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360 Wellness Hub's biopsychosocial model of substance use disorder treatment.

For the longest time, the AA disease model dominates the treatment for substance use disorder. Adopting a biopsychosocial model, we can now provide a stepped-care model of treatment favouring psychological treatments, including withdrawal and pharmacotherapy treatments as and when needed.

Proper assessment, early identification and ensuring treatment completion are critical to successfully treating alcohol and drug addiction. Completing the treatment is the most essential recovery key of the steps mentioned above. In most cases, patients are discharged too early from treatment, or they become too confident and discharge themselves too early, leading to a relapse and further complications in later treatments. Completion of treatment is key, and the most common reason SUD patients are often discharged early is the high expenses related to SUD treatments. This cannot be helped since the cost of treatment and the care needed in SUD cases involves a team of specialists and trained therapists. Usually, when we receive a SUD case, we first assess whether the patient needs to be hospitalised or is showing signs of mental instability. In most cases, they must be stabilized in a psychiatric ward where 24-hour nursing and hospital care is provided for 2 weeks until the drugs are cleared from their system. After this natural detox process, we can start to see them on an outpatient basis at our clinic in Bangsar South. Our clinical director will design a personalized program that includes all aspects of biopsychosocial treatment. The biological part of the treatment will look at the patient's physical health; the psychological will treat the patient's mental health, and the social aspect will help the patient improve their functionality and assist in helping the patient reintegrate back into society, having regained more self-confidence and self-esteem.

360 Wellness Hub's biopsychosocial model makes it more convenient to administer a stepped approach where patients are given treatment only in the areas they need rather than taking on the disease model treatment where everyone is given the same treatment no matter at which stage of recovery they have reached.

The patient-centric approach of 360 Wellness Hub's biopsychosocial model is empathic and non-judgmental. It works with the patient and their family members to help and support their recovery. This method understandably has proven to be the most effective SUD treatment currently available globally.

Having said this, the addiction's spiritual aspect must also be considered. Psychedelic drugs have been used to bind the community and also as medicine since ancient times. It is common to hear that many became addicted to drugs to escape into the alternate reality world that psychedelics provide. It is also common to hear people say that they consume drugs to self-medicate because they like how the drugs make them feel and who they are when they are high. Thus, when it comes to drug treatment, the spiritual aspects presented by the nature of the drugs that resonated with the users need to be accounted for also in the treatment... these people are taking the drugs because they are seeking some answers that they believe they cannot find without the drugs, it is to the role of the addiction and trauma specialists to help them understand that they do not need the drugs to find the answers and that they can discover better clarity without the relying on the drugs which can warp their perspectives if they take it for recreational purposes.

Addiction is a mind-body-spirit experience; using a 2D disease model framework to treat such a multidimensional issue will often not work. To properly treat addiction, we need a 5D framework that looks at the individual's cognitive, behavioural, emotional, social and spiritual imbalances. Recovering from addiction is a progressive growth-oriented journey that redefines the person. Our goal as therapists is to help them discover and unleash their full potential to love who they are becoming and enjoy their life to the fullest in a more stable and meaningful way.


About the Author


Dr. Lennie Soo

Founder and Clinical Director of 360 Wellness Hub.

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