These days, many treatment centers claim that they offer “holistic” treatments but not everyone knows what that means. The term comes from “holism,” which refers to the “whole” of something as more than the sum of its parts. A holistic approach to substance use disorder (SUD) treatment cares for the whole person, including the body, mind, and spirit while recognizing that an entire person is still more than the sum of these parts.
Addiction Affects the Whole Person
SUD doesn’t affect only the brain and other parts of the human body, but also the emotional, mental, and spiritual state of a person. Many people with SUD develop co-occurring disorders associated with the mind and emotions. Without treating these other components, an individual may not fully recover.
Traditional addiction treatment approaches tend to focus on the chemical processes of the body by relying on medications and detox, but many people who have achieved sobriety after these traditional procedures still experience relapse. Their mind and spirit have yet to be restored to a balanced and healthy state.
What Is Special About a Holistic Approach?
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “Recovery encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. The array of services and supports available should be integrated and coordinated.” Holistic recovery uses many different kinds of treatment options that cater to different parts of a person.
Alternative methods outside of mainstream pharmaceutical treatments are often categorized as holistic methods. These practices or therapies are usually more nature-based and use non-conventional, non-clinical tools. Examples include meditation, mindfulness, acupuncture, massage, art therapy, and nature therapy. Some tend to have a long tradition rooted in spiritual practices.
Common Holistic Treatment Methods
Among all holistic methods, mindfulness medication is generally the most-used one. This is because medical research has shown that mindfulness meditation can greatly enhance positive neurological changes to reverse the effects of SUD. It not only reduces stress but also repairs regions of the brain that regulate emotions.
Art and music therapies are fun and creative ways to help recovering individuals regain self-confidence and express emotions non-verbally. Take art therapy for example. A trained therapist may invite recovering individuals to create an incident drawing, stress painting, or art journal. By integrating a creative process into emotional expression, art therapy allows people a visual way to communicate something abstract that may be difficult to express in words.
Some treatment centers include dual diagnosis as a type of holistic method. People who are dually diagnosed have co-occurring conditions of SUD and mental health illnesses. Recovery experts incorporate a range of therapies in a comprehensive treatment plan, including individual counseling, psychotherapy, meditation, creative therapies, spiritual healing, nutritional therapy, and medication for mental health conditions. Some facilities also provide life skills coaching so that recovering individuals have a higher chance of transitioning back to their normal life well.
Integrating Holistic Therapies With Traditional Methods
Recovery experts advocate for the combination of holistic and traditional methods because together they treat the whole person. Usually, a comprehensive treatment plan with both approaches includes a wide range of care, from things like medically-assisted detox, psychotherapies, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), to 12-Step group meetings, creative therapies, and yoga.
A facility that offers comprehensive treatment plans has a higher chance to be effective because what works for one person doesn’t always work for another. Having many treatment options allows for a high level of customization. Effective treatment attends to all the needs of each individual, not just physical needs, and not just one blanket treatment path for everyone that comes through the doors.
Holistic Care Helps Long-Term
Holistic therapies all have natural elements to them. Examples are mindfulness meditation, yoga, nature therapy, and art therapy. They are very suitable to be used for long-term well-being. Time in addiction treatment helps people fully realize the health benefits of these methods. Because many don’t require fancy equipment or a professional to facilitate, they can become life-long means of maintaining recovery after people transition back to normal life.
The core principles of a holistic approach are listening to one’s body and embracing the mystery and complexity of human existence with openness and humility. These values can open recovering individuals up to a broader perspective on life and their relationship with nature. Each practice has rich wisdom in it which cannot be replaced by modern technology or the latest clinical modality.
Once people understand what a holistic approach is, they can begin paying more attention to physical, emotional, and mental healing in their everyday life. By giving a loving helping hand, holistic therapy can pull people through the hard times by healing and soothing their minds and emotions.
Do you know what sets a holistic approach apart from conventional methods in treating addiction? Are you motivated to try some of these methods? Work with professionally trained therapists who can design a comprehensive treatment plan according to your physical, emotional, and mental health needs. At Laguna Shores Recovery, our experienced mental health professionals can coach and support you in adopting recovery methods that are effective for long-term well-being. We offer holistic treatment options like creative therapies, meditation, nature therapy, animal therapy, and life skills coaching in addition to evidence-based clinical modalities. We will walk alongside you to find the perfect balance of holistic and traditional methods to grant you the best chance of recovery. Call us today to discover how you can be part of our community. The promise of long-term, sustainable recovery is waiting for you. For more information, call (866) 229-9923.