Friday, October 28, 2011

Using a Holistic Approach to Treat Clients with Complex Co-Occurring Disorders

By Guy Oberwise, LCSW, Mood Disorders Coordinator at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center in Lemont, Ill.  Guy is also a primary therapist and Clinical Training Coordinator at TK.

April 1, 2011

Complex co-occurring disorders- three or more diagnosable addictions or disorders-occur regularly in clients, causing them continued struggle with finding a meaningful life. This article will discuss how to effectively treat those clients that come to our offices, hospitals or residential treatment centers with complex co-occurring disorders.

It is imperative for treatment professionals to understand how to holistically treat clients who have complex co-occurring disorders. These types of clients, for example, have been diagnosed with an eating disorder, substance dependence, major depression, impulse control (self harm behaviors) and post traumatic stress disorder and/or anxiety disorder.  They have spent many years trying to live a life battling these mental disorders and addictive diseases. Not until the mid 1980s did programs begin using the terms "co-occurring disorders" and "dual diagnosis" while attempting to treat co-morbid mood, thought and addictive disorders. These more comprehensive approaches address the whole person from a biopsycho-spiritual approach (Stillman-Corbitt, 2009).

As a social work professional, it is essential to arm clients with key recovery tools, allowing them to have hope for the future and an understanding of how to manage these disorders and addictions. "The treatment field is now confronted with an equally daunting challenge: a skyrocketing degree of acuity and complexity seen in outpatient and inpatient settings alike. Individuals presenting for care with a simple history of alcohol dependence and depression are a rare find." (Stillman-Corbitt, 2009)

After over 25 years treating clients in a variety of settings, it was only in the last five years that there was a realization of the importance of treating clients with a holistic approach. There are several key tools available to clients that can provide the recovery structure they will need to lead them on a path of recovery..finish reading article

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