Although addiction is an illness, it isn’t an entirely physical disease. Many factors combine in the development of addiction and these factors can be psychological, emotional and physiological. To truly combat addiction, a holistic approach is best. A holistic approach to recovery embraces a wide range of treatment methods for comprehensive and lasting freedom from addiction.
Addresses the Root Cause of Addiction
A holistic approach to recovery is one that takes every aspect of health into consideration. It is not enough to help patients achieve sobriety. The goal is to help patients stay sober for a lifetime and enjoy health and wellness while staying sober.
To do that, it is important to address the root causes of addiction. There are thousands of potential factors in the development of a drug or alcohol addiction. Every individual is different and it is certainly possible that multiple factors contribute.
Through individual and group therapy, it may be possible to reveal what sparked addiction for an individual patient. In some cases, it could be genetic, where parents or grandparents also struggle with addiction. Other patients have a mental illness or have a history of trauma. Whatever it is, treatment can resolve and eliminate it from negatively impacting recovery.
Focus on Mental Health
Addiction is often classified as a substance abuse disorder, which is technically a mental health condition. Although there are clearly physical side effects of addiction, it is absolutely an illness that impacts mental health. There is an undeniable connection between psychological well-being and addiction.
In many cases, mental health concerns can lead to addiction. Individuals with undiagnosed mental illnesses may feel overwhelmed and try to self-medicate using drugs or alcohol to feel better. Other patients may develop an addiction and then find themselves struggling with a mental illness as a result of substance abuse. Clearly, both issues have to be dealt with for maximum recovery.
Dual diagnosis is the process of addressing mental health and substance abuse at the same time. This approach is key to a holistic strategy for addiction treatment. The goal is for all patients to complete treatment and have better mental health that will enhance their recovery, not be an obstacle leading to relapse.
Reducing Reliance on Lifelong Medications
Not all addiction treatment centers have a holistic approach to recovery. In these programs, the emphasis might be on pharmacological care. While medications can be helpful for some patients, a holistic approach reduces the use of unnecessary prescription medications.
For some individuals struggling with substance abuse and mental illness, medications will be a helpful way to restore a chemical balance. However, not all patients require medication. Sometimes, drug addictions are treated with a secondary substance that is also addictive.
This just perpetuates the cycle of addiction. A far better approach is to explore some of the non-medical ways to address addiction. Often, a comprehensive holistic approach can deliver successful results for those in search of lifelong sobriety.
Patients are Treated as Individuals
Another benefit of holistic recovery plans is that patients are treated as individuals. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution to addiction. While templates and timelines can be a great first step, there has to be the opportunity for flexibility and customization.
Often, the treatment plans with the most flexibility are those that embrace a holistic approach. Rather than forcing patients to follow a set plan, there are options to explore new opportunities. Some patients may find fulfillment in practicing yoga daily, while others might thrive with frequent acupuncture. Acknowledging the uniqueness of every individual patient can be one of the keys to finding true and lasting recovery.
The End Goal is a Fulfilling and Satisfying Life
The goal of addiction treatment is not to churn out patients that have reached sobriety but not grown in any other meaningful way. The objective is to help people live healthier, better lives. The first step is helping patients break free from their chemical dependence on drugs and alcohol. After that, holistic approaches can lead to a fulfilling life.
Often, this includes some element of spiritual development. Addiction recovery doesn’t have to be religious, but yoga, prayer and meditation can also offer incredible whole-person benefits. Patients also appreciate the stress relief and confidence boost that regular exercise can bring. Offering opportunities to lift weights, practice yoga or exercise in a fitness facility are just some of the ways that a rehab center can facilitate recovery.
A holistic approach also asks patients to determine what they want from life. Setting goals and finding meaning can offer true satisfaction, not just sobriety.
Patients are Empowered to Control Their Own Destiny
Addiction can make people feel like they don’t control their own lives. This is frustrating, and also untrue. Once you can break free from your addiction, you will control your own future. A holistic program reinforces this fact by offering choices throughout recovery.
In everyday life, individuals in recovery will need to make all kinds of decisions. Although routine can help, you’ll still need to choose sobriety on a regular basis. Offering choices in rehab, even if they are small, can set the tone for a lifetime of healthy decision-making.
A Holistic Strategy Can Prevent Relapse
More than half of all patients who complete some form of addiction treatment end up relapsing. Holistic recovery approaches may be successful in preparing patients to fight back against the risk of relapse.
To start, a holistic approach encourages healthy hobbies. Including activities like yoga or tai chi can go a long way in reducing stress. Stress relief, in turn, makes it easier to resist cravings.
Holistic programs also emphasize the need to listen to your body. To avoid relapse, that might mean thinking about the acronym HALT, which stands for hungry, angry, lonely and tired. Although it might sound simple, addressing these four common feelings can go a long way in standing strong against temptation and relapse.
Clearly, a holistic approach to recovery can offer a number of benefits. It might be the right choice for those who want lasting recovery and the ability to resist relapse for a lifetime.