Holistic Therapy For Addiction

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on May 27, 2022

Many substance abuse treatment centers offer holistic treatment for addiction, including holistic therapies like art therapy and music therapy. When offered in conjunction with traditional treatments, holistic therapy can provide a number of health benefits.

Holistic Therapy For Addiction

A holistic approach to addiction treatment can help people with drug or alcohol dependence begin to heal from effects of addiction, including effects on the body and mind.

Holistic therapies, sometimes referred to as “complementary” therapies, can be beneficial in the recovery process when offered alongside traditional treatments like medication and counseling.

What Is Holistic Therapy?

Holistic is a term that is used to describe a “whole-body” or “whole-person” approach to treatment that takes into account the connection between the mind, body, and spirit.

Holistic therapies are non-medicinal, alternative treatments. Their focus is on bringing the mind, body, and spirit into alignment, with the understanding that this can promote healing.

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Types Of Holistic Therapy Used In Substance Abuse Treatment

Holistic therapy is a term used to describe a wide range of alternative treatments for mental health, physical health conditions, and substance use disorders.

Holistic therapies may be offered alone, or as part of an inpatient or outpatient treatment program alongside conventional drug treatment services.

Common types of holistic therapies include:

  • yoga
  • art therapy
  • tai chi
  • music therapy
  • dance therapy
  • acupuncture
  • massage therapy
  • plant-assisted therapy
  • meditation
  • mindfulness practice
  • nutritional therapy
  • herbal medicine

Does Holistic Therapy Work?

Holistic therapies can have beneficial effects for both physical and mental health when offered in conjunction with evidence-based treatment services for drug and alcohol abuse.

Evidence-based treatments include:

  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • psychotherapy
  • group therapy
  • medication-assisted treatment (for opioid and alcohol use disorders)
  • contingency management
  • motivational interviewing
  • relapse prevention
  • dual diagnosis for co-occurring disorders

However, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that they can be effective for treating addiction when offered alone without complementary treatments.

Benefits Of Holistic Therapy For Substance Use Disorders

Several holistic therapies, including acupuncture and herbal medicines, date back centuries, or even millennia, as natural treatments for various ailments.

Research on the benefits of holistic therapy for addiction show mixed findings, but generally demonstrate that it can offer certain physical, cognitive, and mental health benefits.

Uses for holistic therapy include:

  • managing blood pressure
  • pain management
  • increasing focus and concentration
  • alleviating depression
  • stress relief
  • reducing anxiety
  • relaxing the body
  • promoting mindfulness
  • helping to treat cravings
  • relieving physical symptoms of withdrawal
  • promoting self-esteem, confidence, and overall well-being

The benefits of holistic therapy can vary from person to person. While this can be helpful for some people, it is not an evidence-based nor comprehensive treatment.

At the same time, holistic therapies can help to round out a conventional treatment approach that integrates medical care and behavioral health services.

Holistic Therapy In Drug Rehab

Holistic treatment methods are offered by a growing number of rehab centers in the United States that treat substance use and mental health disorders.

For instance, holistic therapy may be offered for:

Often, this comes in the form of yoga, nutritional therapy, or other alternative therapies alongside traditional treatment programming.

Where Do You Find Holistic Therapy?

Holistic rehab services are offered by outpatient treatment providers who practice alternative medicine, as well as select addiction treatment centers.

Holistic treatment may be offered in:

  • inpatient rehab
  • residential treatment
  • intensive outpatient programs (IOPs)
  • partial hospitalization programs (PHPs)
  • general outpatient programs

Not all treatment facilities offer holistic addiction treatment.

Availability can vary according to the treatment center, its overarching treatment philosophy, and the individual needs of patients within their rehab programs.

Holistic Therapy FAQs

Find answers to common questions asked about holistic therapy, and how it can help individuals and loved ones on the road to addiction recovery.

There is no substantial evidence to suggest that holistic therapies like yoga or mindfulness can “cure” addiction by itself. However, they can help improve certain cognitive functions, and offer physical and emotional benefits.

A holistic treatment approach is an approach that recognizes the connection between the mind, body, and spirit in relation to overall health and well-being.

This approach is sometimes referred to as a “whole-person” or “mind-body” approach to addiction treatment.

Holistic therapies have historically been used to treat a wide range of ailments, from physical health conditions to mental health conditions like depression.

Holistic therapy can be a useful supplement to standard rehab, including medical detoxification (detox) services for early and protracted withdrawal symptoms.

Healthcare coverage for holistic interventions can vary.

This will depend on the insurance provider, your specific policy, as well as:

  • treatment setting
  • your clinical diagnosis
  • specific type of holistic therapy
  • medical recommendations for your treatment plan

More often than not, insurance companies will not cover holistic treatments unless they are offered within a full rehab program that is covered by your plan.

Find A Holistic Drug Rehab Program Today

If you’re looking for a holistic rehab program for yourself or a loved one with addiction, we may be able to help.

Call our helpline today to learn more about holistic therapy for addiction and to find holistic treatment options at a treatment center near you.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on May 27, 2022
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