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The Scientific Support for Treating Addiction with Holistic Remedies and Treatments

Holistic medicine (also known as complementary or integrative medicine) is more popular in the United States than ever before. Often, these techniques are used to improve focus, manage anxiety and restore spiritual wellness.

But what about when it comes to substance abuse? Many recovery programs across the country advertise holistic treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, but not all of these facilities provide the same level of care.

In an interview with Psychology Today, Westley Clark, a physician and director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, offered his expert insights on the value of holistic remedies:

“Many evidenced-based programs which take a holistic approach to treatment may incorporate aspects of alternative or spiritual healing. These approaches may also be helpful so long as they are used as adjuncts to evidenced-based practices.”

It is important for those struggling with addiction, as well as their families, to have a firm understanding of what holistic addiction treatment is, as well as which therapies are supported by scientific research to aid in recovery. That way, families can make an informed decision about where to get help for their loved one’s addiction.

What Is Holistic Addiction Treatment?

The Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine defines holistic medicine as “healing that addresses the whole person – body, mind and spirit.”

While traditional medicine focuses solely on treating illness from a physical perspective, holistic medicine can supplement these treatments by simultaneously addressing the patient’s spiritual and psychological health. This bridging of multiple approaches is the ideal application of holistic remedies.

Remedies paired with traditional medicine in a holistic recovery program often include:

  • Yoga

  • Meditation and Mindfulness

  • Drumming Therapy

  • Acupuncture

Unique Benefits of Holistic Recovery

Recovery programs that incorporate holistic medicine into recovery plans offer unique benefits. For many patients, a more nuanced, holistic approach to recovery could mean the difference between long-term sobriety and a deadly cycle of relapse.

The following benefits have been associated with holistic treatment for drug and