With more than 22 million people struggling with addiction each year, there are more types of treatment centers available than ever before. Holistic, alternative or spiritual treatment programs are available beyond traditional rehab centers. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, holistic or alternative therapies could be a beneficial addition to the recovery process.
What is a Holistic Rehab Center?
While traditional rehab programs will focus on psychotherapy, 12-step or other community support programs, a holistic rehab center will focus on whole-person recovery. This often means using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices like yoga, acupuncture and more.
There are many benefits to a holistic approach. It focuses on the whole person, with all parts of life considered in the recovery process—emotional, spiritual and physical. Today, more and more traditional treatment centers are incorporating holistic recovery practices into treatment programming.
The set of principles called the 8 Dimensions of Wellness are aimed to help people in recovery cope with the stresses of daily life and stay sober by adopting holistic wellness for self care. These principles may be taught in specific 8-dimension groups or through skills building classes like meditation, sleep classes, spiritual programming, financial training and more.
The 8 Dimensions of Wellness address the following recovery principles:
- Emotional. Helping people learn to cope with life while cultivating healthy relationships.
- Environmental. Learning to occupy environments that support sobriety and overall wellbeing.
- Financial. Achieving financial health and finding peace with current and future financial situations.
- Intellectual. Harnessing creative potential and finding ways to learn new skills.
- Occupational. Finding fulfillment and contentment at work and on-the-job.
- Physical. Taking care of the body through exercise, healthy nutrition and adequate sleep.
- Social. Developing healthy connections with others while deepening support systems.
- Spiritual. Searching for and experiencing a sense of purpose and meaning.
Holistic Addiction Recovery Methods
Holistic rehab centers offer unique programs that help the "whole person" recover. This means using holistic healing methods that treat the mind, body and spirit. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), approximately 4 in 10 people use some form of complementary and alternative medicine, with the most popular therapies being deep breathing, meditation, massage therapy and yoga.
Holistic therapy offerings may vary from treatment center to treatment center, but they often include:
- Talk therapy
- Nutrition classes
- Exercise programs
- Spiritual counseling
- Deep breathing exercises
- Reiki healing technique
Holistic Alcohol Rehab
A primary part of a holistic alcohol treatment program is to help people reconnect with their emotional and spiritual health to better address their needs. People recovering from alcohol addiction need help finding recovery in their body, mind and social network. People with alcohol addiction often drink to cope with negative circumstances. Instead of using alcohol to cope with a bad day or negative situation, a holistic program may teach the use of mindfulness meditation to overcome negative feelings, triggers or cravings.
While treatment offerings will vary from program-to-program, many holistic alcohol rehab programs will incorporate a blend of alternative therapies like yoga or meditation with traditional treatment methods like psychotherapy and sober support groups.
Oftentimes, holistic rehab programs offer a number of recovery tools that can be used during treatment and back at home. And though many holistic treatment programs are offered on an inpatient-basis, some outpatient programs could incorporate holistic methods into the outpatient group schedule or recommend local resources for people recovering from alcohol addiction.
Holistic Drug Rehab
Holistic drug rehab centers can be a great path toward getting sober. When a person is struggling with drug addiction, it's common to experience negative triggers and cravings. A person in active addiction might turn to drugs to cope with negative emotions or withdrawal symptoms.A holistic treatment program can help people use healthy, alternative coping skills to overcome triggers and stay sober.
While drugs have a powerful effect on the body, alternative therapies like reiki and yoga can help a person reconnect with their body and mind as a natural approach to staying calm and sober. In a holistic drug rehab program, these therapies often come alongside traditional recovery methods to offer a variety of tools a person can use to stay sober. Through mindfulness, deep breathing and even nature walks, holistic rehab programs help offer a range of ways people can stay sober and avoid using drugs.
Types of Holistic Treatment Approaches
There are many types of cognitive therapy and behavior therapy offered at holistic treatment centers. Many of the therapies used in a traditional treatment setting can also be beneficial for a positive psychology. Some of these treatment approaches include:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Most people struggling with addiction have unhealthy thinking patterns that often lead to drug or alcohol use. In CBT, a person will learn to understand and challenge negative thoughts and beliefs they have, replacing them with healthier thoughts and behaviors.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
In DBT, clients learn to manage negative emotions and keep important relationships intact, strengthening their behavioral health. DBT focuses on four key areas, mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation and interpersonal effectiveness.
Each person has a unique set of reasons to get sober. In motivational interviewing, a counselor or therapist will use a person's internal motivations to support and encourage the recovery process.
These are just a few examples of the most common psychotherapy methods used in holistic treatment programs, though psychotherapy, mental health counseling, sober support and community groups like 12-step groups may be incorporated as well.
What to Look for in a Holistic Rehab Center
There are many treatment centers available, so it can be a challenge to find the right one for you. Start by contacting a treatment center to learn more about the program offerings, whether it is offered on an inpatient or outpatient basis, or if you meet the clinical criteria to attend the program. Many people will start their treatment experience through a phone call and a chemical health evaluation.
In addition to these first steps, here are key questions to ask when choosing a holistic recovery center:
How long is the program?
Holistic rehab programs will vary in length, similar to traditional treatment centers. Depending on the severity of your addiction, you may be recommended to attend a residential holistic program that is longer in length and offers on-site living and dining arrangements.
What therapies are offered?
Before you choose a program, find out what therapies are offered and think about what you're looking for. Holistic treatment programs often boast a long list of therapies, like deep breathing, yoga, reiki, meditation, exercise and nutrition programs. Depending on where the treatment center is located, they may even offer programs outdoors. And don't be afraid to try something new—alternative medicine therapies can be beneficial in treatment and back at home in your daily life, so trying something new can help you expand your recovery toolkit.
What does the program recommend for aftercare?
Many alternative therapies can be done at home or in the local community. So as your recovery gets stronger, you can continue using the therapies that work for you back home, whether that means solo meditation or a group yoga class.
If you or someone you know is looking to get sober, consider a holistic rehab program. Through establishing a healthy mind-body connection, holistic treatment programs will offer the ability for people to focus on recovery in all aspects of life, from stress management to relaxation techniques. Trying new therapies can deepen a person's emotional stability, physical well being, spirituality and overall recovery path.