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The Holistic Addiction Treatment Process
Addiction is marked by a whirlwind of consequences that can leave the user feeling hurt and alone in his or her fight to get sober. Taking the steps to sobriety, working hard, and remaining committed can go a long way in the plight to overcome addiction, but treatment is generally necessary to ensure success in recovery.
The steps that you take to overcome addiction will likely vary according to your addiction and the type of holistic treatment that is chosen for healing and recovery; although the individual treatment protocols, steps and guidance can change based on the individual situation, the overall holistic recovery process has many similarities such as:
- A need for intake.
- A common need for detox when drug or alcohol addiction is a part of the user’s life.
- Counseling and therapy to promote rehabilitation and healing.
- Quality follow-up care.
- Support from friends, family, and peers.
- Relapse prevention in recovery.
If someone you love is addicted to drugs or alcohol, holistic recovery can invoke a new sense of healing along the journey to sobriety. Contact one of our treatment specialists today for help.
The very first step of the holistic treatment process will begin once you make the decision to seek professional help. Treatment intake is the process of entering a holistic rehab center for the first time and working with the intake staff to outline a plan of action.
There are many different types of treatment to choose from; before you choose a treatment facility, consider the following:
- Finding a holistic program that’s right for you will depend on a variety of factors including cost, location, treatment options, and how comfortable you feel when you enter the treatment center.
- Simply finding a treatment facility is the first step; you must also make a commitment to adhere to the policies of the holistic program and to work diligently at your own recovery.
- There is no single approach to treatment that will work for everyone. It may take more than one attempt at holistic treatment before you find a program that’s most suited to your individual needs.
- Holistic treatment should address your addiction as well as underlying conditions, your emotional well-being and other areas of your life as a whole.
- In addition to holistic healing practices, medications may be required to help you stabilize.
- Psychological treatment including counseling and therapy are a necessary component in any addiction recovery program.
- Even if you don’t want to go to treatment, you can still get sober.
The process of intake will vary depending on the type of treatment program you choose. Individuals who enter a residential treatment program will generally go through a period of assessment and monitoring for up to 24 hours before full-intake is experienced. The staff of the facility will ask questions, monitor the status of the addiction and any associated symptoms of withdrawal in order to develop a continuum of care that is most suited to the addict’s needs. A clinical care coordinator as well as doctors, nurses, counselors and other treatment staff will work together to formulate a recovery plan that adapts to the individual needs of the patient.
When outpatient treatment is chosen, intake generally consists of a 2-3 hour counseling session during which the addict speaks with the recovery team about his or her addiction, withdrawal symptoms, and recovery goals. Much like inpatient treatment, the intake process for outpatient treatment will include:
- Diagnostic testing to formulate a basis for further monitoring. Such testing will help the treatment team to determine the severity of the addiction and the overall needs of the patient.
- History assessment to determine that addict’s past drug use, medical problems and family history of substance abuse or health related concerns.
- Initial arrangements for financial coverage of treatment to include review of insurance or other payment options.
Following intake, most cases of addiction to drugs or alcohol will require a period of stabilization known as detox. Detoxification is the process of eliminating the residual substances that are left in the body following the use of drugs or alcohol. During this time, the user often faces a number of symptoms known as withdrawal. Detox focuses on easing symptoms of withdrawal and helping the patient to stabilize in preparation for rehabilitation.
Each patient will experience unique symptoms during detox. Depending on the substance of abuse, as well as various other factors, the detoxification process may only take a couple of days or it could take weeks. The length of time that an individual abused drugs or alcohol also plays a key role in the severity of symptoms during these early days of recovery and healing.
According to various studies, the following factors can influence withdrawal:
- Age – the older you are the more likely you are to experience withdrawal symptoms that persist for a longer period of time.
- Type of substance abused – certain drugs, and alcohol, tend to cause longer lasting symptoms of withdrawal and serious side effects.
- Level of substance abuse – individuals who recently used higher amounts of a substance or who have been using significant amounts for a prolonged period of time are likely to experience more serious symptoms of withdrawal.
- Individual expectations – individuals who expect withdrawal to be terrible are likely to suffer from increased side effects merely due to the psychological expectations.
- Instances of multiple substances of abuse – individuals who abuse more than one drug or alcohol as well as drugs are more likely to experience exasperated withdrawal effects.
Despite the amount of time that withdrawal takes, which can vary from one user to the next based on many different factors, symptoms tend to be similar. While each substance has its own set of withdrawal side effects, the most common symptoms for most types of substance abuse include:
- Anxiety or depression
- Lack of concentration or mental clarity
- Reduced appetite, upset stomach, nausea or vomiting
- Shaking, trembling or seizures
- Sleep problems including fatigue or insomnia
- Pain in the joints, muscles, or bones
- Auditory or visual hallucinations
- Changes in heart rhythm including rapid heartbeat or reduced heart rate
- Runny nose, sneezing or other allergy-like symptoms
The type of holistic detox treatment that ensues during the early stages of withdrawal will depend on the specific type of substance abuse disorder being addressed. A medical team will assess the patient during intake to determine an appropriate course of treatment to take place in the detoxification stage of recovery and healing.
Some addictions, and behavioral disorders, will not require medical care during detox. Individuals suffering from conditions that do not require extensive detox are often able to transition immediately into the next area of recovery in which rehabilitation through counseling and holistic therapy takes place.
If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of addiction or withdrawal, call our helpline to speak with a treatment specialist about the treatment options that are available to assist you in recovery.
As soon as the individual is stabilized and symptoms of withdrawal have been reduced enough for the patient to focus on other healing efforts, the process of rehabilitation can begin. This is where the real work towards recovery and sobriety takes place. During holistic rehabilitation, efforts are made to help the addict to better understand his or her addiction, the elements that led to the addiction, the triggers that have impacted the continued use of drugs or alcohol and the appropriate steps to healing and achieving sobriety.
Holistic rehabilitation may consist of any combination of the following types of treatment:
- Behavioral therapy
- Animal therapy
- Nutritional guidance
- Relapse prevention
- Spiritual therapy
- Group counseling
- Family therapy
During the initial stages of rehabilitation the individual will work one-on-one with a counselor or therapist who will assist the addict in identifying the underlying factors that contributed to the substance abuse. This step of the rehabilitation process will include:
- Learning what factors contribute to addiction.
- Learning what factors influence addiction and trigger substance use – factors may include emotions, stress, environment elements, social elements, health, etc.
- Learning how to manage time and stay focused on healing. Studies show that individuals who have too much free time are more likely to relapse so time management will likely include taking up additional hobbies or activities to stay busy and to keep thoughts away from substance abuse.
- Learning how to avoid temptation or how to cope with the temptation to abuse various substances.
Therapy, such as behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy is also incorporated into the holistic rehabilitation process. Such therapy can assist the patient in changing addictive patterns of behavior that contribute to continued substance abuse. Behavioral therapy plays a key role in the recovery process offering recovering addicts a means of integral healing through psychological change.
Recognizing that the family system is often deeply impacted by addiction, most rehabilitation programs also incorporate family counseling and therapy into the recovery process. This type of treatment aids in the reestablishment of a solid, supportive, family system. Counseling can help families in the following ways:
- Counseling can reduce the long term impact of addiction on the family system.
- Counseling can help family members to better understand the addiction.
- Counseling can help family members to see things from the addict’s point of view.
- Counseling can help reduce the pain associated with the repercussions of addiction.
- Counseling can restore trust in the addict allowing for greater support and continued healing.
Through holistic rehabilitation, the addict as well as his or her family can begin to incorporate various elements of healing into their lives. Through various therapies that are aimed at improving the individual’s emotional, physical and psychological well-being, rehabilitation provides the recovering addict with a foundation upon which a lifetime of sobriety can be built.
Following detox and rehabilitation, many require additional support and monitoring to ensure continued success in recovery. Even after the gains of rehab have landed the user into a semi-comfortable sobriety spot, there is still ground to be conquered in order to ensure long term relapse prevention. Aftercare programs are designed to provide safe transitions from treatment to sober living.
The type of continued care that an individual receives during aftercare depends on his or her unique needs. Most aftercare programs include some combination of the following:
- Continued monitoring for abstinence from the use of drugs or alcohol.
- Continued counseling or therapy.
- Continued medical intervention and follow-up care.
- Support from a therapist, peers and family.
- Integrated services to encourage social, environment and behavioral change.
- Alumni groups and meetings.
- Special recovery events to continue to encourage sober living.
- Relapse prevention seminars or sessions.
The continued counseling that is received as part of a qualified aftercare program can assist recovering individuals in their continued efforts to remain sober. Aftercare provides a safe, continuum of care for the recovering addict during both the early transitional period when he or she first exits residential treatment as well as long-term sometimes up to two or more years following the original period of inpatient treatment.
A typical aftercare plan will consist of:
- Continued participation in follow-up therapy to include group counseling sessions, NA meetings, AA meetings or other invaluable healing provisions.
- Continued education regarding triggers, avoiding triggers and overall relapse prevention strategies.
- Continued counseling and therapy to assist in learning coping skills and stress reduction techniques that will contribute to relapse risk reduction.
- Transitional assistance to ensure relapse prevention, continued sobriety and long-term healing.
Support will play a significant role in recovery from addiction beginning in the early phases of detox and rehabilitation and continuing long term through aftercare and recovery. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, support groups “can complement and extend the effects of professional drug addiction treatment.” These programs typically include an array of 12-step treatment modalities as well as many non-12-step based groups.
Support groups may include:
- Narcotics Anonymous – a widely available support group that focuses on helping those who are affected by addiction to various drugs including prescription painkillers, methamphetamine, cocaine or other substances.
- Alcoholics Anonymous – a widely available support group that focuses on helping the individuals and families who have been impacted by alcoholism or alcohol abuse.
- Various non-twelve step groups – while some of the most popular support groups such as NA or AA do focus on the twelve-step treatment model, there is no one-size-fits-all method of treatment or support that works for every addict or loved one. As such, various non-step based support groups are also found online, in communities and in treatment programs offering assistance in recovery.
Studies show that connecting with others who share similar experiences can go a long way in providing a foundation of healing and recovery. Holistic treatment programs often incorporate support groups into the everyday recovery process to ensure that individuals connect with their peers and develop strong bonds with others who share the long-term goal of sobriety and recovery.
Support groups can help by:
- Encouraging continued sobriety.
- Motivating the individual to take part in continued treatment.
- Reducing isolation and feelings of hopelessness.
- Improving relationships, trust and overall efforts of recovery.
- Reducing relapse risk.
- Encouraging positive change.
- Improving social involvement.
After an individual has made his or her way through detox, rehabilitation, therapy, and aftercare recovery begins to take place. Recovery is not a timeline that immediate follows treatment, it’s an ongoing lifestyle that the individual experiences and it’s a journey that can still be faced with challenges along the way. Recovery requires long-term commitment, continued behavioral change and support from friends, family and peers.
For some, recovery will be a new way of life that feels “normal,” but for others, everything about recovery may feel awkward at first. It’s important to keep in close contact with a counselor as well as with others who are in recovery in order to receive the appropriate support for continued success and healing. Recovery and relapse prevention is improved with a quality aftercare program that includes follow-up care, support and transitional assistance.
Even during recovery many patients will continue to receive regular counseling or therapy on a long-term basis. For some, support groups will play a pivotal role in their continued efforts to remain sober. Recovery is all about integrating all of the new skills and coping mechanisms that were learned in treatment into everyday living and routines. This doesn’t mean that recovery comes as an easy task for everyone—some will struggle in recovery facing relapse and other challenges along the way.
If someone you love is in recovery, it’s important to remain understanding and supportive of their needs. During recovery, it’s important to:
- Remain aware of the potential for relapse.
- Remain involved in treatment and therapy or support groups.
- Continue to utilize the learned skills that were gained during rehabilitation.
- Avoid triggers that could derail recovery efforts and lead to relapse.
- Remain in close contact with others who are in recovery and who share common goals.
If you or someone you love would like more information about the holistic treatment and recovery process, call our helpline for immediate assistance. We can refer you to a holistic treatment center where you can get the help that you need for yourself or someone you care deeply about.