Combining Holistic and Traditional Approaches for a Personalized Recovery Path

Combining Holistic and Traditional Approaches for a Personalized Recovery Path

We are all made up of unique family histories, medical histories, mental health statuses, environments, circumstances and more. All of these factors have contributed to who we are today – and that should always be embraced in addiction recovery. Addiction doesn’t just arise “out of the blue” – it often builds because of and alongside a number of things. When we simplify addiction recovery as only needing to focus on the addiction itself, we neglect the very aspects that have contributed to the issues they’re experiencing.

Traditional Approach

In the past, traditional medicine has been utilized in treatment centers to help people disband from addiction. Medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone (including an extended-release form) have been widely used in treating opioid addictions, while disulfiram, Acamprosate, and naltrexone have been used to help treat alcohol dependence. These medications often help lessen the intensity of withdrawal symptoms associated with detoxification or may even serve as a maintenance medication to lessen cravings and relapse.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has noted a variety of components that can come with comprehensive treatment, such as:

–       Intake processing and assessment

–       Behavioral therapy and counseling

–       Treatment plan

–       Substance use monitoring

–       Clinical and case management

–       Pharmacotherapy

–       Self-help/Peer support groups

–       Continuing care

Reputable treatment centers that go above and beyond will provide all of these types of services, as they want to offer the most support to help a person reach their recovery goals. Traditional approaches to addiction recovery may be very clinical in nature, but this approach can be beneficial because it tells us vital signals that are needed for a person’s mind and body to rejuvenate.

Holistic Approach

Holistic treatment approaches take into consideration the very aspects that affect our mind, body, and spirit. In the United States, these are often considered “alternative” methods or “supplemental” therapies to treatment, but they have shown in research time and time again their effectiveness in helping treat depression, anxiety, and a host of other symptoms that can expand from mental illness and/or substance abuse (such as relapse). Types of holistic practices are:

–       Yoga

–       Meditation

–       Massage therapy

–       Chiropractic services

–       Acupuncture

–       Equine therapy (horse therapy)

–       Ropes courses

–       And more

The National Health Interview Survey, conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, states that 21 million adults in the United States practice yoga while 18 million adults (8%) practice meditation. Chiropractic services and massage therapy are up there in number as well, as more and more Americans are finding that holistic therapy can come with many benefits.

As emphasized by the AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, the holistic approach to healing differs from the traditional one in that healthcare teams consider all realms of life – not just addiction itself. While addiction will certainly be a central focus, doctors and therapists will also ask questions about psychosocial, spiritual, and mental states to explore how they are contributing to a person’s wellbeing as well. With two approaches that have shown to be extremely beneficial for people – both traditional and holistic – what might be the benefits of combining them both?

Combining Traditional and Holistic Approaches

Combining both of these approaches is much more feasible to do than one may think, as they actually complement one another quite well. While the traditional focus seeks to understand and treat the physical issues a person has (such as withdrawal, nutritional deficiencies, etc.), the holistic approach focuses on everything else that is contributing to a person’s state of being. Yes, a person may be battling addiction, but they may also be battling:

–       Mental health issues – such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc.

–       Financial difficulties – that have occurred either before or because of addiction

–       Relationship complications – divorce, family arguments, etc.

–       Sleeping problems – insomnia, nightmares, substance abuse, etc.

–       Spiritual numbness – not feeling as though they have a sense of purpose in their life, feeling disconnected from others, or questioning what life is supposed to mean for them

–       And more

Not only can an individual be assessed for what type of medication may work best for them, but they may also become involved in holistic practices that work well with their mind, body, and spirit. This collaboration between what a person needs and what intrigues them means they will have more of a voice in their recovery – which means they will likely be more invested in meeting their goals. When we have a say in the path we take, and when we receive treatment that’s more tailored to who we are as individuals, we’re set up with a nice foundation for strong treatment outcomes. From there, it’s up to us to work hard and apply what we’ve learned to the path ahead of us.

If you’re ready to take that first step towards your recovery, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today. Not only should treatment be comprehensive, but it should be customizable to meet your needs.

The mission of The Beach House is to provide success in the recovery process and elevate the standard of comprehensive addiction treatment. Located right on the coast of Malibu, California, expert clinical care and a holistic view of the recovery process is provided to ensure Best-in-Class treatment tailored to the needs of each client. If you’re ready to start your recovery journey today, call us at 310-924-0780.

Saving Lives; Healing Families.


Kimberly James

I am the founder and owner of The Beach House Treatment Center, The White House, Indigo Ranch, Sweetwater Mesa and Beach House Center for Wellness, all in Malibu, California.