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Addiction Treatment: Understanding Different Holistic Treatment Techniques

Written by Brandon Okey. Mina Draskovic, B.Psy., reviewed this content for accuracy.

Recovering from the complexities of addiction is easier with a comprehensive plan. We use holistic treatments to supplement traditional remedies. Some recovery centers focus only on medical recovery, while others devote themselves to a fully traditional approach. Neither is wrong, of course; assisting the physical body is just as important as helping the mind recover from trauma. Restricting options to either modern or traditional, however, limits techniques that many might find useful in their own treatment plan. Ardú Recovery Center takes a well-rounded holistic approach to addiction treatment and recovery. In this way, all aspects of life—physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing—-are improved, giving our patients every chance to succeed in life without drugs. To give you an idea of what Ardú can offer, here is a list of our holistic treatment techniques and how they can help you or someone you love.

Yoga: Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Rejuvenation

The practice of yoga can trace its history back to India, perhaps as far back as 400 AD. Translated, the word “yoga” is derived from the Sanskit word “yuj,” which means “to join” or “to unite.” The purpose of yoga is to bring together the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of the practitioner, liberating them from their ailments and suffering. While the system is quite complex, the science is clear; yoga can be extremely helpful for those trying to beat substance abuse. According to an article published in 2018 in the Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice, the majority of 314 studies gathered about the effectiveness of yoga revealed a few surprising results. The first is that yoga is an overall effective form of treatment for those battling addiction, especially during short-term treatments (long-term studies on yoga and addiction have not been thoroughly studied). Second, yoga was found to be effective for patients looking to overcome nicotine addiction. Addiction treatment is unique to every person, and yoga may not be for everyone. It is unique, however, in combining physical exertion, mental focus, and spiritual growth in one complete practice. Many of our patients have used yoga as an early morning exercise that creates a proper mindset for the remainder of the day.

Meditation and Practicing Mindfulness

Perhaps the most terrible aspect of addiction is how it continually bombards the mind with the desire to fall back into old habits. Relapse is a real danger. But you can learn to separate yourself from those old thought patterns and train your mind to live in the present. At its heart, this is exactly what meditation is. By focusing on the now, the rhythm of your breathing, the sound of the room around you, or even the stream of thoughts that pass by your attention, meditation allows you to put aside the worries of the past. Meditation is something you can do almost anywhere and at almost any time. If you begin to feel those addictive cravings and the negative feelings associated with them, you have a useful tool you can use at a moment’s notice. Meditation doesn’t even have to mean “quiet time.” During your daily routine, no matter the volume of the room, or the pace of your work, you can stay grounded in the present moment. This is called mindfulness, being fully aware and alert of every moment and every thought that goes through your mind. This may sound difficult, and for a while, after you begin, it will be. The brain is a thought muscle, and it takes a great deal of effort to choose where our minds wander. Most of the power addictions possess comes from memories and feelings. By recognizing the past for what it is and choosing to live in the present, you will be one step closer to freeing yourself from substance abuse. These holistic treatment techniques are easy to learn but hard to master; give yourself time to learn these skills.

Nutritional Therapy

There’s a good chance you learned about the food pyramid in school or at least some general information about good nutritional habits. Medical nutrition therapy (or MNT) goes above and beyond common knowledge, focusing solely on the unique health necessities of the patient. In a nutshell, nutritional therapy covers these areas of diet:
  • Complete avoidance of ingredients that offer no benefit to the body, such as high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, partially and fully hydrogenated fats, and more.
  • Emphasis on eating whole foods, such as grains, unprocessed fruits and vegetables, and free-range meats, dairy, and fish.
  • Limit nutrients that are detrimental in large doses, such as salt.
MNT and nutritional education are great holistic treatment techniques. Besides the obvious health benefits, learning to control cravings and appetite can reinforce the willpower needed to overcome addiction.

Music and Art Therapy

Stress and negative emotions are standard for those suffering from drug and substance abuse. Without an outlet for release, the desire to return to drugs in order to escape these emotions can be overwhelming. Another useful set of holistic treatment techniques are therapy through music and artistic expression. You don’t need to know how to sing or play the piano to appreciate the lyrics and melodies of modern music. In truth, music therapy can cover music from any genre or period of history. Similar to meditation, music allows the mind to exist in the present. The techniques of music therapy can include lyric analysis, lyric creation, songwriting, and improvisation of music to express specific emotions. According to research published in The Journal of Addictions Nursing, music therapy was reported by recovering addicts as especially helpful in preventing relapse. In the same article, the authors report that art therapy is an invaluable addition to any treatment plan due to its ease of access and outlet for normally shameful emotions and traumatic memories. Any form of art can be used in therapy. Drawing, painting, and sculpture are particularly special, allowing anger, embarrassment, anxiety, and obsession to become physical. These can be more easily shared in therapy groups, giving the patient the ability to discuss and process feelings that can be difficult to express with words.

Learn Holistic Treatment Techniques With Ardú Recovery Center in Provo, Utah

The holistic treatments mentioned here are only a few of those that we practice and teach to the patients that want to overcome their physical, emotional, and spiritual obstacles. If you or someone you love suffers from addiction, contact Ardú Recovery Center for admission information. Begin your journey towards recovery today.
Brandon Okey

Brandon Okey is the co-founder of Ardu Recovery Center and is dedicated to empowering people on their journey to sobriety.