Nobody ever intends to become addicted when they begin experimenting with alcohol or drugs. In fact, most individuals continue to believe that they have complete control over their substance abuse even in spite of signs to the contrary. Oftentimes those who have developed a chemical dependency are surprised when they begin to experience withdrawal symptoms, which is proof that one’s substance abuse is no longer a behavior in which they indulge wilfully. Withdrawal occurs when the body has adapted to the persistent, continuous presence of harmful, mind-altering chemicals, which causes to body to begin actually needing alcohol or drugs in order to fulfill even basic bodily functions and processes.
While alcoholism and drug addiction represent a form of suffering that is inherently physical, there are many aspects of addiction that affect one’s life in various ways other than the physical. What makes the disease of addiction so unique compared to other disease is that it’s an encompassing illness, affecting virtually every aspect of one’s life. In short, the development of an addiction to alcohol or drugs causes physical and health deterioration, affects one’s emotions and patterns of thought, causes damage and destruction to important relationships, puts one’s job and independence at risk, and even has some profound effects on one’s spirituality as well. Due to the wide range of numerous effects that the disease of addiction causes, recovery from alcohol and drug addiction is a likewise complicated process, requiring one who has become chemically dependent to receive a variety of therapies and treatments that address his or her specific symptoms. However, there are a number of different treatment modalities that are adapted or refined for very specific needs or preferences. In other words, these more specific treatment modalities—such as holistic treatment for addiction—are designed to meet the very specific needs of certain populations of individuals suffering from addiction.
What Exactly Distinguishes Holistic Therapy from Other Types of Treatment?
Most people think of the healthcare industry as a being a more clinically-oriented form of recovery, focused on the physical, medicinal needs of patients since the physical effects of illness are often the most dire and apparent. While it’s very important for individuals suffering from medical conditions to receive the proper medications and physical therapies, there are various other effects of illnesses that must be treated differently than those effects that can simply be medicated. Holistic medicine is a form of healing that treats the wide variety of symptoms that an individual experiences due to a medical condition; since many of these varied effects can’t be treated using a medication, holistic treatment occasionally involves some rather unconventional therapies and methods. In other words, holistic treatment refers to the type of treatments used to optimize the health and wellness of an individual’s mind, body, and spirit, which are essentially the basic components of holistic therapy.
How Holistic Addiction Therapy Treats the Mind
The mind could be considered the most important component of the disease of addiction. Characterized as a chronic brain disease, addiction occurs due to the altered structure and functioning of the brain. In other words, addiction has been associated with physical, structural abnormalities in the human brain, which prohibits natural, healthy cognition. This is largely what causes an addict’s behavioral compulsions as he or she is unable to resist despite knowing that there could be dire consequences. Additionally, this is why counseling and psychotherapy form the basis of addiction recovery. Holistic psychotherapy and counseling is unique from many other forms of counseling because it considers an individual’s mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical needs simultaneously. In particular, holistic psychotherapy often focuses on helping an individual overcome psychological and emotional distress by considering how a person relates with the world around him or her and how one’s worldview is expressed through thinking and feeling.
Holistic Addiction Therapy & Physical, Bodily Recovery
It’s true that the brain, or mind, plays a central role in alcohol and drug addiction, but the holistic perspective emphasizes the interconnectedness of the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical effects and suggests that you must treat all aspects simultaneously in order to overcome the affliction. As such, holistic addiction therapy can include a variety of treatments that seem to be physically-oriented, but oftentimes incorporate physical treatment alongside mental and spiritual.
For instance, yoga is a widely-used and popular form of physical holistic therapy since it’s a low-intensity form of exercise, is a great way of improving one’s flexibility, teaches controlled and mindful breathing, and encourages individuals to clear their minds in order to focus on their bodies, movements, and physical presence. Acupuncture is another common holistic offering that, while not being very physically demanding, helps to improve energy, alertness, mental clarity, stimulates the release of beneficial hormones and the body’s natural chemicals, and improves circulation to the brain, spine, and throughout the body. In essence, the physical components of holistic addiction therapy tend to be low-intensity treatments that also improve one’s mental wellness while serving to detoxify the body.
Spiritual Recovery as Part of Holistic Addiction Treatment
One of the characteristics of holistic addiction therapy that distinguishes it from many other treatment modalities is its emphasis on spiritual wellness. While mental and physical treatments tend to always be included in addiction recovery programming, spirituality isn’t often seen as being universal since there are a number of individuals who aren’t overtly spiritual or religious. However, with the high success that many have had with spiritual programs including Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step recovery fellowships, holistic therapy has become much more popular.
In fact, Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson once said that alcoholism occurred when an individual began looking for spiritual fulfillment and meaning at the bottom of a bottle. As such, a number of holistic programs incorporate aspects of the twelve-step method since it incorporates spirituality into the recovery process, encouraging individuals to establish stronger relationships with the higher powers of their understandings. Holistic spirituality also emphasizes empowerment, mental strength, and serenity and often includes things like guided meditation and even horticulture. In essence, the goal is to help individuals to refocus their spirituality and beliefs, whatever they might be, since finding spiritual fulfillment without resorting to substance abuse is often considered to be an essential part of the recovery process.
Let Recovery Hub Help You Overcome the Disease of Addiction
Although holistic medicine has become more widely incorporated into addiction recovery programming, there are many other treatment modalities that have likewise proven to be effective for many. Since everyone is different, it’s important for each addict who is beginning the rehabilitation process to find the programming and treatments that best address his or her own recovery needs. If your or someone you love is suffering from chemical dependency and would benefit from learning more about the available recovery options, call Recovery Hub at 1-888-220-4352 today. Our recovery specialists are available for free consultations and assessments to help those in need find the programs that will deliver them to lives of happiness, health, and sobriety.