Government data shows that drug problems, particularly the opioid addiction, takes away the lives of more than 115 people in the United States every day. It’s a serious public health issue that burdens the American economy with $78.5 billion a year.

This is why government and private organizations are taking more actions to find the best programs that will help prevent drug abuse and will assist those suffering from drug addiction with quality treatment that will help patients gain long-term recovery. Two of these approaches to drug treatment is the holistic and drug-based rehab. These two types of treatment offer various benefits to individuals with substance use disorder.

What is Holistic Rehab?

Holistic drug rehab treatment takes into account the person’s physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional wellness. The philosophy of the holistic approach to drug rehab is that a person can achieve optimal health with the synergy of the different aspects of well-being. And if one of the aspects is not functioning properly, the overall health is affected.

Depending on the training of a practitioner, a holistic rehab treatment would include acupuncture, homeopathy, massage therapy, nutritional diet, yoga, naturopathy, chiropractic care, psychotherapy, exercise, spiritual counseling, relationship counseling, among others.

More and more people are finding the benefits of the holistic approach to drug rehabilitation to recover from addiction. Although more research is needed to back the efficiency of holistic drug treatment, there are emerging studies that link a non-medical approach to drug rehab as a promising option for people suffering from substance use disorder.

Just this August, a new study found that exercise can be a part of a comprehensive treatment program for patients to prevent relapse into cocaine addiction. But Panayotis “Peter” Thanos, the senior scientist at the Research Institute on Addictions and the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences who led the study, said more research is needed to see whether the same results could be said for other addictive substance.

What is Drug-Based Rehab?

Drug-based rehab basically refers to the use of medications in the various processes of drug rehabilitation. The drug-based rehab uses medications and devices to treat withdrawal symptoms during the detoxification process, avoid relapse, and treat co-occurring disorders in patients.

 For instance, to treat Opioid Use Disorder, there are more behavioral centers who are using Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), an approach that is evidenced-based. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three drugs for the treatment of opioid dependence, which was found to be effective and safe to use in combination of behavioral therapies and psychosocial support among drug dependents.

The first step of treatment also involves the detoxification process, a very important and challenging part of treatment. At this stage, patients need assistance to manage the withdrawal symptoms to make sure that they complete the detox process that will prepare them for the next stage of the treatment.

Holistic Rehab Vs. Drug-Based Rehab

So, which is a superior treatment – holistic and drug-based rehab? The answer lies in the science of the substance use disorder itself.

As stated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), drug addiction is a disease that affects the brain. It was described by the agency as a chronic disease that involves an uncontrollable drug seeking urge due to the effects of the drugs on the brain’s functions.

Because of this characteristic of the disease, drug addiction can be treated but it will be difficult for the patient to simply stop using drugs. A person with drug addiction needs to have long-term care to be able to recover from drug use.

What Are the Treatments Available for People with Drug Use Disorder?

NIDA has enumerated a list of treatment options for patients suffering from substance use disorder. Various treatment programs are often customized to fit the patient’s history of substance abuse and medical condition.

These treatments include:

  • 1.  Medication
  • 2. Counseling to address the behavioral problems
  • 3. Evaluation for co-occurring mental health problems and appropriate treatment
  • 4. Medication to manage withdrawal symptoms
  • 5. Long-term care to counter relapse

 Best Treatment for Drug Addiction

 According to NIDA, an effective treatment program should understand that drug addiction is a complex disease that targets both the function of the brain and the person’s behavior. Therefore, no single treatment can work for everyone.

The first step to have an effective drug rehab treatment is to get quick access to treatment. The treatment plan should be able to address the patient’s needs and not just focus on the drug use. A patient should also be able to stay long enough in the treatment program.

A comprehensive treatment plan is needed for patients to gain long-term recovery from drug abuse. The process of drug rehab does not end with detoxification. There is a need to continuously address the patient’s physical and mental wellness as behaviors and his relationships with his community have been affected by the drug problem. These relationships, when strengthened, also become the person’s support system to recover from drugs.