29. Nov, 2020

Reductionism v Holism


Before my thoughts for today just to update that things have improved and I am now in better times again. 👍


The Reductionist v The Holistic Approach

The medical model of healing starts from a place of treating symptoms and is sometimes known as the reductionist approach. In other words doctors will mostly try to reduce symptoms in one part of the body by treating with drugs and don’t always look at the whole picture.

For the symptoms of benzo withdrawal this means that if anybody is stressed by a certain symptom in one system that person may visit their doctor and come away clutching a further prescription. Of course these prescriptions are often necessary for ‘real’ illnesses but when the symptoms are those created by a disturbed body trying to right itself due to damage caused by a drug they may only add further to the problem.

The reductionist understanding reduces the body to its various parts. It reduces the biological body to a collection of systems. This is why we have specialist doctors who concentrate on just one of these systems e.g. the gastroenterologist or the orthopaedist or even the psychiatrist.

The problem that arises in benzo withdrawal is that it’s not just one system but the whole body that’s been altered in some way and therefore needs a more holistic approach. Trailing from one specialist to another won’t solve the problem and may even lead to a new, unnecessary diagnosis.

We are more than the sum of our parts and it’s the health and functionality of all parts working in cooperation that brings wellness.

‘To better understand the specific differences between reductionist and holistic approaches....
reductionists are so focused on the minutiae of each individual biological system, that they fail to account for the health and functionality of the whole.’ Vivian Goldschmidt.

This was written about achieving bone health without drugs but can apply to the health of any system. Drug companies employ extreme reductionism and concentrate on drugs that alter one system with little regard to how their drugs can impact on other systems (hence side effects). We all appreciate where the reductionist understanding has brought us today so now a more holistic approach is needed to bring us to full recovery.

I think this old fable describes it well....

“There’s a famous fable about a group of blind men encountering an elephant for the very first time. The first blind man, who had his hand on the elephant’s side, said that it was like an enormous wall. The second blind man, wrapping his arms around the elephant’s leg, exclaimed that surely it was a gigantic tree trunk. The third, feeling the elephant’s tail, declared that it must be a thick rope...... Vehement disagreement ensues, but after a while the blind men eventually come to realize that, while each person was partially correct, there is much more to the elephant than initially thought.”

I hope that makes sense for you but the main point is to not treat just one symptom you may experience on a certain day but look at how you can help the whole body repair itself from benzos so that each system can recover and bring full health. In this respect we know that a healthy diet, learning relaxation techniques, light exercise, good support and all the various coping tips can benefit healing plus anything else that you feel may benefit you.

Look beyond the present with all its inexplicable, individual symptoms, try not to focus on each and every one and remember these symptoms are bringing you towards a whole healing picture, a strong body and a beautiful future. ❤️