What is Holistic Drug Treatment And Its Benefits?

Holistic addiction treatment therapies are non-medicinal recovery methods which are to complement traditional treatment practices. Holistic recovery aims to bring the mind, body and spirit into alignment.

The proponents of this type of addiction treatment believe that it is this harmony that ends up contributing to a faster and fuller process of recovery - one that can be sustained over the long term.

Understanding Holistic Addiction Treatment

In general, rehab programs which incorporate holistic techniques carefully consider an integrated physical, mental, and spiritual model in a bid to build out a comprehensive treatment regimen for substance use disorders. Several of these techniques are also categorized as alternative or complementary treatments, some of which are based on practices which derive from cultural traditions.

Treatment centers offering holistic therapy employ exercise, meditation as well as nutrition to aid people in overcoming their addiction.

Examples of holistic therapies include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Art therapy
  • Counseling
  • Guided meditation
  • Massage therapy
  • Proper nutrition
  • Routine exercise and physical workouts
  • Spiritual therapy
  • Tai chi
  • Yoga

These are just some of the wide range of treatments which are described as holistic. As far as we know, newer ones may be in the oven. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, approximately 4 out of 10 adults in the United States use some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and the trend seems to be expanding by the year.

A key feature which runs throughout many of these techniques is that they are intended, at the core, to treat the whole person and lift his or her overall well-being as opposed to targeting a single element of the individual's symptoms or behaviors.

With this in mind, a holistic approach to addiction treatment should ideally aim to not only curtail isolated addictive behaviors, but to adequately address a broad set of factors which play a role in the development of the addiction to begin with.

Holistic Therapy in Addiction Treatment

Holistic therapy programs often feature personalized, non-medical methods of addiction recovery. Holistic therapists treat physical and mental addiction symptoms as well as emotional and nutritional imbalances.

Lack of sleep, poor diet and emotional stress are all potential obstacles which holistic therapy might help a recovering addict treat. Holistic therapy plans are flexible, catering to the needs of each individual.

Some of the main objectives of holistic therapy include:

  • Identifying underlying causes of addiction
  • Strengthening resistance to drug and alcohol cravings
  • Promoting physical fitness
  • Increasing self-confidence
  • Reducing the appeal of drug and alcohol use

The Success Rates of Holistic Addiction Treatment

We are all complex individuals and the reasons we make specific decisions, good or bad, can be very complex as well. Holistic methods of addiction treatment are successful because they look at a person as a whole and make it a point to treat all parts of an individual successfully. Holistic approaches recognize that a person suffering from addiction is so much more than just his substance abuse problem.

Popular Types of Holistic Addiction Therapies

Holistic therapy encompasses several different aspects of healthy living, from exercise to meditation. Some of the main therapies include:

1. Nutritional Therapy

A healthy body is a key aspect of addiction recovery. Helping recovering addicts focus on proper nutrition provides tangible healing. Recovering addicts may start fresh and give their bodies the nutrition they need to overcome their addiction.

2. Exercise and Recreational Therapy

Daily exercise may help build routine, relieve stress and strengthen the body. Exercise is a vital part of many holistic treatment centers. Activities vary from center to center, but some offer such exercise activities as rock-climbing, canoeing, horseback-riding or hiking.

3. Meditation

So as to overcome their addiction, the recovering addicts must have a clear mind. Guided meditation is a vital part of many holistic treatment programs. Many centers also offer yoga and tai chi as meditative practices to aid the residents increase focus and clarity of mind.

4. Massage Therapy and Acupuncture

Aiding to relieve stress and relax the body, massage is often used in holistic treatment therapy. Acupuncture is also used to help restore balance to an addict's body after extended substance abuse.

The Effectiveness of Holistic Techniques

In some cases, holistic treatments could attract people who might otherwise not be interested in conventional treatments, make them more comfortable with entering treatment, and may make them more willing to try other, research-based treatments that provide a greater likelihood of long-term recovery.

In addition, the use of these therapies may help people feel more at ease, more productive in their treatment response, and generally better able to cope with the challenges of detox and rehab. For these reasons, holistic practices can be a positive complement to the more evidence-based modalities. Here are six key benefits of holistic addiction treatment:

a) Treating of Mind, Body, and Spirit

A holistic approach to healing centers around the concept that the mind, body, and spirit of an individual must all be healthy in order for that person to have the most successful life that they can possibly experience. Rather than just treating the physical effects of addiction, this method combines every distinct part of an individual and ensures the health of mind, body, and spirit.

b) Combination with Traditional Therapies

There are many traditional methods that have been used to treat addiction for decades. These tried and true methods still form the basis of a holistic approach to substance abuse. These methods are simply expanded upon to incorporate treatment of all components of the person seeking help.

c) Caring and Compassionate Environment

Treatment professionals who believe in a holistic approach to care generally provide a safe, secure, and compassionate environment that encourages openness and healing. These individuals are trained and experienced in dealing with the difficulties brought about by addiction. They provide these therapeutic interventions in a way that conveys compassion and empathy for the struggles each individual faces.

d) Aiming for Long-Term Recovery

Holistic methods of treating substance abuse often have better long-term outcomes. A greater percentage of individuals experience a complete recovery. In addition, fewer people treated by this approach fall back into their old patterns of substance abuse and addiction.

e) Broader Selection of Options

Holistic treatment facilities utilize a wide array of treatment options. While these comforting amenities may be seen as non-essential components to some, a holistic approach recognizes the importance of treating all body systems equally. Therefore, holistic programs often provide nutritional support, massage, fitness programs, meditation, outdoor recreational programs, and so much more.

f) Aftercare Programming and Relapse Prevention

Holistic treatment programs also recognize that the individual's treatment doesn't end the second he leaves the facility. Successful rehabilitation requires a great deal of skilled follow-up and aftercare therapies. These aftercare programs act as an additional means of support to keep each individual from experiencing a devastating relapse.

Combining Holistic Treatment with Traditional Drug Rehab

Adherents of CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) practices advocate that they can boost the chances of lasting recovery from substance use disorders. However, it is generally recommended that holistic therapies be used in combination with standard treatment efforts, and not as a replacement for more traditional, evidence-based approaches.

Most experts agree that conventional, research-based detox and treatment for addiction, provided via a residential program, is more likely to support an individual in maintaining recovery.

The holistic label may indicate a wide range of complementary or alternative treatment offerings. When considering various rehabilitation centers, people may need to do some research into what each specific location advertises as holistic offerings.

They may need, for instance, to ask about the therapies offered, the training of the people providing the therapies, and the cost of care, as well as any other details that would make it easier for them to choose this type of treatment.

The most effective holistic recovery programs all typically build on traditional addiction treatment methods. Managing withdrawal symptoms from quitting alcohol and other central nervous system (CNS) depressants often requires medical supervision.

It is the patient who is willing to listen to the doctor even as he or she devotes fully to holistic therapies that recovers the fastest and manages best to stay sober.

Common traditional addiction treatment therapies and techniques that are often combined with holistic methods include:

  • Medically assisted detox
  • Comprehensive medical care
  • Individual counseling and therapy

Many recovering addicts also attend 12-step groups like Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous for emotional support. This combination allows them to get better faster and manage their drug-related struggles with more ease.

Choosing Holistic Therapy

Many drug rehab centers offer holistic therapy as part of their inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. The philosophy behind holistic therapy — finding and maintaining balance in all aspects of life — is compatible with many addiction treatment methods.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, for instance, is well paired with meditation and yoga sessions. This is in the sense that it is effective at teaching recovering addicts how to manage stress.

Holistic treatment therapies will help you learn to cope with emotional setbacks in a healthy way can help you avoid relapse. This will also serve you well in other areas of your life, such as interacting with people.

When combined with medically supervised detox and mental health counseling, holistic therapies can help treat addictions of all severity levels. Treatment centers are available across the nation, putting together recovery plans which are tailored to individual needs.

Getting Help

If you have been struggling with a substance use disorder and/or co-occurring mental health disorders, you might want to consider holistic addiction treatment in lieu of or in combination with other traditional recovery methods.