In the treatment of addiction, evidence-based therapies are the bedrock of effective recovery. However, many individuals believe that in order to truly make a difference in the lives of patients, rehab centers need to take a more comprehensive approach to health and wellness. The result is holistic rehab, which goes beyond treating the physical and psychological components of addiction and uses lesser-known therapies to contribute to lasting sobriety.
The Need for Holistic Drug Rehab
First, it’s important to understand why holistic rehab exists at all. The emergence of holistic rehab is due directly to the high relapse rates seen among those addicted to drugs or alcohol. As many as 60% of patients who achieve sobriety will go on to use drugs again, and it’s the goal of every reputable, accredited rehab facility to reduce that number whenever possible.
Not all holistic rehab methods work for every patient. Some patients might respond well to some type of physical therapy, while others could get frustrated by it entirely. However, the goal is to offer as many different types of therapies to patients as possible. They can then choose from these alternative methods, selecting the therapeutic approach that fits their personalities and lifestyle and can best help them maintain their sobriety over the long term.
Holistic Rehab Complements Evidence-based Treatment
Some prospective rehab patients, as well as their loved ones, feel that they have to decide between traditional, evidence-based treatment and a holistic rehab. Thankfully, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Holistic rehab therapies don’t need to replace evidence-based treatments. Instead, they complement one another, thereby approaching addiction from all angles and doing more to help patients.
At a holistic rehab, patients are still provided with the key elements of treatment that have been proven most effective to work. Traditional treatment might include group counseling, where patients can share their experiences and feelings with others in a similar situation. It could also include the prescribing of certain medications to address mental health disorders or the use of cognitive behavioral therapy to foster changes to harmful behavior. However, these evidence-based methods can be supplemented with holistic approaches to recovery that may have less extensive research behind them, but certainly have the potential to help patients in a number of different ways.
Creates Stronger Coping Mechanisms for Patients
One of the biggest benefits of using holistic rehab to treat addiction is that it can help patients create stronger coping mechanisms. In the world of addiction treatment, coping mechanisms are those tools and resources that patients have at their disposal to prevent relapse and resist cravings. These coping mechanisms are unique to every individual, and holistic therapy can often highlight the most effective means of relapse prevention for patients.
Some patients, for example, might find that fitness is an incredibly helpful coping mechanism. Fitness, whether it comes in the form of a brisk jog or some weight lifting, has the potential to create endorphins in the brain and lift the mood, which is integral in the battle against recovery depression. Furthermore, regular exercise can reduce stress, which is a common trigger that leads to relapse. If fitness programs are available in holistic rehab, then patients can incorporate them into their daily routine, learn new skills and use fitness as a coping mechanism for the rest of their lives.
Meditation, as well as a similar activity like yoga, can also be an integral part of a holistic rehab program. Meditating, and thinking carefully about actions and their consequences, can be a coping mechanism for patients, as well as a way to avoid relapse. Music, art, horseback riding and countless other therapies may also have the same positive impact on individuals battling with a drug or alcohol addiction.
Improves Overall Health and Well-being
It may be important to note that virtually everything that goes on at a holistic rehab facility should be beneficial to the overall health of patients. Not only will patients be improving their chance at lasting sobriety, they will also be improving their own health and well-being.
Motivational therapy, for instance, can give people the confidence and self-esteem needed to secure a career after rehab and help them feel that they can make a difference in the world. Nutritional therapy can help patients learn to eat better, targeting problems like low energy or weight problems, both of which can lead to worsened health.
There is some evidence to suggest that holistic rehab works, in part, by focusing on the positive rather than the negative. Some rehab approaches emphasize the bad things that happen if patients use again. Holistic rehab, however, may instead focus on the positive things that can happen when patients live sober lives. These positive reinforcements may be an important factor in reduced stress, more happiness and longer periods of sobriety.
Methods Used in Holistic Rehab
Trying to define holistic rehab exactly can be tricky, because there are so many different methods used. That is all part of the success of holistic rehab, because it ensures that patients can pick and choose the alternative therapies that work best for them. On a physical level, things like massage, acupuncture and chiropractic work have been known to relieve stress and help patients feel healthier and more capable.
Nutritional therapy can include healthy, nutritious meals, but it can also focus on helping patients to shop for and prepare their own meals. This can set up individuals for a lifetime of healthy eating, boosting their health profiles and eliminating any potential vitamin or mineral deficiencies. The use of saunas, certain herbs and even light therapy have also proven to be effective among some patients.
Hobby therapy is also important in holistic rehab, and it gives patients the opportunity to get rid of stress in a healthy way, stave off boredom and develop new skills and social opportunities. Things like art, music, yoga or dancing can all have a place in holistic rehab.
Holistic rehab can be an incredible resource in the battle for recovery from addiction. By complementing evidence-based treatment, rather than replacing it, holistic approaches can target the needs of patients and help them to be as healthy, motivated and purpose-driven as possible.