We know addiction and substance abuse is a huge problem that doesn’t seem to be lessening. However, statistics around this topic can be mind-blowing. For instance, according to Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), there are around 40 million citizens aged 12 years and over in the U.S. alone who meet the clinical criteria for an addiction to alcohol, nicotine, or other drugs. This is a higher number of Americans than those with diabetes, cancer, or heart conditions.
Plus, another 80 million or so fall into the category of “risky substance users.” This term refers to those who are not addicted clinically, but who use drugs in ways that threaten the health and safety of the general public.
Thankfully, there are many great addiction treatment centers found across the country and internationally that are helping to save lives and families, such as Elevate Rehab. The centers providing services for addicts and other heavy users range in specialties, treatment options, prices, locations, and more.
Yet, while they help change lives for the better each year, not everyone is willing or able to attend these types of facilities. Furthermore, even those who do, need to have support when they return home to handle the transition back to “real life” and to cope with triggers that arise over time.
This is where natural treatment options can be of real benefit. People of all ages and backgrounds can utilize them, and many are free or if not, generally affordable. Here are some holistic treatment approaches you or others in recovery can try out at home.
Good nutrition is a key component in helping recovering addicts to stay well. Since many addicts are lacking in vital nutrients or have damaged organs because of the drugs they took and the bad diet that comes with addiction, their bodies need extra support. People who consume the necessary vitamins and minerals will start to recover from the damage done previously, get back some energy, feel healthier, and have an improved immunity level.
The right kind of nutrition has a big effect on mood, too. Proper meals alter the physiological and chemical structure of the brain, which in turn influences behavior. Plus, eating certain foods helps to increase the production of “feel good” chemicals like serotonin and other neurotransmitters.
Yoga has been used around the world for thousands of years because of the many benefits it provides. It’s no surprise, then, that the holistic exercise is perfect for those in recovery. Yoga assists addicts in numerous ways. Since many who have abused their bodies with substances don’t feel particularly comfortable in their own skin, anything that works on the mind-body connection is a plus.
Practicing yoga helps people to see how the various systems work together and can support each other. In addition, yoga gets people to breathe deeply, concentrate purely on the present moment, and strengthen their body, all of which helps with recovery.
Meditation is also of use. Since it involves mindfulness and breathing techniques, it enhances overall health, physically and mentally. Meditation lowers stress levels, especially the main stress hormone, cortisol, and it helps people to regulate their mood and detoxify the body. It’s also believed to improve immunity, not to mention focus, concentration, and clarity, which are useful strengths for recovering addicts to have.
People who meditate become more aware of their thoughts and feelings, both the good and the bad. As such, this makes it quicker and easier to learn how to deal with emotions and not react so much to them.
Art therapy, whether drawing, painting, sculpting, or another type of therapeutic visual art technique, assist recovering addicts too. It helps people to express emotions without having to find the words for what they’re feeling, and it often boosts self-esteem and acts as a type of meditation. It enables users to get outside of their own head more and often leads to breakthroughs in therapy that would otherwise take longer to achieve.
Spending time with animals is also incredibly beneficial. Pet therapy involves working with and caring for animals. Doing this, whether through equine therapy, getting a dog or cat or other pet, or spending time with other animals, helps people focus on things other than themselves, and brings out a nurturing side. It promotes feelings of love and worth and builds positive traits like trust, patience, and confidence. Animal therapy has also been shown to help reduce blood pressure, stress levels, and heart rates, not to mention anxiety and depression.
While those in recovery always have a long road ahead of them, trying out some or all of the holistic treatment approaches listed above can make a big difference. These tools help put addicts back in control of their own lives and thoughts and focusing on a brighter future.