Updated on February 6, 2024
4 min read

Is Holistic Addiction Treatment Right for You?

Key Takeaways

What is Holistic Addiction Treatment?

Holistic treatment is tailored to each person. It uses natural methods to focus on all aspects of health.

Holistic therapy plans are flexible and gentle for the best possible chance of recovery. Some of the main objectives of holistic therapy include:

  • Identifying underlying causes of addiction
  • Strengthening resistance to cravings
  • Promoting physical fitness
  • Increasing self-confidence
  • Reducing the appeal of drug and alcohol use
  • Treat emotional and nutritional imbalances
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What Addictions Can Holistic Treatment Be Used For?

Holistic treatment can be used to treat a variety of addictions. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Alcohol addiction
  • Drug addiction
  • Gaming addiction
  • Gambling addiction
  • Sex addiction and porn addiction
  • Food addiction

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Benefits of Holistic Addiction Treatment

There are several benefits to holistic treatment plans. These benefits include:

  • Stress reduction
  • Developing healthy coping skills
  • Spiritual connection
  • Relapse prevention
  • Better overall physical and mental health
  • Increased Self Esteem and Identity

Is Holistic Treatment Effective?

Holistic therapies can increase the likelihood of recovery when combined with traditional methods.1 But there is little conclusive evidence for this available at this time.

More research is needed to prove the effectiveness of the holistic approach to addiction treatment. However, it has been shown that alternative therapies can improve the chance of recovery.

12 Holistic Therapies for Addiction

There are many different holistic treatment methods used to treat substance use disorders. Here are some of the most common:

1. Meditation

Meditation is a mindfulness practice that focuses on relaxing the mind and body. It can help reduce: 

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Pain
  • Sleeping problems

Many people in recovery suffer from these problems, which makes meditation a helpful aid.

2. Art Therapy

Some treatment facilities utilize art therapy to encourage self-expression through painting, drawing, and other creative exercises.

Art therapy helps people:

  • Confront emotional conflict
  • Practice behavior management
  • Increase awareness
  • Gain social skills
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Boost self-esteem

3. Music Therapy

Music therapists will have patients listen, dance to, sing, or write their music. The activities and song selections are based on the person or group.

Music therapy can reduce muscle tension and anxiety. It helps encourage openness in personal relationships. Music can be a translator for some people who have trouble expressing themselves.

4. Animal Therapy

Animal therapy involves interacting with animals. Equine therapy is a popular form where patients learn to ride, take care of, and "communicate" with horses. Volunteering at animal shelters is also common.

Research shows that this can improve patients' willingness to participate, open up, and share their past. It's a popular treatment for anxiety and PTSD.

5. Horticulture Therapy 

Horticulture therapy uses plants and gardening to improve mental and physical health. It has been shown to improve:

  • Memory
  • Cognitive abilities
  • Task initiation
  • Social skills

6. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an alternative medicine practice from China. It involves placing thin needles at various points in the body to stimulate healing.

This may be especially useful during detox. It can soften withdrawal symptoms and decrease cravings.

7. Yoga

Yoga is a popular therapy because it combines mindfulness with physical activity. Yoga uses breathing techniques, body postures, and meditation to improve your health. It can relieve stress and anxiety and helps patients practice coping mechanisms.

8. Nutrition Therapy

Nutrition therapy is used in many treatment programs. Maintaining a healthy diet can improve both your mental and physical health. It's essential during and after detox.

9. Massage Therapy

The path to recovery involves significant changes in your mind and body. Many people experience high levels of stress and pain. Massage therapy can help relieve this.

10. Prayer

Some holistic treatment programs will utilize prayer to augment addiction recovery. Prayer can increase self-awareness, decrease stress, and contribute to a sense of optimism.

11. Fitness and Health

For some people, depression and anxiety can lead to substance abuse issues. Exercise is often an excellent way to help relieve these symptoms.

Physical activity can work as a relapse prevention tool by increasing feel-good chemicals in the brain. These chemicals can decrease when you abuse drugs or alcohol. Exercise also adds structure to your life, which is beneficial during early recovery.

12. Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback is a non-invasive treatment that enables a computer to read your brainwaves. These signals can help you understand areas of disorder or distress. The therapy can help ease addiction, trauma, and mental health symptoms.

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Is Holistic Addiction Treatment Right for You?

There are a few reasons why holistic addiction treatment might be for you. You should consider holistic therapy if:

  • Traditional substance abuse treatment didn’t work before
  • You are nervous or scared of traditional procedures
  • You want to uncover the reason for your addiction
  • You want the skills and resources needed to maintain recovery
  • You want to be mindful and healthy in all areas of your life
  • You wish to explore alternative treatment methods

Holistic treatment can help you approach addiction from other angles. Alternative therapies can also help you heal from addiction's physical and spiritual effects.

However, holistic treatment shouldn’t be treated as an all-around treatment method. Holistic recovery treatments are an effective complement to conventional approaches.

How to Find a Holistic Treatment Center

Many facilities offer holistic treatment options. To find out if a rehab center utilizes holistic therapies, contact their admissions department.

They will provide information on their treatment approach and all the complementary therapies offered. Learn more about the most effective types of addiction treatment:

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Updated on February 6, 2024
7 sources cited
Updated on February 6, 2024
  1. Aletraris, et al. “The use of art and music therapy in substance abuse treatment programs.” Journal of addictions nursing, 2014.
  2. Schrader, et al. “Redeveloping Substance Abuse Treatment for Military Personnel.” Current psychiatry reports, 2018.
  3. Carim-Todd, et al. “Mind-body practices: an alternative, drug-free treatment for smoking cessation? A systematic review of the literature.” Drug and alcohol dependence, 2013.
  4. Goyal, et al. "Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis." JAMA Intern Med, 2014.
  5. Kuppili, et al. “Role of Yoga in Management of Substance-use Disorders: A Narrative Review.” Journal of neurosciences in rural practice, 2018.
  6. Motlagh, et al. “Acupuncture therapy for drug addiction.” Chinese medicine,2016.
  7. Jasemi, et al. “A Concept Analysis of Holistic Care by Hybrid Model.” Indian journal of palliative care, 2017.

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