Treatment choices are more diverse these days than they used to be. Many treatment centers are offering holistic addiction treatment alongside the more traditional medical and clinical therapies. The reason for this is because there is an increasing amount of research that shows the healing benefits of the formerly fringe therapies for people with substance use disorders (SUDs).
Why Women Should Choose Holistic Addiction TreatmentNatural, holistic recovery methods introduce new solutions to solve old problems. They create healthy thoughts and practices to replace unhealthy habits. Used alongside medical assistance, medications, counseling, and support groups, holistic therapies may be an effective aid to fight addiction and reinforce recovery for women and men. SUD is a complicated disease that affects the body, mind, and spirit. It often creates a sharp division between these parts of the person’s whole self. Successful recovery from drug and alcohol disorders depends on strengthening the connections between mind, body, and spirit. “Mindfulness” is a holistic element that is common in both yoga and meditation and is especially helpful for people in early recovery. It helps increase impulse control which then reduces the rates of relapse. Regular meditation practice can improve brain health. This is a big help in early recovery when the brain is healing from drug-related damage.
Common Forms of Therapy in Addiction Treatment
- Behavioral Therapy—talk therapy that addresses the thoughts and behaviors that contributed to your addiction.
- Pharmacotherapy—the use of medications to help reduce the cravings and the satisfaction of your drug of choice.
- Holistic Therapy—this form of therapy considers the whole person—body, spirit, mind, and emotions.
- weight control
- fighting exhaustion
- dealing with pain
- attempts to self-medicate mental health problems
- victim of domestic and sexual violence
- divorce, loss of child custody, death of a partner
What is Holistic Therapy?In the 20th century, health care was more medically focused as the care of certain symptoms was reduced to one type of treatment. Issues of the mind were generally treated with talk therapy and issues of the body were treated with drugs and surgeries. The mind and body were seen as separate systems. In the 1970s people in medical and other health care fields began to believe that treating only one of a few symptoms really only served to manage some issues and did not always help people improve their overall quality of life. The first national conference on holistic healing started a movement for alternative forms of care in the field of medicine and among therapists.
Holistic PsychotherapyHolistic psychotherapy is a unifying approach to therapy that focuses on the relationship between mind, body, and spirit. It attempts to understand and look at the way issues in one part of a person’s life can lead to distress in another. People who seek holistic therapy may become tuned in to their entire awareness. Which in turn can often promote a greater acceptance of the self.
Issues Treated with Holistic TherapyHolistic therapy can be used to treat a number of issues. And in a diverse range of individuals. The holistic approach may be helpful in the treatment of:
- Issues with mood regulation
- Sleep ailments
- Trauma such as abuse and sexual assault
Holistic Therapy for PreventionThe ideas behind holistic therapy are commonly used in areas of preventative therapy. This is also known as wellness practices. A wellness-focused therapist will usually work with people to strike a balance in taking care of their mind, body, and spirit. This frequently involves advocating for them to take part in physical activities, stay connected to loved ones through positive communication, and exploring spirituality (if they have a spiritual nature).
Why Women Choose Holistic Addiction TreatmentA national telephone survey of 3,172 women 18 years and older were asked about their use of treatments not typically prescribed by a medical doctor. The study focused on women who used complementary and alternative medicine, such as holistic approaches, in the previous year. Among the reasons given were:
- Personal beliefs
- Cost of conventional medicine
- Dissatisfaction with conventional medicine
- Informal recommendations of family and friends
- Desire to use a more natural approach to medicine
5 Holistic Therapy Techniques You Can Try Right Now
Technique 1: Mindfulness MeditationThis is the act of putting your attention on your breathing in order to connect with what’s happening in the present moment. It has been shown to decrease stress and pain for those with health issues. It can help you feel calmer in everyday life, and it may also improve your sleep, memory, and attention span. For people dealing with recovery from a substance use disorder, the ability to relieve stress is of major importance. Stress is one of the main causes of relapse. How to do it:
- Find a quiet spot with a minimum of distractions.
- Set a timer (start with 5 minutes and increase to 30)
- Sit or lie down on something comfortable. Lower your gaze. You can leave your eyes open or close them.
- After you get in position, relax, and focus on your breathing. Imagine the air moving through your nose or mouth and the rising and falling of your chest. If your mind wanders, bring your attention back to your breath.
- When the timer goes off, notice how you are feeling physically and emotionally.
Technique 2: YogaYoga also involves calming your mind and focusing on breathing while you flow through a series of poses that enhance strength and flexibility. You can consider it relaxation through movement. Yoga lowers stress and anxiety, enhances mood, and can lower your blood pressure. There are many videos, apps, and classes that can help you get started.
Technique 3: Guided ImageryThis is a powerful mind-body experience is a reason you may salivate when you think of the steak you’re going to grill tonight. Or why you get anxious just thinking about a presentation you need to make at work. You can use this to your advantage using guided imagery. It is a process of bringing to mind images that trigger peace and positive feelings. You’ve heard people say “go to your happy place.” Those images can flood the body with relaxation hormones that can affect your perception of pain and anxiety. Research shows that just 10 minutes of guided imagery can strengthen your immune system, encourage weight loss, and fight fatigue and depression. There are also apps and CDs you can try at home.
Technique 4: AromatherapyThis is the use of naturally extracted plant materials (essential oils) to harmonize, balance, and promote health and healing. Essential oils are very concentrated, which provides a stronger aroma in one drop than a bouquet of flowers. Once they are inhaled, they activate receptors in your nose that go on to send messages to your brain that have a variety of benefits. There are a lot of essential oils available with different abilities such as:
- Stress relief—one of the most popular and well-proven uses of aromatherapy. Lemon oil, peppermint, bergamot, and ylang-ylang all work well.
- Fight depression—When used with traditional therapy or medicine, chamomile, lavender, and jasmine can boost your mood and help regulate your sleep.
- Memory improvement—Sage oil can aid in increasing your memory capacity.
- Energy Booster—Try cinnamon, sage, clove, or black pepper instead of coffee. They have been shown to increase circulation, stimulate your body and mind, and increase energy levels.
- Ease headaches—Peppermint, eucalyptus, sandalwood, and rosemary can help relieve a headache. Apply a small amount directly onto your scalp, neck, and temples. Dilute in a teaspoon of oil like almond or coconut oil first and use about 3-5 drops of essential oil per teaspoon. Don’t put the essential oils directly on your skin, especially if you are pregnant or nursing.
Technique 5: AcupunctureThis originated in China thousands of years ago. It involves a trained acupuncture expert inserting needles through the skin to stimulate specific points on your body. (The needles are extremely thin and don’t hurt.) Studies show that acupuncture can ease many types of chronic pain as well as frequent headaches. In addition to easing pain, acupuncture can help fight other issues like insomnia, digestive issues, stress, and anxiety. Always look for a licensed professional who has experience practicing acupuncture for the condition you are trying to treat.
Evidence-Based vs. Holistic TherapyThe main difference between traditional medicine (evidence-based) and alternative medicine (holistic) is the approach. Traditional medicine treats symptoms and problems in a certain area but alternative medicine looks at cause and prevention, natural treatments, and overall health. Some people hesitate to try any alternative treatment but this is most likely because our society has been led to suspect anything different from the traditional methods. Alternative treatment isn’t less effective or less reliable. Sometimes it works when nothing else does. Alternative medicine is accepted and widely practiced all over the world. The U.S. is just catching up.
Holistic Addiction Treatment for Women at New Directions for WomenOur treatment approach at New Directions is to include traditional and alternative methods for helping you achieve your goals. We have a variety of holistic therapies to choose from and our treatment team will help you decide what is most beneficial for you. Some of our holistic addiction treatment includes:
- Equine therapy
- Mindfulness meditation
- Physical exercise
- Experiential therapies