Holistic addiction treatment is becoming more popular every day. While many addicts looking for help with substance abuse issues still attend traditional treatment programs like those based on the 12-steps, more and more centers are advertising offering holistic methods as a way to combat addiction.
The concept of holistic addiction treatment is not new. In fact, there are several holistic rehab centers that have been in operation for decades. However, the “hype” associated with holistic methods is new and the trend will probably continue in this direction for some time. This article will help you focus on the facts associated with holistic addiction treatment rather than the fiction, and help you decide if this type of treatment is for you.
What Does Holistic Addiction Treatment Mean?
The word holistic when applied to medicine or addiction means approaching the individual as a whole rather than addressing specific parts only. In that way, holistic treatment involves treating more than just addictive behaviors and includes healing for the body, mind, spirit, and social aspects of the personality. The idea behind this is that someone’s overall health and well-being influences all the other parts of their life which includes their ability to remain clean and sober after completing a treatment program.
Holistic treatment by definition does not necessarily involve energy treatments, yoga, or acupuncture but some programs may use techniques like this to help in their client’s treatment. Instead it means finding ways to rehabilitate a person’s health through treatment that involves their mind, body, and spirit. Basically it looks at the addict’s whole self as being made of interdependent parts, and if any of these parts are not working properly it will affect all the other parts.
Most established and well-recognized holistic treatment centers use simple interventions such as proper nutrition, light fitness and exercise, and healthy social interaction with peers to aid in a client’s recovery. Many holistic treatment options keep medications to a minimum or don’t use them at all, and may use natural alternatives and supplements to help their clients regain balance in their personal health.
In short, holistic addiction treatment aims to help its clients balance their lives in an effort to become a more healthy human being. If it is applied with proper care holistic addiction can help foster an active and fulfilling lifestyle, and one that is ideal to improve a drug-free existence.
How is Holistic Addiction Treatment Different Than Traditional Drug Treatment?
Traditional drug treatment generally involves adherence to the medical model and a combination of 12-step recovery and behavioral therapy. The medical model views an addict as suffering from a chronic disease that has no cure, but is treatable. Traditional treatment programs usually prescribe medications to help correct the imbalances that drug abuse creates in an individual, whereas a holistic treatment program may look to correct them through alternative methods.
Both types of programs typically involve group therapy that focuses on maladaptive behavioral patterns that users pick up during their use. In this area they don’t really differ, but in holistic treatment settings there may be additional interventions associated with the individual’s physical and spiritual health that are missing in traditional settings. The holistic program will likely view these factors as essential to long-term abstinence.
Another key difference is what each type of treatment model regards as necessary in order to maintain sobriety after treatment. Where traditional programs that follow the medical model might consider medication stabilization and long-term compliance to be essential, holistic programs may view nutrition and diet as equally essential.
There is evidence to suggest that both types of programs can be effective. Proponents of 12 steps groups are likely to tell another addict or alcoholic that attendance at meetings is the only thing that works to keep an addict clean. While this might be the case for them, it does not mean that it is right for everyone. In fact in its Principles For Effective Treatment the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that “No single treatment is appropriate for everyone.”
So, when considering the differences between traditional and holistic addiction treatment, the most important question to ask is not, “Are these treatments effective?” but rather, “Will this treatment be effective for me?” When trying to decide on which treatment model will be the best for your recovery, the answer will always be the one that best addresses your individual needs.
To decide if holistic treatment is good fit for you consider how you view your ability to keep up with the self-care involved in your life after treatment. Addiction is complex and affects everyone differently so it is necessary to find a program that will provide you with tools you can use and make a part of your life when your time at rehab is over. If you think holistic treatment would be right for you, then if you find the right center it probably will be.
How Do I Find the Right Holistic Treatment Program?
Again, when you talk about holistic addition treatment in terms of what is right or what is best, the answers always come down to individual needs. You have to find a program that appeals to these needs and one that you will provide a program that you can adhere to. The purpose of drug addiction treatment centers is to provide the client with a safe place where they can work on change. What this consists of will differ from individual to individual. When searching for a rehab remember to concentrate on finding one where you think you will be able to feel safe and comfortable enough to let change enter your life.
Addictive behaviors and all the consequences that come along with them don’t occur overnight. Becoming addicted to a substance is a process, and in the same way recovery from addiction is a process. Change is not easy, and may seem impossible in the wrong environment. This is why it is imperative to explore all your options to be sure that you give yourself the best chance at recovery possible.