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5 Holistic Treatments That Can Aid Addiction Recovery

Medications aren’t the only way to treat drug & alcohol addiction. Holistic treatment is an approach which can heal the body and mind.

5 Holistic Treatments That Can Aid Addiction Recovery

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

August 2, 2022

The Forge Recovery Center

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is not for everyone struggling with a substance abuse disorder (SUD). Although medications such as naltrexone and disulfiram have been effective in treating opioid addiction and alcoholism for some people, if you struggle with chronic pain or prefer a holistic treatment, you may not want to use medications to help you overcome your addiction.

More importantly, numerous addictions do not have medications that have been FDA approved to help treat cravings and withdrawal symptoms. For you, this means alternative therapies must be used in some cases to help you recover from your addiction.

Holistic Treatment #1: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based holistic treatment. As a psychological treatment, CBT not only helps treat substance abuse disorder, but also symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. As a treatment for overall mental health concerns, CBT can benefit you if you have received a dual diagnosis.

Created by American psychiatrist Aaron Beck in the 1960s, CBT has a proven track record of helping people unlearn negative thoughts and behavioral patterns that prevent them from recovering. During CBT, your therapist will help you understand how the events in your life are affecting you and help you better understand the beliefs and thoughts contributing to your SUD or dual diagnosis. As you and your therapist begin to discover the inner workings of your mind, you will work collaboratively to unlearn negative behaviors and replace them with helping coping mechanisms that work for you and your lifestyle.

CBT is one of several evidence-based psychological therapies that can be used to help you if you have been diagnosed with SUD or dual diagnosis. Similar therapies include dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), family therapy, art therapy, and music therapy.

Holistic Treatment #2: Nature Therapy and Recreation Therapy

Nature and recreation therapy allow you to escape to the great outdoors and enjoy the world’s beauty while experiencing engaging activities that will help you feel good again. Studies have shown that being in nature can reduce stress and alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. 

Recovery is an exciting yet stressful time. Being out in nature and engaging in physical activities provides a healthy coping mechanism that allows you to reconnect with yourself and rediscover the things you enjoy. Nature and recreation therapy can include:

  • Mediation

  • Exercise

  • Kayaking, hiking, or swimming

  • Assisting in conservation efforts

  • Gardening

  • Animal-assisted therapy

Holistic Treatment #3: Meditation

Meditation is a powerful practice that has been developed over centuries. Mediation allows you to connect with your body, mind, and soul to help you better understand what you need to remain happy and healthy while in recovery. Meditation is relatively simple to practice and can be done virtually anywhere as long as you have a quiet, safe space to concentrate on your breathing. 

Practicing meditation can be done by finding a comfortable position and taking deep breaths while clearing your mind or scanning your body for aches and pains. Doing this can give your brain the rest it needs during stressful situations and identify why your body feels uncomfortable, giving you a roadmap to help yourself feel better. 

Holistic Treatment #4: Yoga

Like meditation, yoga is an ancient practice that has stood the test of time and provides many of the same health benefits as meditation. Although, yoga has the added benefit of also being an exercise that can help release traumatic events from the body and improve your health.

Research suggests that memories of traumatic events can become engrained into the muscular tissue, which is only exacerbated when you fail to exercise or release these emotions. Sometimes, this can cause chronic pain. Through the mindfulness aspects of yoga, you can begin identifying what harmful events are causing you pain and contributing to your addiction. With yoga movements, you can start to expel them from your body.

Additional benefits of yoga include:

  • Improved strength and flexibility

  • Reduced stress

  • Increased focus

  • Better sleep

  • Reduced symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD, and ADHD

Holistic Treatment #5: Acupuncture and Massage Therapy

Acupuncture and massage are physical therapies that can reduce tension and stress in the body. Developed in China around 100 BCE, acupuncture uses long, thin needles to manipulate meridians and pressure points in the body. Massage is not as invasive and involves a practitioner working muscles in the body to reduce pain and adjust structural deficiencies.

Additionally, both practices might help the body eliminate toxins, which can be highly beneficial after withdrawal. Aside from their detoxification and pain reduction benefits, acupuncture and massage have also significantly reduced symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety. With their wide-ranging benefits, acupuncture and massage can benefit you at any stage in your recovery process.

The Forge Recovery Center Takes a Holistic Approach to Addiction Recovery

At The Forge Recovery Center, we put our patients first. We know that medication is not for everyone, and there are times when medications are not an option.

We offer a variety of holistic treatments that will help you beat your addiction or dual diagnosis while helping you feel better in body and mind. When you start to experience joy in a world free of drugs and alcohol, you will be more encouraged to take steps to heal and rediscover yourself. Our holistic therapies and treatments can help you take care of your well-being while you recover.

If you have questions about treatment options that are available to you, contact The Forge Recovery Center today.

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