Addiction is a disease that affects the mind, body, and spirit. Treating only the physical symptoms or obsessions and compulsions might keep someone clean for a while, but will not lead to the peace and fulfillment that can be found through a holistic approach to recovery.
Treating all of the individual components that led to and were caused by substance abuse can be done using a variety of methods. Some of the most common include:
Holistic Treatment Therapy
Therapy can help people learn skills to handle triggers and deal with unresolved issues from the past or as a result of using. A licensed social worker, professional counselor or psychologist can help sort out the best method of treatment based on the history and needs of each individual.
Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness involves bringing awareness to physical sensations, thoughts, feelings, and the environment in the present moment. It helps to reduce the stress and anxiety that comes with ruminating on past events and worrying about the future. Practicing meditation on a regular basis will cultivate mindfulness and help to develop insight.
Holistic Treatment Through Yoga
Yoga has many positive effects on the body that include increased flexibility, balance, strength, weight loss, improved circulatory health, and increased energy. On top of the physical benefits, yoga can also help reduce stress and foster mindfulness as people learn to shift attention to their bodies, thoughts, and emotions as they go through the poses.
Sometimes eating becomes an automatic process, a way to suppress emotions, and even an addiction in itself. Creating a well-balanced, healthy diet will help the body and mind, as well as reduce the risk of food becoming a substitute for drugs. Healthy foods will also help with cravings, as sugar and caffeine can prolong cravings or make them worse.
Exercise and Movement
This is another area that affects both the body and mind. Exercise can help decrease cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight, while increasing stamina and cardiovascular health. In addition, during exercise the brain releases endorphins, which naturally improve mood and reduce pain.
12-Step Programs and Support Groups
12-step programs were designed and are facilitated by people in recovery. They provide a support network and a safe place to share experiences. By working steps and having guidance, recovering addicts are afforded the ability to gain insight and learn how to live a fulfilling life without the use of substances.
Some people who have existing mental health issues or ones that were exacerbated by substance use require medication to maintain a stable mood and thought process. Medication is usually used in conjunction with therapy and other forms of treatment, because it is still important to develop coping skills and attend to personal well-being. It is important to have a formal assessment with a licensed provider and take medication as prescribed.
Many addicts describe feeling broken and intrinsically flawed, or having a void that they were trying to fill with drugs. While recovery varies for each person, everyone can benefit from treating all aspects of their addiction. Taking a holistic approach allows a person in recovery to feel whole and fill the void in a healthy manner.