The Biopsychosocial Benefits of Spirituality as a Complement of Evidence Based Treatment for Substance Use Disorder


  • Jonathan Echevarría-Marrero, Psy.D. Casa La Providencia (Inpatient/Outpatient Addiction Treatment Center)
  • Arnaldo Cruz-Igartúa, M.D. Caribbean Central University
  • John Van Doren, M.D. Caribbean Central University


spirituality, substance use disorder, addictions, biopsychosocial


Spirituality has been used for many years as a modulator of treatment for Addiction Treatment Centers, especially third sector organizations and faith-based community centers. Evidence suggests that the Pre-Frontal Cortex is linked with spirituality/religion experiences. Spirituality has been linked to addiction recovery, and has been used by 12 step programs for decades. Several studies associate higher frequency of spirituality among individuals in recovery and lower levels of cravings and depression, elevating protective factors among patients. Moreover, research suggest that addiction patients can benefit from spirituality developing coping skills such as healing, resilience, better quality of life, and forgiveness (towards others and self). The biopsychosocial model of addiction addresses the biological or genetic, psychological, and sociocultural variables of the disease, using the available scientific evidence to treat the person (Skewes & Gonzalez, 2013). The use of spirituality may be only used in patients who share religious/spiritual beliefs, if imposed the benefits will not be necessarily present.

Author Biographies

Jonathan Echevarría-Marrero, Psy.D., Casa La Providencia (Inpatient/Outpatient Addiction Treatment Center)

Clinical Psychologist at Casa La Providencia (Inpatient/Outpatient Addiction Treatment Center), San Juan, P.R.

Arnaldo Cruz-Igartúa, M.D., Caribbean Central University

Addiction Psychiatrist Specialist at Caribbean Central University, Bayamón, P.R.

John Van Doren, M.D., Caribbean Central University

Anesthesiologist and Addiction Medicine Fellow at Caribbean Central University, Bayamón, P.R.