Substance use disorder (SUD) affects every aspect of those who suffer from it, including the mind, body, and spirit. Addressing needs in all these areas requires a holistic approach that considers the whole person. Holistic treatment is a comprehensive approach that aims to reduce symptoms of withdrawal while promoting well-being in other equally important areas, such as emotional and mental health.
Key Assumptions of a Holistic Approach
Holistic treatment considers each person as a complex system with interconnectivity. Proponents of this method believe that healing must occur in all parts of the whole person simultaneously to arrive at optimal health and well-being. The holistic approach also emphasizes human agency and the belief that everyone has the inner power to achieve better health.
Holistic healing methods also encourage collaboration between recovering individuals and health professionals as well as between experts in different fields. For example, traditional detox treatment should be paired with nutritional therapy to support the recovering individual’s health and recovery progress in multiple areas.
How Addiction Unbalances the Mind-Body Connection
Because addiction is a brain disease, it disrupts the mind-body connection by hijacking the brain’s neurotransmitters. That is why many people who use substances tend to develop anxiety and other mental health conditions. People’s entire beings—including the mind, body, and spirit—react to external stimuli that shape their well-being.
Traditional treatments such as detox and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) do not have the capacity to treat all forms of body-mind imbalances. Given the complex system of risk factors including genetics, family history, and environmental factors that shape people’s substance use tendencies, a one-size-fits-all method can hardly be sufficient. The toolkit of recovery practices needs to be expansive, which is why a holistic approach is necessary.
Common Forms of Holistic Therapy
Many addiction treatment centers have integrated a variety of holistic therapies into their programs. The most common ones include mindfulness meditation, nutrition therapy, and art therapy. The broader spectrum of holistic therapy also includes yoga, music or other creative therapies, equine therapy, journaling, massage therapy, experiential therapy, and more.
Because of the broad spectrum and collaborative spirit of the holistic approach, it is also known as the integrated approach. Integration is required because recovery practices must bridge and heal the mind-body-spirit connection which has suffered from the negative impacts of substance use. The integrated approach also recognizes that one type of treatment does not effectively address all of one person’s needs and that one method does not effectively address all people. If some needs are not addressed, there can be a higher risk of relapse.
Benefits of the Holistic or Integrated Approach in Relapse Prevention
The holistic approach ensures that each benefit of one type of therapy feeds into the next steps. For example, by helping people regain skills for coping with stress, their treatment team can now work on the next step of healing their low self-esteem, which is an important part of relapse prevention.
Many holistic therapies connect people to a form of spirituality or nature. This reduces the sense of alienation and isolation people often feel during active addiction and into early recovery. Spirituality or connection with nature brings a sense of belonging. It restores self-love and self-compassion.
Holistic treatments restore the many natural connections people have with themselves and others. They find a renewed sense of purpose and fulfillment, which can be highly effective in relapse prevention. It also encourages openness to the possibility of innovative and progressive methods. Practitioners of holistic healing will be more likely to be able to rebuild a healthy lifestyle and life rhythm because of this openness and belief in long-term perseverance.
Staying Hopeful and Motivated
During different stages of recovery, a person may experience a range of emotional, mental, and physical challenges that require a variety of treatment approaches. One type of treatment may be more effective than others. To have a personalized level of care, there needs to be a certain degree of trial and error. A holistic approach increases the chances for continued recovery by keeping people hopeful and motivated to try new things until they find what works.
For people who have completed residential treatment, outpatient holistic treatment programs can assist their long-term recovery. For example, if they are no longer struggling with intense cravings, they can focus more on nutrition, relaxation, creativity, and spirituality, all of which are aspects of a healthy life and sustainable recovery.
Holistic programs also keep alumni connected with a supportive recovery community. Recovery is a life-long process, so the continuous building of the mind, body, and spirit connection is vital. To correct the imbalances in a person’s complicated system, ongoing participation in holistic treatment is highly recommended.
Did you know that holistic approaches to addiction treatment can help you or your loved one gain back a sense of control? Holistic treatment programs address all of an individual’s multitude of needs. Treating only one area or set of symptoms of a person, or attempting to use the same method on all people simply isn’t effective for long-term sobriety. At Laguna Shores Recovery, we use a variety of traditional and holistic methods in recovery plans customized to each client. If you are looking for a holistic approach to your treatment, you do not need to look beyond Laguna Shores Recovery. We offer clinical addiction treatment methods in addition to holistic practices such as yoga, art therapy, music therapy, mindfulness meditation, and many others that promote and support the mind, body, spirit connection. You will also connect with a strong recovery community. Call us at (954) 329-1118 today.
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