Studies show that around 50% of Americans suffering from the disease of addiction also often battle with mental health. Knowing this has allowed professionals to approach treatment in a completely different manner. By addressing the addiction and unmanageable parts of their life, the addict has a much better chance of recovery. This is where a holistic addiction treatment approach can make all the difference.
If you want to know more about how blending treatment methods can create a more substantial treatment plan, keep reading as we discuss holistic addiction treatment.
What is Holistic Treatment?
The term holistic treatment refers to the treatment of the self as a whole. By this, we mean that holistic therapy addresses spiritual health and emotional well-being. Holistic treatment also addresses any mental and psychical health issues.
With this understanding, we can see that addiction is connected with one’s emotions, mind, spirit, and body. This is a more positive take instead of seeing addiction as a choice and moral failing.
Holistic addiction treatment blends traditional methods with holistic ones. Examples of therapies one might blend are
- Talk Therapy
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy
- Art Therapy
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy
When we look at addiction behaviors, we notice that the user will often ignore other areas in their life to feed their habit. By bringing in holistic care, we can heal and repair the neglected areas. This strengthens the chance of success in continued recovery.
However, it’s essential to understand that holistic treatment is never intended to be used alone. Instead, incorporating it with traditional treatment methods creates a much stronger and more effective treatment plan.
Types of Holistic Addiction Treatment
Holistic addiction treatments will vary depending on your recovery facility. However, they all share similarities in that they treat the mind, body, and spirit, in other words, the body as a whole. Some examples of holistic approaches are:
- Tai Chi
- Nutritional Education
- Art Therapy
- Support Animal Therapy
Causes of Addiction
Several contributing factors can lead to addiction. Risk factors include using drugs to relieve mental health issues like depression or anxiety. However, relying on drugs to cope with stressors can quickly lead to dependence and addiction.
Other factors that can affect the likelihood of forming an addiction are:
- Peer Pressure
- Genetic Predisposition
- Lack of Emotional Fulfillment
- Lacking Personal Relationships
If we look at this disease, we can see that one primary way it presents itself is as an adverse change in thinking. With these changes, behavior can spiral out into an inability to abstain from or control the use of whatever the addict is using to cope.
Drugs that cause a change in one’s mental or emotional state are referred to as psychoactive drugs. This distinguishes them from other drugs like aspirin or antibiotics. Common psychoactive drugs include, but are not limited to:
As beneficial as some people believe drugs are, this can develop into dependence. Addiction, however, isn’t exclusive to illicit substances. It can also include habits or behaviors such as gambling, sexual promiscuity, and excessive shopping. These are defined as behavior, or process, addictions.
Seeking Recovery: Rehabs and Recovery Programs
Addicts often begin to seek therapy when they realize their life has become unmanageable. Once you start to look at treatment options, you’re met with a wide array of options. The program you select should meet your requirements, such as your drug of choice, the extent of your addiction, your mental health status, and your budget.
Addicts seeking treatment can choose from three different types of facilities:
- Residential Treatment
- Outpatient Treatment
Substance addictions that may require a medically assisted detoxification are prescription opioids and benzodiazepines, like Vicoden and OxyContin, heroin, and alcohol. Thankfully, withdrawing from opioids like heroin is rarely life-threatening. Instead, they induce effects that are difficult to manage without medication assistance.
Alcohol, however, is a slightly different story. While it’s uncomfortable to withdraw from alcohol if you’re a moderate drinker, if you’re a heavy drinker, you risk medical incidents such as high blood pressure, heart irregularities, hallucinations, delirium, seizures, and even death. Addicts who are at risk should look into treatment centers that offer a medically assisted detox.
Inpatient treatment is also known as residential treatment and requires the addict to live on-premises while they undergo therapy. Typically, this program can last anywhere between three weeks to several months, depending on the patient’s individual needs. Inpatient facilities usually have trained medical staff supervising residents while addicts are overcoming addiction.
Outpatient treatment includes much of the same as inpatient treatment, although patients don’t have to live on-site here. Instead, they attend treatment sessions like individual or group therapy at the facility and live elsewhere, like a sober living facility. Patients can then choose to return to everyday life or transition to a sober living facility.
Addiction Treatment Methods
Treatment for substance abuse disorder can include a combination of methods. However, when carefully chosen for the patient’s individual needs, they can create a very powerful recovery program. Below, we will focus on some holistic therapies that can create a comprehensive continuum of care when blended with traditional methods.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy was discovered by Francine Shapiro, a California psychologist, in 1897. Shapiro discovered it while she was out on a walk in the woods, where she found her own rapid eye movements reduced her anxiety. Further tests done on her patients confirmed her findings.
This holistic addiction treatment method is relatively new in comparison to some of its older counterparts. Its most commonly applied to patients battling post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Research is still heavily underway on this controversial therapy, but studies show promise. However, these studies have been on a small scale, and further research still needs to be done.
As a result, there is still a lot of debate around how EMDR works, with most proposals being pure theory at this stage. At its core, through the recall of distressing events, EMDR diverts attention from the emotional consequences of those events.
EMDR sessions typically last between 60 – 90 minutes. There are eight stages of EMDR therapy, but in summary, a trained EMDR therapist will move their fingers back and forth with their hand in front of their face. Simultaneously they will ask you to recall a traumatic event. Finally, the patient is asked to really feel that event and the therapist slowly works with the patient to move past the negative thoughts toward better, more positive ones.
The aim is, over time, to lessen the effect of traumatic memories or recall. This treatment is still gaining traction, and EMDR is, so far, a safe therapy technique with no known adverse effects.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
This particular therapy treatment is based on accepting feelings and emotions. This acceptance helps one cope with negative feelings, thoughts, circumstances, and symptoms.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy believes that we can retrain our brains to have more psychological flexibility by increasing acceptance. A flexible mind embraces thoughts and feelings when they are helpful and sets them aside whenever they are not.
The process within ACT involves six core components:
- Cognitive Defusion
- Self as Context
- Being Present
Acceptance: The idea of Acceptance is to let your inner thoughts and feelings come to you without either changing or ignoring them.
Cognitive Diffusion: This means when you eliminate your mind’s addition of significance to thoughts, you see them for what they are: thoughts
Self as Context: Self as Context helps you learn how to separate your thoughts of yourself from your actions
Being Present: Here, you stay mindful of the moment, not letting your feelings or thoughts distract you
Values: Here, you focus on the parts of your life that you feel most motivated about
Commitment: Commitment involves adapting and evolving your behavior based on what you learned in therapy
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy can also include mindfulness exercises like meditative breathing. This is meant to help you create more positive associations with certain feelings and thoughts that you usually would avoid.
In addition, there are specific exercises your therapist can assign as homework for you to complete outside of therapy.
This holistic technique introduces expressive activities and tools such as:
- Guided Imagery
- Arts and Crafts
During a session, the patient is encouraged to re-enact or re-experience situations that held negative emotions in the past.
Experiential therapy is fundamentally based on the principle that how one perceives, things determines how one acts. Therefore, by recreating past negative experiences, you can release repressed emotions and reassociate those thoughts with positive feelings.
By completing activities presented in Experiential therapy, you learn how to identify negative thoughts and emotions and positively move past them. This type of treatment can assist with several things, such as:
- Grief and Loss
- Personality Disorders
- Anger Management
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
One of the more common examples of this type of experiential therapy is art therapy. This form of treatment is ideal for patients who feel they lack control in their life. By taking control of the art medium, the patient can better express their feelings. This can help relieve feelings of stress, pain, depression, and anxiety.
Acupuncture has been used for many centuries in Eastern cultures. It is the practice that involves using needles to penetrate the skin to stimulate precise points on the body.
Acupuncture is based on the theory that a blockage of energy flow causes disease throughout the body. Stimulating precise points in the body releases those blocks, allowing energy to move freely again, thus aiding the patient in their recovery.
This energy flow is called qi, pronounced “chee”. This qi flows through the body via 12 different channels, referred to as “medians,” which represent different organs in the body. Acupuncture fell out of general practice but picked up again in the mid-1900s.
Almost everyone knows about yoga, which should make selecting this treatment method even easier for you. Yoga is a discipline that involves all three states: mental, physical, and spiritual.
The very act of yoga is a mindfulness technique that can help one deal with emotional stress. Using yoga for recovery employs techniques that target brain areas that focus on the substance use disorder.
There are several forms of yoga that you may have the option to choose from. They can include:
Hatha: Most common form of yoga involving posture exercises and meditation
Karma: This yoga form aims to remove ego from oneself and detach oneself from their behaviors
Bikram: Also known as Hot Yoga, this series of 26 demanding poses cleanses the body and relieves tension
Bhakti: The primary focus of this yoga form is to devote love through mantra meditation to a higher power
Jnana: A form of yoga that encourages self-realization and seeking wisdom in order to heal the mind, body, and soul
There have been studies that have proven that yoga can have health benefits and decrease cravings.
Take the First Step
Finding a suitable treatment facility for you is crucial to the chance of a successful recovery. If you feel that you are lacking in several areas of your life, then a blended treatment plan of traditional and holistic treatments can be ideal for you.
When you look for treatment centers that offer a holistic approach, make sure they have qualified and competent staff. Find out what traditional methods and holistic addiction treatment they employ at their facility, then pick the one that works for you.
If you’re looking for treatment with a holistic approach, visit our site to see the services we offer. Here at The Arise Recovery & Behavioral Health Center, we provide a healing environment where people can recover from addiction.