Benefits of using complementary and alternative therapies or medicine; When it comes to substance abuse therapy and recovery, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. This post tries to show that many roads lead to recovery.
Some people will find the strength to stay clean with the help of people in their church. Others will do well on methadone. No two people become addicted for the same reason. It makes sense, then, that different patients will respond to different treatment approaches.
When you should opt for conventional treatment
Why do some individuals choose to use alternative and complementary practices? Conventional treatments involve a detoxification period, sometimes assisted by methadone, followed by talk therapy which is aimed at changing thought patterns that lead to drinking, drugs, or other addictions. This therapy regime works for a lot of people.
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Some circumstances dictate that a patient seek conventional treatment. If your addiction led to violence toward others or self-harm, if it led to criminal behavior, or if your doctor has said that conventional treatment is required, you must seek this kind of help.
Some addictions, such as heroin, involve a difficult detoxification. During this phase, the patient may be very sick and experience insurmountable cravings. If you need to recover from this kind of addiction, you will need medical supervision during detox to make sure you don’t develop a life-endangering complication.
Getting a hang on now on why I said many roads lead to recovery? No? Well, keep reading.
Some people are uninsured or don’t have the financial resources for upscale treatments like spas and yoga. In that case, also, the patient should stick to conventional treatment.
What are alternative therapies?
Though some people still call it alternative, mindfulness has been accepted as an effective treatment for substance abuse recovery by much of the scientific community.
Mindfulness is similar to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a staple of traditional treatment. Both mindfulness and CBT help people avoid destructive thought patterns that lead to reckless behavior.
Other alternative therapies are massage, whirlpools, yoga, exercise, and targeted nutrition. Nutrition is important to many substance abusers whose reserve of proteins, minerals, and vitamins have been leached out by unhealthy living. A well-nourished body will be less susceptible to relapse.
Addiction can also take a huge toll on muscle tone, strength, and flexibility. Everyone needs to be fit. People in recovery, in particular, need to devote some energy to getting back into top physical condition.
Many rehabilitation centers have successfully combined traditional treatment methods with alternative treatments. This should definitely let you know that truly, many roads lead to recovery. Patients recover by learning cognitive behavioral therapy techniques and then relax in spas or workout in a yoga class.
Alternative therapies are useful for “filling the void” left by drug addiction. Before recovery, people develop a habit of self-medicating. That habit can be replaced with healthier habits like exercise, yoga, and paying attention to what you eat.
Should you go for alternative treatment by itself?
If your addiction is self-diagnosed and has not resulted in major losses, like the loss of a job or your family’s trust, you may opt for alternative treatment by itself. You will still need a strong support system who will hold you accountable for achieving your goals.
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Addictions that respond best to alternative therapies or treatments include: video games, sex, overeating, tobacco, and marijuana. Severe alcoholism and opioid addiction, including heroin and fentanyl, need medical supervision and conventional treatment.
I’ve written in this article that many roads lead to recovery and one of the best routes is alternative medicine. If you opt for alternative therapies or treatments, be sure to prioritize mindfulness, exercise, and good nutrition. Learn to be aware when your mind is turning to dark thoughts and focus on the present moment. Give yourself plenty of exercises as an alternative to the harmful habits you have developed.
In short, substance abuse is all about habits and destructive thought patterns. Break those, and you are on your way to recovery. The road you take to get there is up to you.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
Ultimately, the use of complementary and alternative medicine is rapidly increasing and I believe alternative therapies should be given more attention.
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This is a guest post from Constance Ray. Constance Ray started Recoverywell.org with the goal of creating a safe place for people to share how addiction has affected them, whether they are combating it themselves or watching someone they care about work to overcome it.
The goal is to share stories of hope from survivors who know that the fight against addiction is one worth having, because no matter how it affects you, life can get better. You can reach her via e-mail.