The Benefits of Holistic Substance Abuse Treatment

Addiction is a chronic disease that can be managed effectively with the right treatment. But substance use treatment must address the individual’s problems appropriately and be delivered via trusted, high-quality interactions with providers. A holistic approach to addiction targets multiple aspects of a patient’s health, including their physical, psychological, emotional, social and spiritual wellness.

What Is Holistic Therapy?

Holistic treatment is a whole-person approach that aims to help individuals thrive on all levels. It pulls from a variety of strategies and traditions to promote awareness of the many factors that impact addiction. Some people think of holistic treatment as a way to connect the mind, body and spirit.

The concept of holistic treatment relies on the belief that addiction is not just a chemical problem. Eliminating the drugs from your system is just the first step to establishing a successful recovery. Detox alone doesn’t help you understand the emotions and experiences that have led to your drug use. It doesn’t teach you how to create a meaningful life without drugs.

On the other hand, holistic treatment draws from a broad range of methodologies to deliver education, coping strategies and life skills. Because it is so multifaceted, a holistic approach to addiction has the potential to improve all areas of your life at once. If one technique isn’t working, you can drop it and try something else without derailing the effectiveness of the work that you have already done.

Some examples of holistic treatment include:

  • Dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, or EMDR
  • One-on-one therapy
  • Group and family therapy
  • Support groups
  • Yoga
  • Animal therapy
  • Mindfulness training
  • Spiritual inspiration and education

What Are the Benefits of a Holistic Approach to Addiction?

In most cases, a one-sided approach to problem solving fails to address all the possible sources of strife. Avoiding situations that make you want to drink may prevent you from relapsing in the moment.

However, this strategy could isolate you and create emotional friction that leads to cravings. One-on-one therapy provides an opportunity for you to be heard and seen, but it doesn’t help you feel socially connected. Holistic treatment integrates all of the facets of your being and delivers many benefits.

Develop a Deeper Understanding of Yourself

Many holistic therapy techniques involve awareness and education. You’ll learn how you are shaped by your experiences, including your encounters with addiction and substance use treatment. The understanding that you gain from this can eliminate much of the self-judgment that surrounds addiction.

Because substance use alters the way that your body processes sensations, someone with an addiction may feel physically or emotionally numb. The goal of many holistic treatment methodologies is to get you back in tune with yourself. As you learn to feel and label sensations, you develop a mind-body connection that improves your sense of agency.

Become Empowered

People who struggle with addiction often feel like they have no control over their lives. Substance abuse changes the way that your brain operates, disrupting the areas that regulate executive function, rewards, decision making and emotions. Addiction is not a choice or moral problem, and it takes more than willpower and self-control to treat it.

Holistic therapy puts some control back in your hands. You may not be able to control your cravings, but you can learn strategies that minimize them. With increased awareness of your traumas, addictions and reactions, you can be proactive about making decisions that help you stay healthy.

Learn Healthy Coping Skills

Substance use is a coping mechanism that allows people to deal with distressing feelings. While it may provide relaxation, distraction and detachment, it’s not constructive. Using substances to manage stress prevents you from processing negative experiences in the way that your central nervous system is set up to do. Therefore, the root of the problem remains trapped in your brain and body, and you continue to feel like you need drugs and other unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal.

There are many evidence-based treatment methods that teach healthy coping skills. However, traditional techniques don’t work for everyone. Holistic therapy gives you a chance to try out different methods of coping.

For example, someone who struggles to open up with a counselor may feel safer journaling or bonding with a therapy animal. Art therapy could provide an outlet for someone who angers quickly when expressing themselves verbally. A movement practice, such as yoga, can redirect anxious feelings.

Improve Physical Health

Some people use drugs and alcohol to deal with existing physical ailments. But addiction almost always leads to more health issues.

It’s hard to focus on getting better when you don’t feel well. All the psychotherapy in the world may not help you recover if you’re not nourishing your body.

Holistic therapy involves nutritional counseling and exercise programs that allow you to feel your best. You’ll often learn alternative ways of managing pain, which is especially important for people who struggle with an addiction to painkillers.

Meditation and mindfulness training promote good sleep habits and lower blood pressure. Using natural pain-reduction methods reduces your dependence on medication. When your body feels healthy, you’re more likely to treat it well and less likely to expose it to harmful chemicals.

Individualized Treatment

When you feel like a statistic, you may lack the motivation to improve yourself. However, you don’t have to give up hope just because you have witnessed others struggle with addiction or relapse. You are different, and your outcomes can be successful.

But your treatment has to address all of your psychological, biological and social factors. Improving one behavior is excellent. But you have to treat multiple aspects of your emotions, behaviors and reactions to heal.

Providers that offer a holistic approach to addiction understand the importance of multidimensional therapy. At Burning Tree West, we help you identify your needs so that we can co-create an ideal treatment plan.

Our holistic approach to addiction is comprehensive and flexible. It relies on continual assessment and monitoring to identify what’s working and what needs to change. This type of individualized approach to treatment gives you the best chances of success in recovery.

Increase Your Chances of Success in Recovery with Holistic Therapy

Research shows that addiction treatment is most successful when it:

  • Is customized to individual needs
  • Combines cognitive, behavioral, social and spiritual elements
  • Provides ongoing support

Holistic treatment covers all of these bases. It promotes protective factors for avoiding relapse, such as self-control, self-esteem, interpersonal competence, solid employment opportunities and spiritual well-being.

If you are struggling with addiction and searching for an effective treatment program that focuses on your specific needs, consider incorporating holistic therapy. You’ll learn lifelong skills for coping with stress and processing difficult emotions. You’ll gain a better understanding of yourself and your place in the world. Plus, you’ll be exposed to resources that can help you sustain your recovery and avoid relapse.