Addiction is a complex illness that affects people in different ways. It is a psychological and physical condition that can be worsened by mental health and environmental factors. In many cases, a holistic approach to addiction treatment is an effective path to long-term recovery. The all-embracing nature of holism means that the individual’s emotional, physical and mental health needs are all addressed in combination in order to improve overall wellness.
Defining Holistic Addiction Treatment
The holistic approach to addiction involves treating the individual from all angles. Rather than focusing purely on physical symptoms in the way conventional medicine does, holistic therapies encompass all the patient’s unique treatment needs in a comprehensive approach. The healing process is entirely natural and although holistic rehabilitation programs may take longer than standard programs, it is more likely to result in long-term recovery.
Although people often equate holistic care with natural therapies, this is not always the case and many rehab treatment centers will also offer clinical components for an integrated approach. The definition of the word ‘holistic’ is treating a person as a whole in terms of mind, body, and spirit. Addiction is an illness that causes widespread damage across all areas of a person’s life and holistic therapies are extremely effective in restoring mental, physical and emotional balance.
A Holistic Approach Complements Evidence-Based Strategies
Holistic rehabilitation programs generally include evidence-based treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This is a discussion-based therapy that addresses the thought processes driving behavioral patterns. By identifying the internal mechanisms an individual has developed that keeps them addicted to drugs or alcohol, they can be addressed.
Rehabilitation therapy for substance abuse involves making significant changes across the board. Many people fall into negative lifestyles as a result of substance abuse and it is vital they turn their backs on all enabling influences if they want to get better. CBT empowers individuals to recognize the way their mind works in response to things such as stress, pain or other triggers for substance abuse.
When used in combination with holistic therapy, CBT provides another mechanism an individual can use to protect themselves from relapse in recovery. Once the CBT therapies have enabled the individual to understand how their addiction is triggered, they can work together to form a relapse prevention strategy.
The Holistic Approach gets to the Root Causes of Addiction
Holistic therapies include a large element of mindfulness which is used as a way of improving self-awareness. This is important for a person who has been abusing substances for some time as they are likely to have lost all sense of proportion about their problem. Once addictive behavior has become an established pattern, people do not generally continue to use substances through choice. This is generally the point where they will have forgotten why they started using alcohol or drugs in the first place.
When new patients enter rehab treatment centers, they are thoroughly assessed and evaluated. This is very important with addiction illness as it has a strong relationship with other mental health and physical pain conditions. When someone is suffering from substance abuse and another health problem, they are known as dual-diagnosis patients.
No matter what the nature of a person’s addiction is, it is crucial that the root causes are identified and addressed. This is where holistic rehabilitation therapy is particularly valuable because of its multi-faceted approach to treatment. For example, people who have become addicted to prescription painkillers can learn other ways of managing their symptoms with holistic therapies such as massage, aromatherapy, and meditation.
A Strong Focus on Individualized Treatments
There is no one way of treating a person’s addiction. There are so many variables involved because of course, we are all individuals. This is one of the main reasons holistic rehabilitation therapy is considered to be so effective, because every patient is treated as an individual, with a specific range of treatment needs. This is quite different from the traditional 12 step approach which follows a structured pattern that is not deviated from.
After evaluation and assessment have been completed, holistic therapists and clinicians will then devise the most effective treatment strategy. This will contain all the components that are most likely to achieve the best response from the individual concerned. For example, some patients find individual counseling to work well for them, whereas others respond better in a group therapy setting. Essentially, holistic rehab treatment centers provide a wide therapeutic range where the individual’s care remains in focus throughout.