The holistic treatment approach, as the name suggests, targets the well being of the whole person – body, mind, emotions, and behavior. Unlike conventional treatment methods that tend to focus on a specific aspect of the drug dependent, the holistic method seeks to heal the physical, mental, psychological, and behavioral aspects of the person that have been negatively affected by his addiction problem.
Most drug rehab facilities are now including various holistic methods to their treatment programs to complement their medical and psychological treatment approaches. Other drug and alcohol treatment centers also make use of holistic alcohol detox to assist patients with their withdrawal symptoms. Many studies reveal that patients who go through detox from alcohol using holistic forms of treatment experience the following benefits:
- Significant reduction in anxiety levels
- Healthier and stronger muscles
- Calmness and serenity
- Increase self-awareness
- Healthier body
These are just some of the most evident results of opting for holistic alcohol detox. It is important to note that the benefits above can be regarded as bonuses considering that the primary goal of detoxification is ridding the various systems of the body of toxins and other alcohol residues.
Apart from playing a significant role in alcohol and drug detox, holistic approaches have also been found effective as part of the formal treatment process. Here are new holistic methods that are steadily gaining ground as instruments of recovery from addiction:
Meditation or practicing mindfulness is one of the many holistic methods that counselors recommend to recovering addicts primarily to prevent relapse. Engaging in the practice of meditation helps the person to have an in-depth awareness of his being – his feelings, emotions, and behavior. Through this increased self-knowledge, the patient is in a better position to address his negative emotions without resorting to destructive means.
Studies also show that meditation also lowers the level of cortisol (stress hormone), strengthens the immune system, and improves the body’s ability to cleanse itself from harmful chemicals that negatively affects the mood.
- Virtual Reality Therapy
Virtual reality therapy (VRT) is another form of exposure therapy that makes use of virtual reality technology to create real-life experiences that can provide virtual sensory experience for all five senses. Through virtual reality, a recovering addict can “enter” a realistic virtual world filled with elements that can trigger cravings. In a sense, the virtual world serves as “training” ground for recovering addicts to apply the various life and coping skills they are learning in rehab. Researchers found that VRT is effective in encouraging recovering addicts to avoid all sources of temptation and other factors that may trigger the craving to use drugs and alcohol.
- Art Therapy
Art therapy helps recovering addicts to improve their self-esteem and confidence as they go through the process of creating or making arts, music included. Moreover, being engaged in creation helps patients to lower their levels of anxiety, stress, and anger.
- Biochemical Restoration
Many studies have shown that biochemical imbalances cause drugs and alcohol cravings as well as encourage feelings of anxiety, depressions, and mood swings. Biochemical restoration treatment seeks to address these chemical imbalances to counteract its effects.
Nutritional deficiencies are often neglected when treating patients suffering from substance abuse disorder, which is a big mistake. Recovering addicts tend to use food to make themselves feel better rather than for nutritional purposes. This is the reason they tend to consume unhealthy foods that impact not only their physical but behavioral health as well. Through biochemical restoration treatment, recovering addicts are encouraged to consume meals that improve mood and prevents depression.
While many professionals still doubt the effectiveness of holistic methods as a stand-alone treatment for substance abuse disorder, it is still evident that holistic approach has already made its mark in addiction recovery because of its impact when used to complement traditional treatment options.