Recovering from substance abuse is complex. To understand how holistic therapies and traditional medicine fit together in treating substance abuse, it helps to start with a review of the stages of recovery.

Stages of Recovery in Substance Abuse Summarized

The First stage can last up to 15 days and is part of the withdrawal process. Before treatment begins, a client should undergo a medically supervised detox program. This process ensures that the toxins from the drugs are leaving the body. The brain is readjusting to a more natural state and is no longer being manipulated by drugs. This stage can be dangerous, depending upon the client’s history of drug use, medical condition, and physical state. Cravings, depression, anxiety, paranoia, disrupted thinking, and sleep disruption can be part of this process. Close monitoring and accurate diagnosis are essential.

The client feels better during the second phase (2-6 weeks). Dopamine and serotonin are returning to normal levels in the brain.

Often this phase people describe as a pink cloud. If the client is in a treatment facility, he/she/they can verbalize what is happening and be clarified.

The third stage lasts between 45-120 days. During this time, the client’s program structure becomes crucial. Many believe they have recovered only to go back to life and relapse. A range of emotions occurs during this time, which can be overwhelming. Healthy activities and a strong support group are helpful during this period.

What is Holistic Medicine

Holistic medicine and therapies address what is commonly known as the whole person. This approach includes traditional Western medicine and other treatments encompassing a person’s psychological, familial, societal, ethical, spiritual, physical, mental, and intellectual sides. This approach is founded on the uniqueness of each patient. All aspects of holistic and traditional medicine in drug rehabilitation must complement each other to rebuild a healthy client successfully.

Since the 1980s, holistic health has been practiced in the United States. Dangers arose when holistic approaches were needed to integrate the necessary pharmacologic or surgical interventions. Today, drug treatment programs utilizing best practices will incorporate a range of therapies that address the whole person. These will include holistic medicine, therapies, and Western medicine.

Typical Component Parts of Holistic Drug Treatment

Generally, holistic approaches can include:

  • Spiritual development through therapies such as meditation and movement
  • Physical strength through yoga
  • Fitness exercise
  • Nutritional classes
  • Life Skills training
  • Mindfulness workshops
  • Stress Management
  • Acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage therapy
  • Music, drawing, poetry, and writing workshops for self-expression
  • Gardening Therapy

(Many studies have been done on veterans who have PTSD that have positively responded to mindfulness walks in nature and journal keeping.)

Holistic modalities are used in combination to complement other types of therapies, such as:

  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Medication education
  • Relapse Prevention
  • Twelve Step Programs

Holistic modalities are impactful but cannot be used to exclude other therapies and medications.

Substance use disorders range in “severity, duration, and complexity from mild to severe… Well-supported scientific evidence shows that substance use disorders can be effectively treated, with recurrence rates no higher than those for other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma, and hypertension. With comprehensive continuing care, recovery is now an achievable outcome.”

Recovery is achievable with the correct diagnosis and treatment plan managed by a licensed medical and clinical staff team. Once treatment begins, holistic modalities can help ease the trauma of drug and alcohol withdrawal, the onset of emotions one will feel, and aid in acquiring new techniques to quiet the mind. Through both holistic and traditional treatment, the client learns to take responsibility for how he/she/they are feeling and to make appropriate choices to improve the feeling.

Learning how to express oneself is a significant factor in recovery. Admitting that one may not be feeling strong or that one may be scared or angry is necessary to break through isolation and self-destructive behavior. Learning to care for oneself and those around us gives our lives purpose and meaning. Shared experiences help build connections and empathy and strengthen the client’s ability to stay clean and sober.

“More inpatient and outpatient programs today recognize the importance of alternative therapies in recovery. Therapies focusing on nutrition, relaxation, meditation, creativity, Chinese alternative medicine and herbs, yoga, acupuncture, spirituality, and exercise are offered to treat the “whole individual.” The holistic approach to therapy recognizes the importance of providing a variety of treatments to meet an individual’s needs. Treatment programs today are moving toward more integrative models because of their success rate. Clients are also more willing to participate in programs that address their needs and provide various treatment options.”

If you or a loved one suffers from substance abuse and mental health disorders, our facility can help. Using the latest in best practices (scientifically proven), our team of experts can help you rebuild your life. You can overcome the devastation of drugs and alcohol with the correct tools. Learn how to live your life without drugs.

Call to speak to one of our representatives who can answer all your questions and put your mind at ease. If you want to live a clean, sober, productive, fun life, pick up the phone and call today.