Breathing Through the Cravings

How Holistic Treatments Can Help Addiction Recovery

Photo by microgen/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by microgen/iStock / Getty Images

 

 

Life can get pretty stressful sometimes; demands from your work, your family, your partner, all add up, and can become overwhelming.  Sometimes, when this happens, people turn to drugs, alcohol, or other addictive substances like sugar or even carbohydrates.  Recovery from these types of substances can be very difficult, and there are many different routes someone can take to find their salvation - not least of which are holistic treatments like meditation, yoga, and making sure your mind and body are in balance.  “Holistic” has become a buzzword when it comes to treatment, so before you pay or commit to anything for your rehab, make sure their program is what you’re looking for and something you think you will be able to maintain long-term.

Yoga as an Alternative

With relapse rates higher than 40 percent, addiction specialists, as well as those in recovery, are turning to adjunct therapies such as yoga as a way to supplement traditional 12-step programs. Yoga has been shown to be effective in regulating the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline - hormones that are usually out of balance with recovering addicts.  Detox itself can cause anxiety, depression, and other mood issues, and yoga has been shown to help those who are struggling with these issues to be able to listen to their bodies and balance their cravings.

Yoga is practiced widely throughout the world, and is constantly touted for it’s healing properties for the mind and body - there is a reason that it has been around since ancient times in Asia.

Treating the Whole Body

To maintain the stable energy levels necessary to avoid stress-induced cravings, recovering addicts should eat a diet rich in whole grains, fiber, lean protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. Focusing on the body and mind together and as one whole piece - holistically - you can get the most out of your recovery efforts.  There are many alternative treatments outside of your average 12-step programs, these include acupuncture, meditation, spiritual counseling, and art therapy.

Acupuncture treatments are thought to reduce the positive reinforcement properties of drugs by decreasing the amount of dopamine released when the drug is used. Acupuncture works by targeting certain points under the skin that relate to the body’s energy flow - but by disrupting these flows, you can allow the brain to release the neurotransmitters needed to reduce pain, inflammation, anxiety, and many other physical and mental ailments.

Meditation is also becoming a large part of treatments for those recovering from addiction. One study found that recovering intravenous drug users felt meditation was one of the best therapy tools to help them overcome their addiction. Though it may seem paradoxical, by increasing your ability to accept and tolerate the present moment, you’re able to make needed changes in your life. There are many different ways to practice these types of treatment, but it all comes down to what works best for you.

More than anything, picking a recovery center and treatment plan that you enjoy is paramount to keeping you on a healthy and sober track - study upon study has shown this to be true. If it is something you won’t be able to continue on your own, there is no reason to put yourself through the rigors of one rehabilitation facility over the other - what you need is what you need, and identifying that is the most important thing.

Article written and donated by: Jennifer Scott  jennifer@spiritfinder.org