New Integrative Approaches to Mental Illness and Substance Abuse
Depression, anxiety, and other behavioral health conditions are not only increasing in incidence, but have traditionally been treated almost exclusively with medications. Additionally, substance abuse and addiction are often intertwined with behavioral
An Integrative Approach to Managing Mental Illness
Health psychologist Lisa Sussman, Psy.D., a member of the Integrative Health & Medicine program at Hackensack Meridian Health, is part of a team utilizing a unique care model based on Five Pillars of Health and Well-being to help manage mental illness, stress, and overall mind-body health with complementary techniques. Studies show that mindfulness, meditation and targeted nutrition, for example, offer improved
results for managing mental health.
The Five Pillars include Nutrition, Sleep, Activity, Resilience, and Purpose. Dr. Sussman adds, “We believe that these pillars are fundamental to the health and well-being of every human being.”
“Integrative health and medicine techniques provide nonpharmaceutical methods to manage pain or the symptoms of mental illness,” says Dr. Sussman. “Some of these methods include cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness, positive psychology, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), and other energy based interventions.”
“There are many health interventions available to guide people in learning skills which not only help them adjust to their medical status, improve quality of life and change their mindset, but also to shift into and maintain a resilient lifestyle which promotes positive mind-body change, healing, and wellness,” concludes Dr. Sussman.
Building Resilience for Behavioral Health Clients
Kathleen Welshman, RN, a Certified Integrative Nurse Health Coach with Hackensack Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine, partners with clients to help create transformation and sustainable lifestyle change.
Welshman recently launched a Personal Resilience Empowerment Program (PREP) for home-based behavioral health clients to encourage sustainable healthy lifestyles. The program supports clients with a persistent mental illness as well as the comorbidity of a chronic health condition such as hypertension, diabetes or substance abuse.
Based on the Five Pillars of Health and Well-Being, PREP helps clients attain a goal each week. At the end of the eight-week program, clients will have developed an individualized self-care plan. Welshman believes that identifying one’s true purpose and values in life are a motivating factor to create desired change.
Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction
Historically, the majority of drug treatment centers in the U.S. have subscribed almost exclusively to an abstinence-only model to treat opioid addiction, based on an interpretation of the 12 steps of the Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous programs.
“With tens of thousands of people dying each year from drug addiction, healthcare leaders are revisiting their response to treatment,” says Mary Pat Angelini, CEO of Preferred Behavioral Health Group, which last year provided community behavioral health prevention, intervention and treatment services to 27,000 individuals in New Jersey.
Angelini adds, “Studies show that Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) can cut mortality rates among clients with substance use disorder substantially. MAT is creating longer periods of sobriety which provide the person who is addicted with time to get the supportive counseling they need to embark on lifetime of recovery.”
Humanizing Behavioral Healthcare Design
With a growing number of individuals in the U.S. being diagnosed with mental health conditions, organizations are designing specialized facilities where patients can be treated with dignity.
At its Lakewood facility, which provides outpatient mental health and substance use disorder treatment and counseling, Preferred Behavioral Health Group is incorporating design elements to create a light and airy space with a comfortable, home-like feel, de-stigmatizing both the facility and the clients it supports.
“This paradigm shift in architecture parallels new ways in which mental illness and addiction is viewed by society,” says Angelini, “Patients are being treated with the expectation of holistic wellness that will aid in their long-term recovery.”
Preferred Behavioral Health group
Hackensack Meridian Health Integrative Medicine
By Christine Burke Eskwitt