When it comes to treating substance abuse and addiction, there are many different approaches, perspectives, and modalities of therapy that are available, each of which can be extremely effective for the right person under the right circumstances.Due to the severely fragmented nature of addiction, it is necessary to approach treatment in a holistic manner.  Mind, body and spirit all suffer negatively throughout active stages of addiction.  At RISE, we carefully consider the incorporation of holistic practices –  such as acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy, nutrition and health, yoga instruction, and more – in order to treat the “whole” disease without limiting focus to any one of the sum of its parts. Offering holistic treatment modalities greatly diminishes rates of relapse and lends the way to improved overall optimal wellness. 

The current perspective shared by most addiction scholars and professionals is what’s referred to as the disease model of addiction. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction refers to “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry” that results in “characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual” dysfunction. It’s important to understand how the disease model defines addiction because of the misconception that the disease model of addiction regards only medical and psycho therapeutic treatments as being effective in treating substance abuse disorders. However, if you review how this model defines addiction, you’ll notice that it regard addiction as a brain disease that manifests not only biological and psychological symptoms, but social and spiritual ones as well. Since there’s not a singular treatment that can rid addiction of this affliction, the consensus is that individuals often need a variety of therapies included in their recovery curriculum that will address the variety of side effects present as a result of addiction.

What Exactly is Holistic Therapy for Addiction?

Many people have heard the term “holistic,” but more often than not it’s followed by the word “medicine.” By definition, holistic medicine refers to a method of healing that seeks to achieve optimal health and balance by accounting for the individual’s bodily, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness. Despite having a reputation for consisting merely of home remedies that offer negligible efficacy, physicians who practice holistic medicine utilizes all forms of care at their disposal, from conventional medicine and treatments to a number of alternative therapies, whatever is necessary to treat a patient’s symptoms.

In terms of treatment for addiction, holistic-based substance abuse therapy is being offered more and more frequently at rehabilitation centers in order to provide comprehensive treatment to individuals who suffer from chemical and behavioral dependency. Not always referred to as “holistic” therapy, these treatments are especially popular among the more elite and exclusive recovery facilities—occasionally under the name of “complementary” or “integrative” therapies—and include things like acupuncture, dietary education and consultations, massage therapy, Reiki, neurofeedback, experience or adventure therapy, somatic experiencing, equine-assisted therapy, spinal manipulative therapy, and a number of other holistic offerings.

Florida Holistic Therapy and Substance Abuse Treatment

Every addict will have their own needs that need to be addressed as part of their rehabilitation and recovery in order for them to succeed in long-term sobriety. The disease of addiction manifests different in each addict, who suffers from dependency for a number of personal, unique reasons. Counseling and psychotherapy have been and will likely remain an essential and foundational part of most addiction recovery programs, but holistic treatments can address and account for many components of healing that counseling can’t.

One of the greatest benefits to holistic addiction therapy is that it offers individuals seeking recovery from substance abuse and chemical dependency with a set of tools they can use to achieve spiritual and emotional wellness. With addiction being a comprehensive brain disease that affects every aspect of the addict’s life, it’s crucial that each aspect of an individual’s suffering is treated in order for them to experience success in recovery. Holistic therapy is designed to inspect all the different spheres of influence that cumulatively comprise an individual’s addiction, not discounting the importance of psychotherapy, but instead fortifying recovery by helping individuals to heal in other important ways. Additionally, since holistic therapy includes a number of different treatments, individuals have the opportunity to personalize their holistic addiction treatments according to their interests, preferences, and needs.

Benefits of Holistic Therapy for Addiction in Florida

The term “holistic” refers to the “whole” as opposed to merely treating individual parts. Most facilities offer holistic therapy alongside psychotherapy and counseling as a complement or supplement to more evidence-based rehabilitative treatments so that patients can benefit from a combination of both traditional and alternative therapies. In short, holistic substance abuse therapy allows individuals to assess and address the side effects of addiction with more than just counseling and psychotherapy; holistic therapy for substance abuse accounts for bodily, psychological, emotional, and spiritual wellness. In some ways, holistic therapy can be considered more comprehensive than the forms of counseling offered as part of rehabilitation programs.

Although we are only recently studying the efficacy of holistic substance abuse therapy in any depth, we’re slowly gathering evidence that paints a picture of how holistic therapy can be beneficial to those who suffer from substance abuse disorders and addiction. In a study in which alcoholics participated in holistic therapy as part of their rehabilitative treatment, it was found that increased physical activity resulted in decreased tension throughout the body, decreased stress levels, improved self-esteem, and a more positive and optimistic outlook. Another study found that when nutrition education was included in substance abuse treatment, recovery success rates improved noticeably. What’s more, a study that looked at the inclusion of holistic therapies with a spiritual focus—yoga, meditation, and a variety of other mind-body techniques—in 90-day residential substance abuse treatment and found that when given an assessment, participants had a marked improvement in their emotions and thought patterns. While the evidence might be somewhat sparse for the time being, clearly there is evidence of some level of benefit to holistic therapy for substance abuse being included among other recovery treatments.