Do Holistic Approaches Work for Addiction?

Do Holistic Approaches Work for Addiction?

Holistic approaches are currently ‘en vogue’ at treatment and addiction centers, particularly those which serve individuals at higher end facilities. One of the ways treatment facilities attend to the whole person and individualize care is to provide alternative treatments (acupuncture, equine-assisted therapy, massage therapy). Learn more about holistic approaches in addiction treatment and the value of providing the service for recovery.


Evidence-Based Interventions


Some experts may argue no evidence exists to suggest holistic approaches provide benefit for addiction or improve the odds of remaining sober. While it may feel great to receive a massage or let oneself relax, clinical, evidence-based facts can be harder to find in support of alternative, holistic therapies for addiction treatment. Costs for holistic treatments can also add up to over $100 and up per treatment depending on the modality used (acupuncture, energy healing, massage, etc). Some people even think it is just ‘trendy’ to offer alternative treatments which provide hope to people desperate to heal and recover from addiction without proof of it working.


Support for Alternative Therapies


A core treatment program would include many of the following options in support of recovery for individuals with addiction, in addition to alternative therapies:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Medications for addiction
  • Evidence-based psychotherapeutic techniques

One of the arguments in support of holistic, alternative therapies in addiction treatment rests in providing wellness and health practices which complement traditional treatment protocols. Additionally, even if the therapeutic techniques offered do nothing more than make a person feel relaxed, at ease and less anxious, no harm has truly been done. In fact, a person in treatment who is more relaxed and at ease may be more likely to absorb the rest of the treatment protocols and find them effective. SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration) endorses treatments which are scientifically shown to be effective and include alternative therapies as adjuncts to evidence-based practices.


Be Informed


Any individual who wishes to experience alternative and holistic treatments can be armed with knowledge prior to accepting treatment. Informed consent is all about having the right to know whether therapeutic techniques being used are backed by science. Likewise, individuals who wish to experience alternative treatments can be informed by researching facilities who offer the programs and decide if it is a good fit for one’s individual goals in recovery. It may not be a good fit for every person, but it is is an individual decision whether to pursue holistic therapies. What works for one person may not work for another, so it helps to do research, try it out and see whether it is going to be a good fit before deciding for or against the incorporation of alternative treatment into one’s overall plan.

Every individual who seeks treatment for addiction has unique needs and goals. If you are searching for traditional or holistic programs or a combination of the two, The Villa can serve as your guide. Call us to find out how we can help you make an informed decision about next steps for recovery.