Holistic Treatment for Drug & Alcohol Addiction Recovery
Medically Reviewed by
Dr. David Hu, MD on 09/13/2022
Dr. Hu is a nationally licensed psychiatrist with 21 years of experience treating mental and behavioral health.
By: Zinnia Healing Editorial Staff | Edited By: Rebecca Hill
Holistic medicine is rapidly becoming widely accepted in the United States as a means of addressing both physiological and physical symptoms, including those of drug withdrawal and recovery.
As a result, more drug rehab facilities are incorporating alternative therapies into their treatment programs, giving patients the opportunity to explore new means of recovery while addressing their whole self.
If you’re seeking drug or alcohol addiction treatment for yourself or a loved one, here’s what you need to know about the holistic approach and whether it would be beneficial in supporting their well-being.
What is Holistic Treatment?
The concept behind holistic healthcare is that it addresses the whole person: body, mind, and spirit.
Right now, holistic medicine is currently considered complementary therapy used alongside conventional medicine, rather than replacing it entirely.
As we continue to learn more about ancient techniques and the real impact they have on our bodies and minds, holistic treatment is being utilized for all sorts of health issues, including to help with nausea in chemotherapy patients.
These treatment options show great promise, and they’re also being put to work at drug treatment facilities across the country.
Holistic practitioners can now be found at more and more rehab centers, residential facilities, and even as part of inpatient programs to help people overcome substance use disorders. The goal is to support overall health. Your medical doctor may recommend chiropractic care for physical pain or aromatherapy for anxiety.
These holistic alternatives include countless ways to address the mental and physical health concerns you may be facing, especially those relating to addiction and addiction recovery.
So, let’s dig into the specifics of holistic therapies and how they might be used to support you during rehabilitation.
Why is Holistic Care Useful in Recovery?
Briefly, before we explore how holistic therapies are being used for mental health, let’s recognize some of the many ways that drug addiction and recovery can impact mental health:
- Many people who are dealing with a substance use disorder only began misusing the drug as a means of self-medicating, but it may have gotten out of control. People often self-medicate with illicit drugs for problems like anxiety and depression.
- As a person detoxes from a substance that they have been using for a long time, they are likely to experience mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and mood swings. The right holistic therapies can help keep them grounded to make the detox process easier.
- Following the detox process, recovery from drug addiction can worsen co-occurring disorders and even lead to new, previously undiagnosed mental health conditions, including hallucinations. Intense emotions and and uncomfortable mental images can be overcome with the support of holistic medicine.
Now that you have a better idea of how holistic therapies can play a role throughout the drug recovery process, let’s dive into the types of patient care being provided.
Holistic Therapies for Mental Health
There are so many ways that holistic therapies, also known as “natural remedies,” are being explored for mental health reasons.
This is a topic that is highly relevant to anyone recovering from drug addiction because of the mental strain that withdrawal and recovery can place on one’s mind and being.
1. Herbal Medicine
Certain types of plant-based medicines, such as Kratom, can be beneficial for relieving anxiety, insomnia, and even lifting the mood. These medicines are completely natural, and many have no known side effects. However, it’s important to remember that even natural plants, such as Marijuana, can have addictive qualities.
When pursuing herbal medicine as part of your rehabilitation program, it’s essential that you work with the right providers to ensure your safety. The best practitioners will be dedicated to achieving positive patient outcomes, which means avoiding addictive substances and anything that could trigger a relapse.
With that said, only a fraction of herbal medicine actually consists of plants like Marijuana and Kratom. Chamomile tea and other proven remedies have been used for centuries in homeopathy for putting your mind and body at ease.
While many assume aromatherapy is nothing more than enjoyable scents, it’s been proven that the scents we encounter are powerful enough to uncover memories, emotions, and sensations within us. That’s why aromatherapy is a promising type of holistic practice used most often as a supplement or alternative to traditional medicine, especially for patients who are at highest risk of misusing certain medications (such as anti-depressants) and for cases where traditional treatments proved ineffective.
Instead of using medications, aromatherapy surrounds you in a scent chosen specifically based on your mood and state of mind. Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy and are sometimes applied to the skin, offering both inhaled and absorbed properties. This treatment approach requires someone highly experience in naturopathy to make sure you are getting care that is specific to your body and goals.
Frequently, people will first be introduced to aromatherapy when they have trouble sleeping, which is a common side effect of withdrawal. In these cases, aromatherapy is often combined with relaxation techniques, like self-massage, breathing exercises, or stretching.
3. Holistic Healing
There are countless other therapies that fall under the umbrella of alternative treatments, and dozens of them may be recommended to you if you are looking to manage or support your mental health. Here are a few more you may want to look into:
- Energy therapy, which requires you to work with an experienced practitioner who uses practices such as ayurveda to help balance the mind, body, and spirit.
- More mainstream practices, such as yoga, may be suggested to you to help calm your mind. You may also pursue meditation, especially if you are faced with mobility issues.
- Breathing exercises are well accepted amongst the general population as a way of controlling anxiety and even lifting the mood. Plus, you can do them on your own.
Ultimately, holistic care for your mind is only going to be effective if you also balance the needs of the human body. That is why integrative holistic health will consider all aspects of recovery and well-being.
Holistic Therapies for Physical Health
Just as the drug withdrawal, detoxification, and recovery process can contribute to mental health struggles, the process can also contribute to physical health problems. For instance, drug abusers often started out by attempting to self-medicate, perhaps due to physical pain. Here’s a look at some of the holistic interventions that may be recommended as part of your treatment plan, depending on your needs.
1. Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care is often associated with the intense “popping” of muscles, but is actually one of the most commonly used complementary and alternative medicines because it can lead to noticeable changes in the way you feel.
There are many uses for chiropractic adjustments, but they are most often utilized for people who are experiencing some sort of physical pain. The belief behind chiropractic care is that the body needs to be in alignment to work in harmony with itself. Chiropractors make adjustments by physically manipulating the body.
If you are experiencing physical pain, especially severe pain, chiropractic care may be a good complement or alternative to traditional medicine while also protecting you from the risk of misuse or relapse associated with medications.
2. Massage Therapy
Massage therapy is one of the most relaxing components of the holistic medicine world, and it’s also considered to be quite luxurious. Fortunately, massage therapy for medical purposes may be covered by your insurance plan, making it highly accessible to all.
While massage therapists do not go to medical school, they do receive intense training regarding the body’s pressure points, which align with those used in acupuncture. While acupuncture takes a more invasive approach to treating pain and tension, massage therapy can prove quite restorative, both physically and mentally.
With that in mind, not all massages are pleasurable. For those with intense pain, you will likely be advised to pursue deep tissue massage, which requires firm pressure on sensitive muscle tissue as the therapist breaks up dead cells and restores blood flow to areas where tension and posture may restrict it.
Massage therapy is widely regarded as an effective holistic treatment for pain relief, relaxation, and mental well-being.
Acupuncture may seem like a mysterious artform, but it is gaining traction as a highly impactful therapy for the relief of pain and tension throughout the body. Similar to massage therapy, acupuncture targets the body’s pressure points where people are most often tense or experience pain due to poor posture, sitting at a desk, or slouching over a phone.
Acupuncture can help restore body and spirit and is another way to potentially avoid or minimize the need for traditional medications, which is why it’s highly recommended and becoming more widely used for drug rehabilitation purposes.
Interestingly, Ayurveda is just as helpful for your physical well-being as it can be for your mental well-being. As an ancient practice, the goal of Ayurvedic medicine is to balance the energies of the mind, body, and spirit. However, it does not seek to prevent disease, but merely to help you support your own health through lifestyle changes.
Oftentimes, the advice given by an ayurvedic practitioner is expected—eating better, exercising more, and taking time to calm your mind are all good advice. Ayurveda frames lifestyle changes that give you an attitude of empowerment and control over your energy, balance, and life.
Do any of these alternative therapies sound interesting to you? If you are hoping to find a rehab facility open to integrative medicine, Zinnia Healing can put you on the path to whole-body recovery. Get in touch today!
Start Your Ideal Treatment Plan
No matter where you currently are in your addiction recovery journey, the most important thing is that you keep moving forward, and that you’re able to do that with a wealth of support from caring, kind professionals. At Zinnia Healing, we believe patients deserve options and the freedom to choose the services they feel will have the biggest impact on their recovery, which is why we are integrating more holistic therapies every day.
If you’re interested in learning more about our team, facilities, and approach to holistic care, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our empathetic professionals are standing by to answer your questions and get you on the path to pursuing lasting treatment and recovery. Just call Zinnia Healing today at (855) 430-9439 to get started.