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7 Ways a Holistic Approach Benefits People with Addiction

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Historically, people were treated for addiction by simply detoxing and then being told to abstain from substance use. It quickly proved to be an ineffective approach, because it was simply focused on behaviour modification without considering people as holistic beings. A holistic approach means not just looking at the physical substance addiction, but also considering the mental and physical health of the individual. Holistic care means that all aspects of a person are treated in order to produce health. Here are the ways that holistic drug and alcohol addiction treatment can benefit people.

The emphasis is on the whole person

The concept of holistic addiction treatment is an important one because it recognizes that addiction is a complex issue that requires a full range of services and support. Addicts can’t just stop using drugs and alcohol and never go back. They often need help with other aspects of their lives as well. This can be retraining their minds to overcome limiting beliefs, it could be getting therapy for traumatic experiences, or even learning how to care for their emotional and physical needs. There is a treatment center on The Big Island of Hawaii, for example, that offers a whole-person-centred approach to rehab and recovery. Because of this, each person gets a truly unique experience when they go through the program.

Explores underlying issues that fed the addiction

Holistic approaches to drug and alcohol recovery focus on helping people learn to identify the underlying issues that may have fed the addiction. Because addiction becomes an unhealthy coping mechanism, people need to figure out what’s going on underneath the surface. Trauma, stresses in life, an unhealthy upbringing, and more can all feed into addictive habits. A holistic approach won’t just have you detox and go on your way. Instead, you’ll spend time getting in touch with feelings and experiences that helped lead to your addiction.  

You’ll develop new coping mechanisms and improve your emotional health

Holistic approaches to recovery help those suffering from addiction develop coping skills and emotional well-being. When stressors arise, you don’t have to act in anger or completely retreat. You also don’t need to turn to alcohol. Through therapy, coaching, and group meetings, you can learn healthier ways to handle whatever challenges come along in your life.

Learn to distinguish cravings

Cravings are a symptom of addiction that can’t be quenched unless you feed it with whatever you’re addicted to. A desire is healthy and normal, but it can feel like an insatiable urge to the recovering addict. A holistic approach to recovery helps people suffering from addiction learn how to distinguish between these two things. This skill will help them make better decisions about what to do when a craving or desire arises.

You may or may not use medication

Holistic approaches to recovery do not rely on medications as a primary treatment option. But they do not avoid them either. In fact, for recovering addicts who have mental health issues, getting on the right medication can be life-saving. Some people may find that medication is the most effective option for them. Alongside a variety of therapeutic modalities, medication is an excellent part of addiction treatment. Others will find medications don’t work for them or they cause more harm than good.

You’ll treat your mind and body

Holistic approaches to recovery emphasise that treating both your mind and body can be effective at combating addiction. This means focusing on good eating habits, a healthy amount of exercise or movement, and getting the appropriate therapies. There are multiple reasons why people become addicted to substances and treating both the mind and body can help people overcome.

It Emphasises doing enjoyable things

Holistic approaches to recovery emphasise the importance of engaging in pleasurable activities. This includes hobbies, time with family and friends, and even entertainment outside of school and work. These things work together to bring joy to your life which can help you prevent relapse. Plus, engaging in activities can become social which can expand your network of friends.


Overall, a holistic approach to recovery is beneficial because it addresses all of these factors together rather than focusing on just one piece at a time as traditional rehab programs do. You’ll find everything from art therapy to adventures in rehab programmes that truly take a holistic approach. Different types of care providers are there to help you overcome your addiction and live a more fulfilled life.

Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.


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