This article was originally published on drugrehab.com. It is reproduced here with permission.
The body comprises interdependent parts that influence one another. Physical pain can lead to mental anguish, and emotional distress can cause sleeping problems and anxiety. If all of a person’s needs are not addressed, chronic health disorders such as addiction can be difficult to overcome.
Holistic treatment is a set of therapy approaches that target all aspects of a person’s health—the body, the mind and the spirit. These programs use natural methods to treat drug or alcohol addiction.
The traditional model of substance abuse treatment focuses on counseling, 12-step meetings and other supportive services. But holistic treatment also integrates complementary therapies such as meditation and acupuncture to address underlying causes of addiction.
Nanci Stockwell of Advanced Recovery Systems suggests ways to incorporate alternative therapies into a person’s recovery plan and stresses the importance of finding the right therapies for each individual.
Holistic therapies focus on the patient’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Paying attention to each aspect may expedite recovery and create a more stable body and mind.
Why Is Holistic Treatment Important?Addiction affects many aspects of a person’s health. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction can cause problems to the cardiovascular, respiratory and musculoskeletal systems. Substance use disorders can also lead to overdose and death.
But addiction is a disease that changes the brain. In addition to physical problems, this disorder can result in mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Many people simultaneously experience addiction and mental health problems.
Holistic treatment addresses myriad physical, emotional and spiritual issues associated with addiction, from physical health to spiritual wellness.
Generally, holistic therapies can:
- Treat pain
- Reduce tension
- Decrease stress, depression and insomnia
- Improve self-care
Is Holistic Treatment Effective?Research has found that holistic therapies can enhance addiction recovery when combined with traditional substance use disorder treatments and self-help groups. These complementary therapies can provide additional tools to support people in recovery.
A 2013 study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence showed that holistic treatment may be effective in treating smoking addiction. In a review of 14 clinical trials, researchers found that yoga and meditation-based therapies showed promise in improving smoking cessation.
And according to a 2009 study published in the International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, holistic treatment is efficient in treating chronic illnesses such as mental health disorders and other health-related problems.
In the United States, holistic treatment is growing in popularity.
More than 30 percent of American adults and about 12 percent of children have used some form of complementary or alternative medicine, according to a 2016 report by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
Results from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey showed that the most common complementary health approaches among adults included natural products, deep-breathing exercises and meditation practices such as yoga.