Tools for Recovery: Holistic Approaches to Addiction That Work

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) has recently been gaining recognition amongst traditional medical practitioners, and a few doctors are now prescribing some form of it to their patients as a complementary therapy to assist with the treatment of various illnesses. Holistic medicine is a method of healing that considers each person as  a whole, and holistic doctors take into account the mind, body, and soul of a patient when treating sickness and disease. The philosophy behind holistic medicine is that a person can only enjoy true health and wellbeing if their  physical, emotional, and spiritual energies are in perfect harmony, and if one is imbalanced it will have a negative effect on the other two. Adding a holistic element to a rehabilitation program increases the chances of the patient completing the entire program, and learning new ways to feel peaceful and calm will assist them in staying away from drugs and alcohol after leaving the treatment center.

Silence the Mind

According to holistic medicine our mind has the power to manifest and shape everything in our lives, and we are responsible for all the thoughts that enter our head on a daily basis, whether they are good or bad. Choosing to think only positive thoughts will have a big impact on our health and wellbeing, and retraining the mind to focus on the positive will gradually begin to silence negative emotions such as fear, depression, and substance cravings.

Repair the Body

We are what we eat, and a poor diet coupled with the intake of numerous toxins will have a devastating effect on the body. Most addicts tend to lead an unhealthy lifestyle and do not get enough sleep, exercise, or nutrition which has a detrimental effect on their mental health. Holistic medicine heals the body through a combination of a proper diet, herbs and supplements, and biophysical detox, and pharmaceuticals are only prescribed when absolutely necessary. Any form of exercise that brings the patient closer to nature and themselves is also recommended such as yoga, walking, hiking, or swimming.

Nourish the Soul

Allopathic doctors have yet to accept the existence of the soul or spirit and do not take steps to heal it during medical treatment. There is scientific proof that certain alternative medical therapies such as acupuncture, herbal remedies, and meditation can improve a patient's chance of recovery. Despite this, many doctors refuse to believe these therapies have any benefits and instead attribute any positive outcomes to the placebo effect. Those who have spent time as an addict will know very well the spiritual emptiness that comes with this type of lifestyle, and holistic medicine seeks to remedy this by encouraging the use of meditation to nourish the soul and reconnect it with the body.

Most holistic treatments can be safely used alongside traditional medical care, and studies have shown that combining the two often gives a much greater chance of a successful patient recovery. A growing number of drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers now offer complimentary therapies alongside their regular treatment such as acupuncture, yoga, drumming therapy, herbal medicine, and equine therapy, and many patients even continue with these therapies once they reenter their normal lives.

Albert Stayton is an addiction counselor. He uses his writing to help people address addiction in a possitive and effective manner.