Drug and alcohol use and addiction pose great risks to the health and quality of life of all Americans. Years of research and numerous studies have determined that alcohol and drug use and abuse can produce many harmful effects.

Many Americans are feeling these effects, as 21.7 million people ages twelve and older needed treatment for substance abuse in 2015, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Only about 2.3 million of these people received treatment at a specialty facility for their substance abuse, which means that more than 19 million people did not receive such assistance.

Treatment for substance abuse must be accessible and available to those who need it. People must receive the right treatment that will address all of their issues. There are numerous treatment approaches. Holistic therapy is one of the treatment approaches that may help address addiction.

What Is Holistic Therapy?  

Holistic health care is not new. It existed thousands of years ago in the time of Hippocrates. The word holistic comes from the Greek word hollos, which means whole. Holistic therapy, therefore, does not only focus on one aspect of a person but the many parts that make up the person.

Hippocrates believed in the importance of establishing balance within an individual. In this perspective, all aspects of an individual are connected to each other. The body’s functions as a whole must be cared for and balanced in a state of equilibrium. Holistic therapy thus addresses more than addiction.

During much of the twentieth century, the field of health care largely followed the medical approach of treating illnesses. It concentrated on a more narrow area of focus. Medical professionals often used one form of intervention to address certain symptoms. In this perspective, the body and the mind are two separate entities. People realized that treating only a few symptoms may not be effective, though, and may not help people improve the overall quality of their lives.

Connections among the physical body, thoughts, and emotions, as well as the spiritual understanding of an individual, are all important considerations in holistic health care. The treatment approach considers people’s mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and social states of well-being and health. The scientific community has recognized the importance of this treatment approach in maintaining an individual’s overall well-being and health.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), effective treatment for addiction must address the various needs of individuals and not just focus on their addictions. Some patients may suffer from mental health disorders. Other individuals may have medical problems that need to be addressed. Treatment must provide solutions to the individuals’ addictions and their psychological, medical, vocational, social, and legal issues.

Since holistic treatments focus on the overall health and well-being of people, this treatment approach may be beneficial. It could address the needs of individuals suffering from alcohol and drug addiction who have other problems.

Types of Holistic Therapy  

A variety of factors may contribute to addiction. Numerous factors can also affect an individual’s recovery treatment. The factors may include physical and mental symptoms, emotional conditions, and nutritional deficiencies.

Through holistic therapy, individuals may identify the underlying causes of their addiction, strengthen their resistance to alcohol or drug cravings, improve their physical fitness, increase their self-confidence, keep them grounded and calm, and reduce the appeal of alcohol and drug use. Holistic therapy actually addresses different aspects of healthy living. It may include a variety of practices and programs, such as:

  • Meditation – Approaching things with a clear mind can help people who have had an addiction. Meditation can provide such clarity. It can help people improve their self-awareness, inner peace, and mental functioning, helping them fight thoughts and cravings for alcohol and drugs.

  • Nutritional therapy – Nutritional health also plays an important role in an individual’s recovery. Proper nutrition and hydration and promote healing from substance abuse. They can help restore and improve mental and physical health, thereby increasing the likelihood of recovery.

  • Exercise – Many treatment programs have incorporated exercise as an effective approach to help deal with addiction. Exercising may help reduce stress levels and negative feelings. Regular exercise helps patients build routines to distract their minds from their cravings and occupy their time.

  • Recreational activities – Recreational activities vary from treatment facility to treatment facility. Many offer activities such as hiking, rock-climbing, horseback riding, canoeing, and participating in artistic pursuits. Such activities can also help patients take their minds away from addiction.

Holistic therapy recognizes that people are not their addictions. They are complex people and need to be treated as such.