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Alternative Treatment
group playing the drums at treatment for heroin addiction class

Alternative Treatment

Integrating a selection of alternative treatment options into a traditional addiction treatment program can help improve the recovery success rate for many people. Alternative therapies use a natural, holistic approach to treatment that focuses on treating the entire person, rather than just treating the symptoms of addiction.

Studies indicate that some of the stronger relapse triggers for people in recovery include uncontrolled levels of stress and low self-esteem. Integrating alternative treatments into an addiction treatment program provides natural ways to relieve symptoms of stress at the same time as promoting relaxation. Many holistic treatments also work to boost self-esteem and improve self-image.

What is Alternative Addiction Treatment?

Alternative addiction treatments use natural methods designed to treat the entire person. By comparison, conventional rehab treatment programs tend to treat the symptoms of addiction, such as working to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms during the detox process.

How is Alternative Treatment Beneficial for Addiction Recovery?

As a person sinks deeper in the grip of addiction, it’s common for many users to compromise their moral beliefs and personal values as they focus to sustain their addictive use. By the time an addicted person reaches out and asks for help, the person is struggling with low self-esteem, poor self-image, low or no self-confidence, a loss of identity and a lack of purpose in life.

Throughout the course of addictive drug use, the person may have developed a strong focus on finding, obtaining, using, and recovering from drug use. When the person begins the recovery process, they no longer have any real idea how to live a sober life without focusing solely on drugs or alcohol.

Alternative treatments are designed to restore balance into the person’s life by providing a renewed sense of purpose and focusing on the importance of self-care.  Many of the holistic therapies used help to improve self-esteem and self-worth, both of which reduce the risk of relapsing back into a cycle of addictive drug use.

Alternative therapies provide a healthy, natural way to relieve symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, which are all common throughout the recovery process.

Different Alternative Treatment Programs

Not every alternative treatment will be suitable for every person. Just as the triggers behind a person’s addictive drug use are different, the treatments used to achieve recovery also need to be customized to suit each person’s individual characteristics.

Some people may respond better to some types of therapy than others, so it’s crucial to try various options to determine which ones deliver the desired results. Some alternative treatment options include:

Restorative Yoga: yoga uses a range of poses and stretches that are combined with various controlled breathing techniques, which work together to promote mental calmness and a sense of relaxation, while creating an inner sense of well-being. Yoga is proven to help reduce stress and relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as being beneficial for controlling cravings during recovery.

Mindfulness Meditation: meditation uses controlled breathing techniques that help to calm the mind and reduce stress levels. Many people find meditation particularly helpful throughout the recovery process, as they learn to focus on the present, rather than becoming anxious or depressed when focusing on the future. By learning to focus on the present moment, a recovering person learns to deal with each day of the process as it happens.

Creative Therapies: creative therapies provide a healthy, positive form of expression accompanied by a satisfying sense of achievement. Some creative therapy options include art, dance, music, painting, writing, or drama therapies, all of which provide different benefits.

Equine Therapy: working with horses provides a natural way to boost self-esteem and self-confidence.  Many people who work with horses in a therapeutic environment feel empowered when trusted with the task of caring for such beautiful creatures.

Exercise Therapy: many people recovering from addiction suffer with poor physical health, due to the way drugs ravage the body and deplete resources. Participating in a controlled exercise program helps to strengthen wasted muscles and restore body tone, which help to improve self-esteem. Exercise also promotes the production of endorphins, which are the body’s natural ‘feel good’ hormones.

Nutrition Therapy: after spending extended periods of time focused on drug use, it’s common for many people in recovery to struggle with malnutrition. Nutrition therapy focuses on teaching how to eat a healthy, balanced diet that can boost the immune system.

Principles of Effective Treatment

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, effective treatment should address all the needs of the individual and not just focus on treating the symptoms of drug addiction.  It is equally important to find beneficial ways to address the underlying psychological triggers behind self-destructive behaviors and replace them with healthy new coping skills for living life without drugs or alcohol.  Integrating a variety of alternative holistic therapies into a conventional addiction program can help to improve recovery success rates.

Why struggle for one more day? Dial an addiction specialist now and discover a life free of substance abuse.