Holistic medicine recognizes that you must treat the patient as a whole person, taking into account mental and social factors instead of only focusing on the physical symptoms of a disease.
This approach is well suited to treating substance use disorders, since addiction is influenced by genetics as well as factors relating to lifestyle and mental health.
Types of Holistic Support for Addiction Recovery
During detox, drugs and alcohol are removed from the body. This is only the first step of treatment, however. Detox addresses the immediate concerns associated with being under the influence but does nothing to treat the underlying issues that contributed to the desire to abuse drugs or alcohol.
Holistic approaches to addiction recovery focus on healing the mind, body, and spirit. They seek to help you understand what factors influenced the development of your addiction as well as what skills you need to develop to sustain a long-term recovery. All holistic support activities for substance abuse treatment are guided by professionals with extensive experience in addiction recovery.
Some examples of how holistic support can be incorporated into an addiction treatment program include:
- Journaling about your thoughts and feelings to better understand how emotional responses trigger cravings or how you can manage the symptoms of co-occurring mental health disorders
- Using art or music therapy to promote self-expression or process past trauma
- Participating in equine therapy to improve problem solving and interpersonal skills
- Using yoga and meditation as a way to relieve stress and/or cope with chronic pain
- Exploring your spirituality to connect to a higher power as a source of strength
Since no two people are alike, treatment for a substance use disorder is most effective when it’s tailored to meet your individual interests and needs. If you’ve always enjoyed painting, art therapy may be particularly effective. However, someone who loves animals and spending time outside may experience many of the same benefits from equine therapy. Talking with your counselor about your preferences and recovery goals is the best way to find the holistic support services that can help you set the foundation for a sober future.
An Integrated Approach to Treatment
Holistic support is integrated into both residential and IOP addiction treatment. Every step of your treatment plan will incorporate one or more holistic activities designed to promote mental health, physical fitness, and emotional or spiritual growth. The lessons you learn will help you better understand the roots of your addiction, manage your triggers, stop cravings, and build strong relationships with your loved ones.
Many people find that taking a holistic approach to addiction treatment offers the unexpected benefit of helping them discover passions and talents they didn’t know they had. You may think you’re not flexible enough for yoga, but discover that a regular practice helps you feel grounded and ready to face the day. Journal writing might help you tap into a talent for storytelling. Being open to these possibilities helps you fully embrace the idea that recovery is the beginning of a new chapter in your life.