Is a Holistic Approach to Substance Abuse Right for You?

Is a Holistic Approach to Substance Abuse Right for You?

Woman Having Counselling Session

What was once considered odd and unnatural has now become mainstream and acceptable, even making inroads to healing addiction over and above traditional methods.

What are some of these oddball approaches to an age-old problem?

Below is a list of some of the most common holistic treatments, new-age and old, that are finding their way into luxury rehabs, and other more affordable rehabs as well.

While we at do see these types of holistic treatments to be valuable, we still espouse the traditional 12 step programs that are the backbone of so many successful programs of Americans in recovery today.

We do encourage you to find treatment that includes some of these therapies as supplements to your core offerings. Each patient seeking recovery must find his or her own “right combination” to achieve the balance in freedom from substances.

While getting to treatment is generally seen as a terrific step away from being an active substance user, the truth is, you’ll need to be wary of joining “just any treatment.”

Strive to locate centers which offer flexibility and allow you to discover what works, for you. Bad fits, rehabs that experience a lower rate of success, may offer a cookie-cutter formula that doesn’t work for a majority of participants.

Getting ready to go to rehab is good, choosing the right rehab, while daunting for many, is the crucial issue at this point. If you’d like some guidance, we have a confidential helpline which you can use to speak with an expert on addiction treatment. We’ll offer advice and dispel the confusion and common anxiety on this major decision in your recovery.

To learn more, call 888-884-7162 right now.


Gaining mindfulness as a form of battling the urges that so many alcoholics and addicts fall prey to in relapses, has been found to be quite effective and this “alternative” treatment has found a home in the very mainstream consciousness of sober and clean recovering people around the world.

There are many types of meditation, here we’ll just cover Vipassana. This mindful process teaches your mind not to react when emotions arrive, but rather to simply be aware of them as they pass through, like a ship in the night. This meditation has been used to treat a variety of negative behaviors, including smoking, drinking alcohol and using illicit drugs.

There is a growing corpus of scientific studies claiming the usefulness of meditation (in many various forms) to heal the mind of the additive properties and habits.


Yoga means “union” when translated from Sanskrit, is the union of physical postures, meditation and breathing. When these three elements are combined into one, an inner peace can be achieved which assists recovering alcoholics and addicts in their quest to remain clean and sober.

Further, the inherent value of reconnecting with the body – something many alcoholics and addicts had lost – has great benefits.

A central component of yoga, breathing, can have it’s own rewards when a heightened sense of self-awareness is combined with one’s own lungs. These vital organs are connected with the body’s circulatory and nervous systems, providing detoxification, relaxation and a built-in energy renewal.


Universally embraced by doctors and experts alike, exercise is one of the best ways to heal the body after a prolonged bout with drugs or alcohol. Getting a move on benefits the cardiovascular, pulmonary and endocrine systems. Physical exercise gets the brain involved in ways that it’s not otherwise going to be moving. These include increased oxygen and nutrient delivery, neurotransmitter levels, along with a positive effect on learning and memory.

When exercise is a factor, executive processes such as working memory, planning and multi-tasking are positively affected.


It is widely accepted that a new treatment method, called biochemical restoration can alter the imbalances which once created cravings, depression, unstable moods, anxiety – the types of things that cause addiction in the first place.

These treatments seem to broadly take two paths:

First, eliminating the wrong foods. This can be difficult, since recovering patients tend to gravitate, especially in early recovery toward just the types of food that destabilize blood sugar, spur inflammation, and rob the brain of essential neurotransmitters – the key to maintaining level moods.

These foods? Almost exclusively they are processed foods, high in added sugar, salt, vegetable oil fats, caffeine, refined carbohydrates and low-nutrient foods.

The other path to addressing the biochemical imbalances is a restoration plan and includes a micronutrient supplement, physical activities, a personal nutrition plan and periodic measurements to gauge progress.

Some have argued that nutrition is the most widely ignored factor to treating addiction. One expert, David Wiss, calls for the common “many small meals” approach, eating 4 – 6 daily meals, every 2 – 4 hours. Addicts must eat more fiber and protein. Education should include learning to cook healthy meals, making solid food choices and know that staving off depression can be aided with a balanced diet including omega-3 essential fatty acids, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory vitamins and minerals.

Here’s another interesting article on holistic healing.

Music & Art Therapy

Creating a thing, within an activity-based therapy process has been shown to spur the nurturing and creating process in addict’s brains.

Studies show that relapse rates with music therapy are effective to reduce relapse rates for various mental illnesses, such as depression, stress, anger and anxiety in those attending rehab for alcohol or substance abuse.

Animal Therapy

Advocates in the therapy community hold that a dependent creature, such as a dog or fish, can enable the addicted person to awaken the nurturing side within them. Taking care of another, even when it’s an animal can have wonderful side effects: lower stress levels, blood pressure, heart rate, higher self esteem and even a reduction reported in pain levels for unrelated illnesses!

Equine therapy, for example, uses the bonding and interactions to build trust, confidence, patience and self-esteem between humans and horses.

Animal therapy in its many forms helps recovering addicts focus on things other than themselves. This translates, broadly speaking to a greater external focus on other people, as well as the animals who benefit.

Besides these few holistic therapies, many more are in experimental phases at world-class treatment centers around the country. We believe in an organic development around a variety of holistic treatments, with a 12-Step-based program of therapy.

Before engaging in any treatment program, there are many complex questions you must answer to find a rehab center that’s right for you. One size does NOT fit all. And admitting yourself to the wrong rehab can have dire consequences, the least of which are in time and money poorly spent.

We at are experts at negotiating these difficult decisions surrounding the best program for your particular case.

Would you like more information on the options that may be right for you at a luxury rehab center? We have details on every top program across the country…and all are NOT equal.
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