Holistic Treatment for Addiction, Mental Health, and Co-Occurring Disorders
Holistic treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders has gained popularity and acceptance in recent years, and there are many options available if you or a loved one need treatment for addiction or a mental illness, or for addiction and mental illness at the same time. Holistic treatment utilizes therapies that treat the whole person as opposed to a specific illness. A holistic approach addresses a person’s overall state of health, taking into account the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of life. The phrase ‘body, mind, and spirit’ is often used to describe the scope of holistic treatment.
Holistic treatment is not limited to certain conditions. Any disease or disorder can be effectively treated holistically. Contrary to what many believe, holistic treatment does not exclude traditional approaches to illness but integrates them when they are indicated. Another way to describe holistic treatment, in fact, is integrated treatment. Many therapies and treatments are integrated into an individualized treatment plan specific to the needs of the client or patient. For example, if more traditional approaches are indicated such as medications or surgery, they are incorporated, not eliminated or replaced.
The goal of a holistic approach is to address underlying causes, as well as to effect symptom relief. Getting to the root causes of distress and illness builds optimal health that can be sustained after treatment. Holistic philosophy maintains that distress and illness are symptomatic of imbalance. This hinges on the idea that we have interdependent parts and aspects that work closely together. If one part or aspect is out of balance, the entire system will eventually become so. Consequently, we may go to a holistic treatment program for a specific set of symptoms, but find we must also work on issues we had not suspected to be the problem. Similarly, as we improve in one area, we are often surprised to find that other issues improve, too.
Building overall strength and resiliency is the focus of holistic treatment—from improving the immune system to detoxification, nutrition, and building healthier daily habits and coping strategies. If we are stronger physically, we will find that our stress levels decrease, and our psychological resiliency increases, for example. Similarly, if we improve our immune system, we can find greater mental and emotional health. These are just examples of the interactions between our various systems of life. There are many, many more.
Building strength rather than simply focusing on illness is one of the unique offerings of holistic treatment. Medicine has made many advances in the modern world and we are fortunate to have a wide range of well-studied specialists. However, specialized medicine can leave us without other health building care we need to move onto a more well-rounded life that will support future health. Consequently, many have chosen a holistic approach to chronic illnesses such as addiction or other mental health problems like depression or anxiety. There is, for instance, a large volume of research that has documented the benefit of stress management, nutrition, and supplements in the resolution of many chronic conditions.
Living More Holistically
Learning to live an overall healthier life is the challenge of every person’s attempt to recover from addiction and/or a mental illness. Finding balance in daily life that supports physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health is a comprehensive and effective means of establishing a successful and sustainable recovery. Many people find that more mainstream recovery activities like 12 Step programs, psychiatry, and addiction medicine fit well into their holistic recovery plans. In fact, since holism embraces, no methods that work toward the goal of sobriety and stability are excluded. And, since addiction and mental illnesses can erode away many realms of life, getting stable and healthy requires a multi-faceted approach, making an integrated treatment and recovery plan essential. Some of the pervasive negative consequences of addiction and mental health disorders are:
- Poor self-care and poor physical health
- Negative and self-sabotaging thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors
- Distressful emotions, poor emotional regulation
- Ineffective communication
- Unhealthy relationships
- Poor social support
- Feelings of helplessness, powerlessness, and hopelessness
- Low self-esteem, poor sense of self-worth, and negative self-image
- Lack of a sense of purpose and meaning in life
- Disorganized daily life
- Fatigue, exhaustion, low energy
- Lack of focus, follow through, and completion of tasks
- Lack of motivation for goal-directed behavior
- Abandonment of hopes, dream, ambitions, and goals
- Failed responsibilities, commitments, and obligations
- Cognitive deficits in memory, learning, concentration, problem-solving and decision-making
- Withdrawal from family, friends, and community
- Spiritual and/or religious disengagement or distortion
- Difficulty maintaining self-support and independent lifestyle
The range and depth of the issues above illustrate how disempowering and debilitating unresolved addiction or mental health problems can be. By the time someone gets to treatment who has experienced such effects, there is likely to be a great deal of distress and pain, not to mention overall dysfunction in daily life. Consequently, a treatment and recovery approach that can address many aspects at once can be very effective.
Holistic Treatment Professionals
The people who work in holistic treatment programs will come from a variety of educational backgrounds and have a variety of specialties, credentials, and licenses among them. This best ensures that the program can provide a wide range of expertise needed to have an integrated and comprehensive array of services. In an effective holistic treatment program, you are apt to find a team of professionals that provide a mix of services such as:
- Physical Medicine
- Psychiatric services
- Addiction counseling
- Mental health counseling
- Family counseling
- Stress management
- Anger management
- Expressive activities like art, movement, music, or dance
- Leisure and recreational skill building
- Nutritional counseling
- Fitness coaching
- Herbal medicine
- Reiki or other energy-based therapies
- Spiritual counseling
Each of the above modalities requires professionals to have special training in the particular modality they provide. You can inquire about their training and any certifications or licenses prior to going to a program, and any reputable program will happily provide this information. Keep in mind that the above list of services may not all be used at every program. Each will have their own mix of services, so if you prefer certain therapies and activities, you will have to inquire about them every time you contact a program.
Is a Holistic Treatment Program for You?
Going to rehab is a life-changing event, and happily so. It’s a large undertaking, and a large investment in yourself, your family, and your future. Take heart if you feel beleaguered and don’t know where to turn. You aren’t alone. The majority of us go to treatment feeling broken, confused, and helpless. Your distress merely reflects how much in need of help you or your loved one are.
Simply making the decision to go to treatment can be difficult emotionally, and overwhelming in several ways. Primarily, it’s difficult to confront issues that seem insurmountable, and when we’re most in need of treatment, almost everything feels unsolvable. Of course, it’s not true. There are solutions no matter how hopeless you feel. There is help and hope, and recovery is very possible. However, when we’re beaten down by addiction and/or mental health problems, health and happiness can seem all too elusive. Just remember that your thoughts and emotions are colored by the illnesses you have, and there are people who can help guide you until you can do better by yourself.
Finding the right program for you or a loved one can feel daunting as well. Just beginning your research for a good program unleashes a flood of information on the Internet. Frankly, it can all seem nothing more than a blur, indecipherable, and too much to absorb. Many people say how am I to know what I need or what’s best for me? There’s a great deal of truth in that. When you’ve been struggling with substance use and/or unstable mental health symptoms, you can’t be expected to think well. It is overwhelming.
Luckily, you don’t have to sort it out alone. We can help you identify treatment needs and find appropriate programs that you can afford. We’ve collected information into a large database so we can quickly zero in on the options for holistic treatment that will work for you or your loved one. Even if you’re not certain a holistic treatment program is right for you, we can help you clarify the type of program that may be.
You or your loved one don’t have to struggle and suffer without help any longer. It’s important to reach out to the people who are able to offer workable solutions. If you don’t have a healthcare professional who can guide you to the proper treatment, many are available in most communities. Or, you can use our free consultation service and we will help you get the right help.
Why Consider a Holistic Treatment Program?
There are many reasons to consider a holistic treatment program for your addiction and/or mental health needs. One of the most common reasons people give for choosing holistic treatment is that they have not had lasting success with more traditional approaches. And, it is very possible that any previous treatment you’ve had did not get to the underlying causes of your distress. It is also very possible that you did not learn a lifestyle practice that could help you sustain recovery over the long haul. In those cases, a holistic treatment can be a different, thorough, and comprehensive new approach that may make the difference this time around. Other people have said that they simply feel an affinity for holistic treatment. Perhaps they’ve already worked with some holistic practitioners, or have been drawn to the holistic philosophy of treating body, mind, and spirit. Whatever your reasons, if you are interested, or a distressed loved one is, we can help you explore options and get you headed in the right direction.