What Is Holistic Addiction Treatment?

Holistic addiction treatment seeks to treat the person as a whole, addressing the spiritual, emotional, social and occupational factors that contribute to addiction as well as the psychological and physiological ones. Holistic treatment programs recognize recovery needs to extend to every arena of the addict’s life to be successful over the long term. It seeks to address all the factors contributing to addiction, using alternative and mainstream treatments.

Holistic Addiction Treatment Identifies and Treats Mental Illness

A significant portion of people who suffer from addiction also suffer from a mental illness, like depression, bipolar disorder or an anxiety disorder. Such mental illnesses may go untreated and often undiagnosed. A key component of holistic addiction treatment involves identifying and treating mental illness that may coexist with a substance abuse disorder. If there is a mental illness present, recovery will be impossible until that mental illness is managed.

Holistic Treatment Addresses Chronic Pain

Chronic pain leads a number of people to use prescription painkillers and other drugs to cope. Addiction is a danger with the heavy use of any drug. When a person who suffers chronic pain gets sober, he or she will need to learn to cope with his or her pain without substances. These can include exercise and physical therapy programs, the use of non-addictive painkillers like aspirin or acetaminophen, or alternative therapies like massage and acupuncture.

Holistic Treatment Encourages Good Self-Care

Achieving long-term success in addiction recovery requires more than simply abstaining from substances. A person who maintains abstinence without practicing good self-care is likely to maintain many of the destructive behaviors that initially led to addiction and is likely to relapse.

A holistic addiction treatment program encourages recovering addicts to take good care of themselves by managing any medical conditions they may have, eating right, exercising often and sleeping enough. Alternative treatments like biofeedback, herbal supplements, yoga, massage, homeopathy, meditation and acupuncture may be used to help recovering addicts recover physically and regain normal sleeping patterns. Strict scheduling is used to re-establish normal routines.

Holistic Treatment Offers Help for Emotional Problems

Addicts and recovering addicts often have major problems with controlling their emotions. Meditation, exercise, yoga and music or art therapies are often used in conjunction with mainstream psychotherapies, like dialectical behavior therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, to help recovering addicts gain control over their emotions. The resulting emotional self-control helps them to behave better in interpersonal relationships and enjoy stronger bonds with family and friends. It also helps them cope with stress.

Holistic Treatment Provides Family and Occupational Therapy

People suffering from addiction generally don’t have great family lives, either because their addiction has damaged their family relationships or an abusive situation at home contributed to their addiction. When delivered as part of a holistic addiction treatment program, family therapy can improve the recovering addict’s home life by restoring, or creating, healthy patterns of relating between family members.

If the addict has trouble finding or keeping employment, occupational therapy may be necessary. This treatment is commonly used to help recovering addicts build the skills needed to create a resume, conduct a job interview and behave appropriately in the workplace.

Holistic addiction treatment seeks to address all of the factors that contribute to addiction. It consists of a combination of mainstream and alternative treatments ranging from psychotherapy to acupuncture.

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