Holistic Treatment Of Addictions

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Last Updated on March 27, 2021 by

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• Methods Used in Holistic Care
• Benefits Associated with Holistic Treatment
• Finding the Right Treatment
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Holistic treatment or holistic healing is often defined as a form of treatment that looks at the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. This kind of holistic healing usually involves multiple complementary medicines and alternative healthcare practices that can overlap with modern-day western medicine but will go beyond the only treatment of symptoms to support more than just the body. This is a school of thought in therapy that attempts to address an individual as a whole rather than as someone who is sick, has psychological issues, or is separated into different components.
Holistic medicine focuses on treating the entire person and not just a disorder, affliction, or addiction. Holistic health care providers believe that an individual is made up of different parts, including physical, emotional, environmental, and spiritual aspects. All pieces must be addressed and balanced to solve any issues, sickness or disorder, and make a person whole.
Holistic providers do not discount traditional medicine; instead, most use it in tandem with alternative methods. Holistic treatment focuses on the idea that each person can take charge of their well-being, and unconditional love and support are the best healers. Holistic principles include:
• Each patient should be treated as a person and not as their disorder or disease
• Everyone has the potential to better themselves
• Treatment works to fix the root cause and not just the symptoms
• A team approach where patient and health care provider work together to solve the problem should be utilized
There are many holistic medicine methods today for just about every disorder. Most of the time, holistic approaches are combined with traditional therapy and pharmacology ranging from meditation to medication. As many as 40 percent of Americans look for something other than standard, conventional, or Western healthcare methods, as published by the National Institute of Health. This includes holistic medicine.

Some alternative healthcare practices that often are found within the realm of holistic health care:
• chiropractic
• herbalism
• massage
• energy work (reiki)
• therapy
• yoga/meditation
• acupuncture
• physical therapy
• general western medicine
• nutrition
• personal training
When all of these complementary therapies come together for holistic treatment, a person is much more likely to experience wellness on a deeper level, allowing for a more joyful and genuinely healthy way of living.

Methods/Aspects Used in Holistic Treatment
Several other terms are sometimes used when referring to holistic medicine, including “alternative,” “integrative,” and “complementary” treatment as well as “natural healing.” It is essential to recognize the difference between these terms. Alternative medicine typically refers to anything outside of what is considered conventional, although these lines are blurred, and the definition of traditional seems to be widening.
Complementary medicine usually means that conventional medicine is used as the primary healing tool, and other non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical means are used to complement it. Integrative medicine is a combination of traditional medicine and complementary medicine. Natural healing typically focuses primarily on physical healing without using medications or invasive procedures. Holistic medicine is most often the preferred term in that it encapsulates all forms in healing the whole person.
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Several other terms are sometimes used when referring to holistic medicine, including “alternative,” “integrative,” and “complementary” treatment as well as “natural healing.” It is essential to recognize the difference between these terms. Alternative medicine typically refers to anything outside of what is considered conventional, although these lines are blurred, and the definition of traditional seems to be widening.
When it comes to holistic treatment, we are looking beyond the physical body and are addressing physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual health. All of these five aspects of holistic health enable a person to truly live each day in the healthiest, happiest way possible, and if one area is compromised, most likely other sites will be as well.
 
PHYSICAL
Our physical health is what most people think about when they think of health. This is mainly because the physical body often shows us physical signs and symptoms of either optimal or sub-optimal health. These physical signs and symptoms are also easier to track and measure versus other non-physical signs and symptoms that can feel more abstract.
When it comes to supporting your physical health, there are few essential practices that everyone can benefit from and can make a huge difference in your overall well-being:
• Sleep for 8 hours each night. This will allow your body to indeed rest and repair from the day.
• Eat a nutrient-dense diet high in plant-based foods and organic/pastured animal products.
• Maintain a balanced blood sugar by eating meals and snacks that contain fat, carbohydrates, and protein every 3-4 hours.
• Move your body for 30 minutes each day. While every person's exercise routine will be different, everyone can benefit from at least 30 minutes of movement each day.
• Limit processed foods and hydrogenated oils, which are highly inflammatory and can increase chronic disease risk.
• Do not smoke and avoid excessive alcohol consumption.

EMOTIONAL
While often overlooked, our emotional health is just as important as our physical health — significantly because our emotional health can affect our physical health if it is not prioritized.
Ways you can support your emotional health:
• Seek out therapy when needed. Therapy is an essential part of supporting our emotional health and should be utilized whenever necessary.
• Practice mindfulness and stress reduction habits that can help you better manage life's daily stressors.
• Keep a journal to record your thoughts and feelings. Use your journal to record what you are grateful for, as it can help bring positivity into times of stress.

SOCIAL
Research has shown that the happiest people on earth have deep connections with their friends, family, and community. This is often why religion is connected with happiness, as it can provide a deep sense of community and support, no matter what faith a person chooses.
Ways that you can support your social health:
• Make time for an in-person connection. While technology has allowed us to feel connected more, research has shown that virtual connection still does not provide us with the same happiness level as an in-person connection does.
• Get involved in your local community. Whether this is through your church, local volunteer organizations, clubs, or programs at your kids' school — getting engaged in your local community is one of the best ways you can support your social health and improve happiness.
• Set boundaries with people in your life that may increase stress or bring about toxic energy. Also, do not be afraid to walk away from friendships and relationships that negatively affect your health.

SPIRITUAL
Spiritual wellness does not necessarily mean that you need to become religious, although the two often have overlapping practices and principles. Instead, your spiritual health should focus on how you are connecting with your inner soul and the more incredible world around you.
Ways you can support your spiritual health:
• Spend time in nature
• Spend a few minutes each day meditating
• If you are religious, take the time to practice your faith

MENTAL
The last aspect of holistic health is our mental health, which often overlaps our emotional and physical health. The significant distinction between our mental and emotional health is that while our emotional health refers primarily to our daily mood and emotions, our mental health refers to our cognitive abilities that affect how our brain functions.
Ways that you can support your mental health:
• Always keep your mind active by seeking out learning opportunities and problem-solving practices that challenge your brain.
• Consume nutrient-dense foods high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids that will help reduce overall inflammation and support cognitive function.
• Avoid excessive drinking, smoking, and consuming recreational drugs.
• Improve gut health with gut-healing foods like bone broth and prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods. Since the brain is directly connected to the gut, a healthy heart is essential for a healthy mind.
All the aspects mentioned above are what health care services put into consideration while employing a holistic treatment of a patient.

Benefits Associated with Holistic Treatment
One of the main benefits of holistic medicine is that it does serve to treat the whole person and not just the current symptoms. By finding the root cause of an addiction, a person could be more likely to avoid relapse.
Holistic medicine is often a complete lifestyle change and not a quick fix. It requires a patient's commitment and an understanding that each individual is responsible for their well-being and sense of self. This can help those in recovery take the reins back on issues that may have plagued their lives for years. It puts you firmly in the driver's seat of your own life.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the critical factors involved in determining an individual's health state. Daily lifestyle choices account for 53 percent of a person's wellness, with quality of medical care only accounting for 10 percent. Other reasons like environment, which accounts for 19 percent, and genetics at 18 percent also play a role. Still, habits and lifestyle seem to be the most significant factors in determining an overall well-being state. Holistic care focuses on this central concept.

Holistic medicine serves to be helpful and not harmful and looks first to the most non-invasive methods available. While holistic providers prescribe medication when necessary, they may also seek natural remedies and non-pharmaceutical answers. Holistic providers may also be more cost-effective when seeking to use therapies and mindfulness techniques over other more expensive methods that may not be as effective long-term. By giving each control over their body and the healing process, providers take a step back.

Meanwhile, people are experiencing chronically high stress and fatigue levels; they consume nutrient-depleted foods and are exposed to hundreds of potentially harmful chemically through our air, water, cleaning, and personal care products daily. To say that holistic health and treatment is essential would be an understatement.
For many living with chronic disease and undiagnosable symptoms, the modern-day healthcare industry has failed them. It is time that a more holistic, whole-body solution became a standard part of the way we treat and support the health of the billions of people living on this planet.
Holistic treatment also considers the many external and environmental factors that could be supporting or impacting our overall health and wellness. With climate change affecting our surrounding environments more and more each day, we must have a systematic way of addressing health in the future.
The bottom line regarding holistic treatment is that individuals wishing to get involved in this form of therapy should make sure that the therapist is licensed and certified in some form of professional mental health treatment disciplines, such as counseling, clinical psychology, or social work, and incorporates the aspects of the holistic approach with empirically validated therapeutic techniques, such as standard forms of therapy. Individuals attempting to become involved in this form of treatment should discuss the therapist's qualifications, training, and any other certifications or areas of expertise.

Finding the Right Treatment
The goal of holistic treatment is to balance all the person's different aspects, so the entire person is addressed in treatment and not just one person. For instance, in the traditional Western medical approach, someone with arthritis would be treated by a specialist who would address their arthritis with medicines and other interventions. Using holistic medicine, instead of just treating someone's arthritis, the person's emotional aspects, attitudes and beliefs (mental), relationships and how they are affected by their illness, and spiritual aspects (deeper-rooted meanings about one's existence and future) would all be addressed in the treatment process.
Holistic treatments tend to downplay traditional pharmaceutical approaches to treatment, and in many cases, holistic treatment providers have relatively strong criticisms of them. Instead, other types of procedures, such as acupuncture, massage, natural therapy, etc., are preferred; however, most of these treatments do not have solid empirical evidence to support their use for several different diseases or medical conditions. For example, a technique often suggested as a holistic medicine treatment is an acupuncture. Several empirical research studies, such as a review reported in the March 2009 Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, have indicated that it often does not matter where the acupuncture needles are placed; individuals report feeling better even if hands are not placed according to the practice of acupuncture. This indicates that acupuncture may simply be capitalizing on a placebo effect.
On the other hand, there are advantages to the overall attitude that an individual should be treated across many different functioning domains instead of just having one issue addressed, and this notion may have some relevance in psychotherapy. Many established psychotherapy forms can realize enhanced benefits when individuals in therapy also incorporate exercise programs, meditation, yoga, and even spirituality in them.
Holistic treatments may encompass many different methods of both conventional and alternative medicine. Still, the overarching theme is that the person will ultimately build a better, more balanced sense of self while coming to love who they are in the process. The four main elements of the self are often explored and brought into balance, which can significantly aid the recovery process. The four elements are:
• Mind
• Body
• Soul
• Environment
To heal, one must first explore the cause or mindset that triggered the disorder. Toxic and negative thoughts should be eradicated and replaced with positive ones. Holistic medicine encourages group and individual therapy to redirect thoughts and changing behaviors.
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If you or someone you know would like more information on how dual diagnosis care can include facets of holistic treatment, call us for more details. We'd be happy to discuss how you can get started on your journey to a healthier, more comfortable lifestyle.