What is Holistic Addiction Treatment?
The word “holistic” has been a buzz word in the health and wellness fields for years. When some people hear this word, they may think of shaggy gurus using obscure natural remedies or New Age techniques from ancient Eastern cultures.
A quick search through the internet will reveal all kinds of sensational claims about treating physical and mental illnesses. After scrolling through some websites, you may be wondering something like, “How can someone use an herb found at the top of a far-off mountain to help me with addiction?”
It seems far-fetched and gimmicky. Some desperate people test out these misleading claims in hopes a “little-known” cure will “magically” make their addiction disappear. Sadly, they are often disappointed with the results.
Holistic addiction treatment is not about simple fixes. In fact, it involves guidance from professionals trained in specific types of therapy. It is often used in conjunction with more traditional approaches to addiction treatment like cognitive behavior therapy or dialectical behavior therapy.
To understand this therapy, it’s important to know what the term holistic actually means. By definition, it refers to treating the whole person rather than just the symptoms or diagnosis of a disease. Within the context of this therapy, you are not viewed as an addict, but as a person needing to restore your physical, mental, and spiritual balance.
The holistic approach is based on your strengths, needs, preferences, and personal beliefs. It seeks to positively change the way you view yourself and the world around you which allows you to be better equipped to deal with struggles associated with addiction. Some of these therapies make a person more aware of the connection between their mind, body, and soul. Others use engaging activities to teach necessary skills for a lasting sobriety.
One important note is that although these treatments emphasize, in part, the healing of the soul or spirit, it is not necessary to be religious or to literally believe in a soul to benefit from these approaches. The soul component of holistic health can simply be thought of as your emotional wellbeing. People who are religious or spiritual are welcome to view this component in the traditional religious sense, but this therapy is available to everyone regardless of their beliefs.
How Can Holistic Treatment For Drug Addiction Help You?
Addiction is a complex mental health disorder that often has many contributing factors. Genetics, personal history, trauma, abuse, and thought patterns may play a role. It’s no wonder that treating this disease requires diverse approaches.
To understand how these therapies can be effective in addiction treatment, it’s important to know what areas of a person’s life they help. According to a study investigating holistic interventions in addiction treatment, there are four main categories:
Nutrition, exercise, physical health, and relaxation. Teaching the importance of a healthy lifestyle to promote recovery and achieve optimal health.
Recreation and adventure-based activities. Using engaging activities to teach skills and discover positive alternatives for leisure time.
Religious and spiritual practices. Searching for a “higher power” or sense of connection with the rest of the world to find a greater purpose in life.
Specific therapy modalities. Finding the best holistic therapies based on your individual preferences and needs.
As you can see, a holistic approach to addiction treatment helps develop the framework for true transformation by using a variety of approaches.
Retraining the Brain with Holistic Addiction Treatment
Many know about the physical issues of addiction such as withdrawal and cravings, but they may not understand the mental aspects of this disease. Addiction is a vicious cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are the disturbing thoughts, urges, and images that can occupy your mind. Compulsions, on the other hand, are the repetitive behaviors that are triggered by obsessive thoughts.
As an example, let’s say that you stop at a bar every day after work for a few drinks. As you’re getting closer to the end of your shift, your mind races with thoughts about going to the bar and ordering your first drink. You may even vividly picture yourself picking up that drink and feel your troubles wash away. As your workday ends, you compulsively head off to the bar without even thinking about it. Maybe there’s something more important you need to do, like picking up groceries, but instead, almost as a reflex, you find yourself sitting on that familiar barstool.
Without some type of intervention, this compulsive behavior will continue indefinitely. Sadly, it may affect your relationships, negatively impact your health, or completely absorb your free time.
Many holistic treatments seek to get you out of this pattern of thoughts and behaviors. They do this in a variety of ways. For instance, a mindfulness meditation practice may help you become more aware of your thoughts and how they lead to your behaviors. As you learn to identify your thought patterns, you can begin proactively replacing obsessive thoughts with ones that help you stay sober.
In addition, these therapies can teach you other ways to experience pleasure without abusing drugs or alcohol. Treatment centers often use recreation and adventure activities to show people struggling with addiction that life can be very enjoyable without resorting to drug use. While in the grips of addiction, people often forget this and can believe that getting high is the only pleasurable experience.
This kind of therapy can play a key role in changing the negative thoughts and behaviors triggering your or a loved one’s addiction.
How Effective Are Holistic Addiction Treatment Programs?
There are many holistic approaches to addiction treatment available. While some have undergone scientific studies that have found encouraging results, others are based on anecdotal evidence and don’t yet have a lot of scientific backing. It’s generally accepted that these therapies work well as a complement to traditional drug treatment for some very specific reasons. These include:
Keeping a person engaged in treatment. Addiction treatment can be very stressful. Not only are you dealing with cravings and withdrawal symptoms, but certain emotions you kept at bay by using drugs or alcohol might resurface. Holistic treatment may help reduce these stressors and keep you focused during treatment.
Learning new skills. These therapies provide opportunities to find different approaches for dealing with stress, anger, boredom, and social interactions. These are all common triggers for substance use.
Creative approaches to therapy. Some people understandably aren’t comfortable talking with a stranger or interacting with a group of people, especially at the beginning of treatment. By using activities like art, recreation, adventure, and animal assisted therapy, it gives therapists a better chance at making essential therapeutic connections.
Developing better personal habits. Education about fitness, nutrition, and relaxation techniques allow a person to replace negative habits with ones that are conducive to recovery.
Types of Holistic Substance Abuse Treatment
Holistic substance use treatment refers to a broad range of therapies. Here are some of the more popular ones used in drug rehab:
The ability to orientate yourself to the present moment does wonders for helping your recovery. Meditation allows you to identify the negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions running through your head at any given moment. As you get better at this practice, you realize that your thoughts and emotions are not you, but something passing through you. This awareness can help with cravings, stressful situations, and developing a greater perspective in life.
Fitness and Nutrition
When a person abuses drugs or alcohol they often neglect the basic needs of their bodies in pursuit of that “high.” Sadly, this can lead to excessive weight loss or gain, health problems, and feeling physically deflated. Holistic programs teach the importance of a balanced diet and regular exercise to feel better physically. This allows for more energy, better confidence, and positive personal habits.
Art, Music, and Dance Movement Therapy
For some, expressing emotions isn’t easy. This is especially true for those going through trauma, abuse, or other emotionally-charged situations. While intensive psychotherapy can help, some holistic treatments that use creative mediums to promote self-expression and facilitate processing difficult emotions can also be effective. Some have found creative activities led by specially trained staff have made it easier to open up and face their challenges. Even people with no experience in music, art, or dance can benefit from these programs. The focus isn’t on the end product, but the process during these creative pursuits.
Yoga and Tai Chi
When a person struggles with addiction to drugs or alcohol, he or she often becomes unbalanced. This stunts the communication between the mind and body. Certain practices like yoga therapy or Tai Chi allow people to once again experience the joy of the connection of the mind and body. By focusing on the breath and certain movements, you can experience a better sense of relaxation and identity. In addition, these practices can be adapted to an individual’s skill level.
During the recovery process, people quickly learn that they have many new opportunities for positive leisure experiences. After all, the time previously spent using drugs or alcohol now needs to be replaced with new activities. A recreation therapist can help guide a person to discover their attitudes about the opportunities available for a positive leisure lifestyle. A recreation therapist will work with a client to determine what benefits they got from their drug of choice. Then they work together to find sober activities that offer similar benefits. For instance, someone who used alcohol to relax may find that they now enjoy yoga or meditation. In addition, a recreation therapist uses engaging activities to help address any other need areas such as dealing with anger or learning to use assertive communication techniques.
Many holistic addiction treatment centers use their campuses or nearby areas to expose those in recovery to new and exciting experiences. Depending on the setting, you may get the opportunity to hike, kayak, camp, or mountain climb. These experiences get people out of their comfort zone, so they could gain new perspectives and discover alternative ways to enjoy life. Adventure therapy activities are directed by trained professionals who ensure that the experiences are safe and therapeutic.
Animal Assisted Therapy
Some treatment centers use various animals to help clients with their addiction treatment. This involves interacting with dogs, cats, and even animals usually found on farms to help cope with stress and work through emotional issues. Equine therapy, or interacting with horses, has been shown to be effective in helping treat mental health disorders like addiction. This is because horses have an intuitive ability to sense others’ feelings. Horses can provide immediate feedback during interactions and help a person develop empathy, responsibility, and new ways to interact with others.
Is There a Holistic Addiction Treatment Center Near Me in Scottsdale, Arizona?
If finding a program that will treat you or a loved one as a person and not just a diagnosis is a top priority, Pinnacle Peak Recovery is ready to help. We know the importance of using a variety of therapies to treat the complex issues associated with addiction. Therefore, we offer many holistic treatment options such as yoga, fitness, meditation, embracing the natural world, and equine therapy.
We want you to finally enjoy a life unburdened by drugs or alcohol. We will give you the tools and resources to bravely face your addiction and discover a new way of living.
Here at Pinnacle Peak Recovery, we offer a full continuum of care. Our caring staff is ready to help you during every step on your road to recovery. In addition to inpatient and outpatient services, we also provide resources for your family and a dedicated alumni program.
From intensive individualized therapy to some of the most effective holistic therapies, we are ready to find the approaches that work best for you or a loved one.
Contact Us To Start Your Recovery Today
Are you ready for lasting change? Do you want a team of caring professionals to support you through the ups and downs of your recovery? Are you interested in learning how holistic therapy can be a valuable part of your sobriety?
When you call us at 866-377-4761, you will have the opportunity to speak with a knowledgeable professional ready to listen to your struggles. If you’re seeking treatment for yourself or are worried about a loved one, a simple call is all it takes to start the process to a happier, more fulfilling life.