There are thousands of alcohol/drug treatment centers in the United States, and an increasing number of them are focusing on providing holistic addiction treatment for their clients. Allopathic or conventional medicine has been the dominant model for medical treatment in the Western world for decades and has resulted in many major scientific breakthroughs that have made a tremendous difference in terms of overall health, increased lifespan and disease treatment. However, patients and scientists alike are beginning to reexamine the benefits of holistic treatment methods for treating a variety of medical and psychological conditions.
What is holistic medicine?
Holistic medicine is a multi-dimensional approach to medical treatment that focuses on healing a patient by treating the mind, body and spirit. This comprehensive approach is designed to treat an individual as a whole, rather than focusing only on the area of immediate concern. The goal of holistic medicine is to help a person reach a state of optimal health – physically, mentally and spiritually – in order to treat and prevent mental and physical illnesses.
Practitioners of holistic medicine recognize that every disease or disorder has multiple contributing factors, and these factors are different for every individual. Practitioners guide patients through a process of finding balance in their life, using the most appropriate treatment methods for each individual’s circumstances.
What makes holistic alcohol/drug treatment centers different from conventional alcohol/drug treatment centers?
Conventional alcohol/drug treatment centersfocus primarily on treating physical and psychological dependence on drugs or alcohol, addressing these issues directly through treatment methods such as medication and counseling therapies. Drug addicts who undergo holistic addiction treatment will also address areas of their life that don’t have an immediately recognized connection to their drug use, because holistic practitioners recognize that all aspects of a person’s life and well-being are interconnected. This may mean learning about diet and nutrition or participating in recreational programs in addition to undergoing addiction counseling.
What complementary or alternative therapies are offered at holistic alcohol/drug treatment centers?
There are many alternative and complementary therapies that people find helpful in treating alcohol and drug addiction. Some of the most common therapies used by holistic alcohol/drug treatment centers include:
- Yoga, which has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and tension. It also promotes flexibility, physical fitness and mental focus. Yoga is used to help recovering addicts find balance, relax and replace unhealthy activities with something positive.
- Meditation, which encourages relaxation and focus and has proven physical benefits, such as the lowering of blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormones.
- Massage to alleviate symptoms of withdrawal, decrease pain and fatigue, improve concentration and reduce stress.
- Acupuncture to treat symptoms of withdrawal such as pain, nausea, cramping, headaches, depression, anxiety and cravings.
- Exercise as an alternative to previous unhealthy habits and to encourage a healthy body.
- Nutritional counseling to promote healthy eating and to ensure proper nutrient intake.
How do holistic alcohol/drug treatment centers help with the physical effects of drug addiction and withdrawal?
Some holistic alcohol/drug treatment centers offer pain medications or assistance with drug tapering or replacement therapies while patients are undergoing detox and withdrawal, but most prefer to avoid the use of medications when possible. Although pharmaceuticals are generally avoided, holistic practitioners recognize that there are physical symptoms of drug addiction that must be addressed as part of the recovery process. Drug-free therapies such as massage, acupuncture, meditation and herbal therapies are some of the ways holistic treatment centers help patients cope with the physical effects of drug withdrawal.
Aren’t holistic alcohol/drug treatment centers just a spa/resort/retreat?
It’s true that holistic alcohol/drug treatment centersoften offer comfortable accommodations, great food, recreational opportunities and treatments such as massage therapy – things that may seem more suited to a luxurious vacation than a rehab center. But holistic rehab is not a vacation, and patients are expected to work hard at overcoming their addictions and reevaluating their lifestyle. The “spa-like” treatments that are offered are a necessary part of keeping individuals in balance as they undergo the rigorous process of withdrawal, addiction treatment and maintaining sobriety.
What qualifications do employees at holistic addiction treatment centers have?
Reputable holistic alcohol/drug treatment centersemploy professionals who are educated and certified in their area of expertise. It is common to have medical doctors on hand to oversee the physical aspects of withdrawal and treatment and licensed counselors to lead therapy sessions, in addition to specialists trained in areas of complementary medicine: trained nutritionists, exercise scientists, acupuncturists, massage therapists, and yoga and meditation instructors.
Do holistic alcohol/drug treatment centers ignore traditional treatment methods?
Absolutely not. Holistic addiction treatment centers focus on using methods that work, whether they come from traditional or alternative medicine. Holistic practitioners don’t necessarily believe that traditional medicine is wrong or ineffective; they simply believe that it overlooks other effective treatment methods. They aim to provide a well-rounded approach that combines the best of traditional and alternative medicine.
Are all holistic alcohol/drug treatment centers the same?
Many holistic treatment centers offer similar therapies and have similar goals, but they are not all the same. For example, not all programs offer the same menu of services or the same type of accommodations, and the length of programs can vary considerably. This means that some holistic treatment programs may be a better fit for an individual than others, and individuals should choose a center based on how well its particular services fit their needs.
What are the advantages of choosing holistic addiction treatment?
One significant advantage to holistic addiction treatment is that it offers highly individualized treatments plans for every patient. Because the goal of holistic addiction treatment is to address all the causes of a person’s substance abuse problem, treatment plans must be designed with the particular individual in mind.
However, the biggest advantage of holistic addiction treatment is that its focus on mind, body and spirit truly treats the entire person, offering a level of healing that is seldom found in traditional rehab programs. Successful holistic treatment will result in a new lifestyle that is healthier, happier and more fulfilling.