While the discoveries in medical science are exponentially increasing, sometimes practices with ancient origins are so timeless that they are still being used today. Holistic treatment is an example of a concept that has been around since before the 4th century B.C. in India and China (as well as being recognized by Socrates and Hippocrates as the proper way to treat the body).
Despite its ancient origins, holistic treatment has recently resurfaced to become the new “it thing” in high-end drug rehabilitation centers. As with anything, holistic treatment has its fans and its critics. Currently, holistic medicine is more often used in Great Britain, but it seems to be rapidly gaining acceptance in the United States as well. In this article, we will look at what holistic treatment is and how it works.
What is Holistic Treatment
As a generality, holistic medicine is a term used to describe therapies that treat the patient as a whole person instead of just the illness. For example, doctors and therapists look at the overall physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health before treating the patient. The body is a system of interdependent parts that create a whole person’s being. Its natural state is one of health, so when there is an illness or disease, there is an imbalance in the person’s systems. While there is obviously something physically wrong with the patient, holistic practitioners try to find the underlying cause of the illness (which they believe may not be entirely physical). Holistic therapies rarely use any substances; they emphasize proper nutrition and optimizing general health.
How Does Holistic Rehab Work
While there is no limit to the range of diseases and disorders that are being treated in a holistic way, we are going to focus on holistic treatment in drug rehabilitation centers. Addiction can be caused by an imbalance of the complex system of body, mind and environment. With all these things in balance, there is no reason for someone to use substances and addiction will not occur. Holistic drug rehabilitation programs attack the addiction from all three of those areas (body, mind, and environment) as needed.
One of the big ways holistic practitioners handle the “mind” aspect is through a mental examination. According a study published in the journal “Hospital and Community Psychiatry,” 55.7% of cocaine addicts studied also met the diagnostic criteria for another mental illness. Therapists often screen their patients for any underlying mental illnesses (most of these tests come back positive). Then, the therapists treat both the addiction (a physical issue) and the mental illness equally to eliminate the patient’s desire for the substance.
In addition to mental illness screenings, holistic practitioners address the mind in a more spiritual way. Often addicts find the need to turn to substances in order to fill an empty hole in their life. The temporary effects of being high can make that feeling to away, even for a little bit. Unfortunately, it always returns and the cycle starts again. By solving the spiritual issue that the person is having, therapists work on solving the root issue that started the substance use. This way the real problem is handled and once the physical aspect is over, the addict won’t relapse.
Is a Holistic Approach to Addiction Effective
Some experts say that there’s no evidence that supports the benefit of holistic drug rehabilitation. Yale University psychologist, Kathleen Carroll said, “There is no evidence base for experiential therapy…none of that appears to lead to a sustainable change.” On the other hand, there are experts who say that holistic treatment is very effective. Critics of holistic therapy often say that it provides more of a placebo effect than a genuine solution. However, those in favor say that it is possible for someone to truly feel cured from addiction through these methods. Even if the process offers no more than a placebo effect for that individual, that effect may be valuable enough to keep them in treatment. In addition, several rehab directors argue that holistic approaches can be a middle ground for someone that isn’t willing to go with a conventional therapy. Therefore, somebody who may be skeptical of conventional treatment still gets treated and set on the right path.
Different for Everybody
At the end of the day, there is no way to determine whether or not one treatment is better than another because different people need different treatments. Some have found holistic treatment very successful, while others haven’t. Many believe in the benefits of holistic treatment and many don’t. It is important for anybody making a decision about any form of drug rehabilitation to have the full understanding. While this article hasn’t covered everything there is to know on holistic treatment, hopefully it brought you a bit closer to understanding this ancient treatment.
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Medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com: Holistic Medicine – http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/holistic+medicine
Psychologytoday.com: Holistic Rehab Therapies: Do They Work for Addiction? – http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inside-rehab/201304/holistic-rehab-therapies-do-they-work-addiction