Who Is a Good Candidate for Holistic Treatment?
For most people, holistic practices provide an effective addition to treatment for mental health disorders and addiction recovery. Holistic therapy takes an individualized approach that considers the whole person and their needs when making a plan for a healthy lifestyle. You can use a combination of such treatments to manage stress and promote well-being as a supplement to conventional treatment for mental health disorders, substance use disorder or a dual diagnosis.
For example, nutritional therapy can be used to help heal the body from the effects of addiction. This treatment improves the ability to focus on lasting addiction recovery. Nutritional therapy is especially helpful when combined with mental health counseling, relaxation techniques and other holistic therapies.
What Addictions Can Holistic Treatment Be Used For?
Holistic treatment programs can be used for any type of addiction. Holistic therapies may be right for any addiction, but the success of these programs does depend on the individual. Some people may suffer from addiction issues that lead them to abuse one or more substances, and holistic approaches can help people who have a dual diagnosis due to addiction and mental health problems.
Some of the most common addictions that can be treated with this approach include the following:
Addressing the Mind and Body
Traditional treatment methods don’t always allow people to connect with their true inner power. It’s important for those recovering from an addiction to address the root causes of their dependence and learn how to care for their physical and mental health at the same time. Activities such as group therapy, meditation, relaxation and exercise can boost self-confidence, giving people the strength to stay sober amid social pressure.
Changes to diet and lifestyle can also help someone recover because those dietary changes can be as effective as a medical detox and reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Learning how to take care of your physical health ensures a lasting recovery.
If you’re suffering from mental health issues that drive your addiction, a holistic approach can also help you learn ways to cope with anxiety or depression in a healthy way and know when to seek emotional support. Some people may need to overcome past trauma before they can move on to a happy life, and holistic psychotherapy offers a more empathetic approach than more standard therapies.
How Holistic Treatment Is Different From a 12-Step Program
The 12-step program is rooted in a book published in 1939 that was a road map many struggling addicts have followed for decades. New evidence has caused a shift in the way addiction treatment providers approach addictions and help people recover. Some of the key issues with a 12-step program include the following:
Assumption of Powerlessness
Twelve-step programs teach people that the reason they’re struggling with an addiction is due to moral defects and falling away from a higher power. The key takeaway is that people can’t control whether they remain sober or if they enjoy a happy and prosperous life.
Lack of Mental Health Care
Mental health and trauma are often linked to addictions, and 12-step programs ignore the impact of mental health on dependency and behaviors. By ignoring mental health concerns, these programs don’t help patients address the core causes of their addictions so they can succeed in the future.
Whether you’re a spiritual person or not should have no weight on your ability to overcome an addiction, but 12-step programs force those seeking help to submit to a higher power. While spirituality can help some people, it’s not the answer for everyone. Holistic approaches focus on your personal beliefs without judgment or persuasion.
Reliance on Non-Professionals
Holistic approaches are backed by medical professionals and psychotherapists, while 12-step programs are managed primarily by volunteers. When addressing an issue that has life-changing consequences, it’s important to place yourself in the care of people who understand why addiction occurs and how to treat it with an evidence-based approach.
Lack of Scientific Research
Twelve-step programs teach that you can overcome an addiction by sheer willpower rather than by understanding how brain chemistry works. Science-based approaches allow therapists to help you train yourself to develop new habits and behaviors that reduce your chances of going into relapse.
Statistics have shown that people who enter a 12-step program often relapse and fall back into their addiction. Each time they must repeat this cycle, they feel less hopeful for their future and may lose their self-esteem because they think they’re just wired differently than everyone else in the world.
Substance abuse can rewire your brain, but the good news is that there are ways you can train your brain to use coping mechanisms such as relaxation, meditation, exercise and breathing to overcome the need to use drugs or alcohol. What works for someone else may not be right for you, so it’s important to find a treatment program that pays attention to individuals’ needs and not a strict set of principles.