we believe in two very key components to recovery. One is that it must be individualized, and two is that it must be comprehensive. That means that each recovery plan must be wholly unique to each client. There is never a set blueprint for a client’s recovery. 

It also means that a comprehensive diagnosis must correlate to a comprehensive recovery plan. This will address the diagnosis head-on with multiple types of treatment rather than a singular modality. It is also important that these types of treatment be varied and focus specifically on those three aspects that continue to pop up: cognitions (thoughts), psychology (emotions), and actions (behaviors). At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we do not limit our options and utilize “traditional,” experiential, nutritional, and holistic means to ensure that our clients heal at the cellular level.

The Importance of “Traditional,” Experiential, Nutritional, and Holistic Treatment Options

Comprehensive addiction and mental health care should never be limited to one realm of recovery. While there are many reasons for this, one of the primary ones is that not all forms of recovery work for all types of people. However, that doesn’t mean that all means of treatment available should not be utilized.

It is important to see what doesn’t work in recovery and to replace it with something that does. Of course, this is important to do in the care of a professional recovery center as trying something that doesn’t work on our own, without a ready backup modality, could lead to discouragement and a potential relapse.

The Benefits of Traditional Evidence-Based Therapies

More often than not, a comprehensive diagnosis will bring with it a recommendation for an evidence-based form of treatment. This is generally the right move, as evidence-based treatments hold true to their moniker. There is evidence backing up their efficacy.

Now, while “traditional mental health treatments” may sound like a broad category, much of it is made up of the type of therapies that most people often envision. These are the “talk” therapies that have been shown to get to the core root of our mental health and addiction issues. Perhaps the most well-known and still most utilized is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). There is a reason for this. It remains one of the most highly effective therapies for treating addiction and mental illness.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Getting to the Underlying Core Root Causes of Our Mental Health Issues

When it comes to CBT, it is effective at treating a wide range of addiction and mental health issues. According to The Efficacy of Cognitive Therapy and Research, “CBT [can be used] for the following problems: substance use disorder, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, depression and dysthymia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, somatoform disorders, eating disorders, insomnia, personality disorders, anger and aggression, criminal behaviors, general stress,” and the list goes on.

Now, there is a reason that CBT has shown efficacy regarding so many issues. It doesn’t just focus on the diagnosis; it focuses on the individual. No, it works by getting to the underlying core causes of the issue before working on the issue itself.

CBT works by talking through the negative thought process, such as how we view ourselves and how we perceive other people to view us, and then connecting the negative emotions that these cognitions are linked to. Once that is established, we begin to see how these emotions are based on false thinking and that when we change our thinking, we change our emotional states and ultimately change the negative behaviors associated with them.

Now, while evidence-based modalities like CBT can be highly effective recovery tools, they are best utilized as a foundation of recovery rather than a sole form of treatment. That is because these types of treatments can become even more effective when recovery methods from other forms of thought are employed, such as experiential therapies like nature immersion therapy.

Nature Immersion Therapy for Reconnecting to the World Around Us

There is perhaps no better place in the world to engage in nature immersion therapy than on the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. This is why we choose to have our 30-acre luxury recovery center right at the heart of it. 

On the Hamakua Coast, there are endless opportunities to engage in nature immersion therapy, which is a therapy aimed at reconnecting with the natural world to then, in turn, get better connected to ourselves. This therapy may utilize the amazing landscapes that we have right outside our front door, such as visiting and absorbing Kilauea Volcano, Laupahoehoe Point, or the Akaka Falls or Rainbow Falls.

Our nature immersion therapy also offers another level of uniqueness in that we can utilize some of the most beautiful and vibrant parts of the Pacific Ocean. This may include snorkeling with tropical fish and green sea turtles, or it may also involve a type of immersive aquatic therapy involving surfing or boogie boarding.

A mere 15-minute walk from our facility is a local break called Honoli’i, where our clients can catch some of the most amazing waves in the world, and in between, they can meditate while green sea turtles swim directly underneath them. It not only offers natural immersion but the potential for a much more spiritual experience. 

The Benefits of Nutritional Therapy

We have a maxim here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, and that maxim is “Food is medicine.” Also, we don’t just say it. We live it.

Our focus on nutrition is first class, and that doesn’t just refer to our world-class personal chefs. It refers to our licensed nutritionists, dieticians, and naturopathic doctor that are available at our facility 24/7. These highly regarded professionals ensure that our clients get the vitamin and nutrient replenishment they require. This is done in a myriad of ways, such as pharmaceutical-grade supplements, infusion therapies, a comprehensive diet that focuses on the gut microbiome, and something new and unique to us on the Big Island: horticulture therapy.

A Focus on Horticulture Therapy

Our clients getting their fingers in the soil and getting their hands dirty with horticulture therapy is a metaphor for how we heal at the cellular level at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab. We start with a seed (a need), work the land (work our mind, body, and soul), and watch as our labor starts to bear the type of fruit that we didn’t think possible (long-term recovery).

Our clients not only get educated on the benefits of healthy food and nutrition, but they also create the food they take in. Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we now have amazing Lilikoi fruit hanging down from the vine that new clients are picking. We also have a variety of other fruit trees, such as limes, oranges, tangerines, and longan (which are a local favorite and are packed with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties). Food truly is medicine, and our clients can see that firsthand.

Utilizing Holistic Treatment Options

Holistic means of healing have been used for thousands of years. However, recently they have been shown specifically to aid in the recovery of addiction and mental illness.

Holistic practices of mindfulness, such as breathwork, guided meditation, and yoga, have been shown to reduce stress, increase energy, create physical strength, and bring a sense of inner peace. They have also been shown to release the types of blocked energy that are required to experience healing at the core level. One of the best practices to engage in to release this blocked energy is acupuncture.

The Benefits of Acupuncture

According to the peer-reviewed article, Chinese Medicine, “Prominent effects of acupuncture are increases in the levels of enkephalin, epinephrine, endorphin, serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the central nervous system and plasma that might mediate substance abuse.” These are all of the hormonal components of healthy living, and they benefit not only those struggling with addiction but those struggling with mental illness and dual diagnosis as well.

A Comprehensive Diagnosis Equals a Comprehensive Recovery at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we understand the importance of a comprehensive diagnosis. However, we also understand the importance of our client’s comprehensive life stories. That is why we take into account individuals as well as their diagnoses. 

We are all so much more than what it might say on a chart. No, we are more about what is inside our hearts, and sometimes our hearts need healing as well, which is also what we do here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab.

Many individuals may enter treatment programs only focused on treating the symptoms when they should be focused on discovering and healing the core root causes of their more profound issues. A comprehensive diagnosis is critical to help shape a healing plan that will best suit your needs. That is why it is crucial to know what to look out for during the diagnosis process, the right questions to ask, and the kinds of questions healthcare providers and recovery professionals should ask you. If you feel like you or someone you love may be struggling with issues of mental health, addiction, or both, you are not alone. We can help. For more information, call Exclusive Hawaii Rehab at (808) 775-0200.