Addiction is a complicated disease. It’s psychological as well as physical and may become worse depending on an individual’s mental health, emotional state, environment, or a host of other factors. So, when it comes to treating substance abuse problems, it’s important to find the best method and approach to treatment for the individual who is suffering from mental health or substance abuse. 

A truly comprehensive strategy for treatment tackles all aspects of addiction. This helps to reduce the risk of future relapse. Often, a holistic approach can help to effectively treat addiction. Those who enter a holistic addiction treatment program can enjoy the benefits of becoming emotionally, mentally, and physically well while eliminating the influence of alcohol or drugs from their lives.

Defining Holistic Addiction Treatment

Holistic addiction treatment is an approach that takes into account the emotional, mental, and spiritual needs of the individual in addition to the person’s physical state. Often, people equate holistic care with non-medical care. However, this is not always the case. Holistic care includes non-medical approaches but can include clinical care as well. So, although this type of treatment uses some medicinal and clinical approaches to addiction treatment, some of the methods of holistic care work to help individuals overcome substance abuse without the use of prescription drugs.

Holistic care can include a variety of treatment methods. It might include individual talk therapy, yoga, mindfulness meditation training, or massage therapy. Each of these elements is designed to help those who are working to overcome substance dependence. 

The main goal of a holistic approach is to treat addiction from all angles of life. For example, instead of exclusively focusing on physical symptoms, holistic treatment programs emphasize each individual patient’s unique complexities. So, a long-lasting recovery is more likely when a holistic approach to drug addiction treatment is involved.

Additionally, holistic, by definition, means taking the whole person into account. While a holistic approach doesn’t ignore physical symptoms of addiction, these aren’t the center of treatment. By treating the entire person, not just certain aspects of their health, patients have an opportunity to reach lasting recovery.

Understanding the Elements of Holistic Addiction Treatment

Again, there are many medical and non-medical holistic treatment methods. Each one presents specific benefits and results for those who are in treatment for addiction. Some of the commonly seen holistic therapies include:

  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Meditation
  • Art therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Exercise therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Mindfulness therapy
  • Nutritional therapy

Art therapy involves various types of art (drawing, painting, etc.), which helps to center those who are in recovery and enables them to develop a healthy way to cope with the emotional and physical challenges in life, both during and after treatment.

Exercise therapy engages the physical body while working to improve emotional and mental health. Those who are involved with this kind of therapy can become more physically fit while gaining confidence and getting the emotional support they need in order to continue overcoming addiction.

Acupuncture and massage therapy both work to help individuals relieve stress and physical pressure. Through these approaches, medical professionals can relieve muscular stress, which often causes discomfort that could lead to alcohol or drug use. By treating and relieving this pressure, professionals can help patients to have physical and emotional peace.

Mindfulness therapy and meditation are both designed to assist individuals in becoming present and aware of the moment. This helps individuals to focus on the here and now rather than on the painful memories of the past.

Although it’s important to address the underlying causes of addiction and deal with the events of the past that may be related to the present, dwelling on those things may prevent individuals from moving forward. Mindfulness therapy is often helpful in bringing individuals to a healthy state of mind, which ultimately helps them to move forward in their recovery.

A Holistic Approach Compliments Evidence-Based Strategies

It’s important to note that holistic addiction treatment actually complements, rather than replaces, evidence-based strategies. 

We know that when treating addiction, certain strategies have higher success rates. Detox, for example, requires medical care. While many regard individual, group therapy, and the 12-Step program as key elements of recovery, it’s important to understand that these strategies are evidence-based approaches.

Overall, holistic care won’t take the place of these treatment methods. In addition to the evidence-based methods, holistic treatment offers alternative ideas that are incredibly helpful for certain patients.

Getting to the Root Causes of Addiction

A holistic strategy addresses the root cause of addiction while a non-holistic approach might only focus on the symptoms. That approach might not be sufficient for many of the individuals who are looking to end substance abuse in their lives. 

There are many factors that influence addiction. For example, mental health often plays a role, and trauma history may often lead to substance abuse. Additionally, there’s a genetic component that makes certain individuals more prone to addiction development.

With dual diagnosis care and trauma therapy, you can reveal the cause of your addiction. Fortunately, if a resolution is available, the likelihood of relapse decreases. Holistic care recognizes that understanding the causes of addiction is necessary for creating the right treatment plan.

Focus on Individualized Treatments

Addiction treatment shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all. The appeal of a holistic care program is that it treats patients as individuals.

Some patients thrive with individual talk therapy. Others benefit from more extensive group therapy. While some individuals need sober living, others transition better with outpatient care. All of these options and more are available with the holistic treatment approach.

Holistic Care at 1st Step Behavioral Health Pennsylvania

At 1st Step Behavioral Health Pennsylvania, addiction treatment is holistic. No two patients are alike, and the road to recovery is unique. There are treatment programs available at our rehabilitation center, and each offers diverse methods and therapies. These programs include:

  • Intensive outpatient programs
  • Individual therapy
  • Continuing care recommendations and support

A holistic approach is the most comprehensive, effective method for tackling substance abuse. At 1st Step Behavioral Health of Pennsylvania, we give you the support and help to end your addiction once and for all. Call (844) 549-1307 to take the first step to health, happiness, and sobriety.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky, MSW, LCSW

The Holistic Approach to Addiction TreatmentBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is the Assistant Clinical Director at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.