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Holistic Treatments For Mental Health And Substance Abuse

Holistic treatments for mental health and substance abuse consist of a variety of treatments and approaches. Many of the holistic approaches like yoga and meditation have been around for thousands of years.


Holistic Therapy And Alternative Holistic Medicine

At Wellness Center NJ, holistic treatment is both a practice and a perspective.  Holistic Therapy was initially used to refer to those therapeutic interventions not considered evidence-based practices (EBP). Things like yoga, acupuncture, and spirituality are all considered holistic.  Leading the rise in the popularity of holistic treatment in the US was a cultural acceptance of eastern philosophies like Buddhism and meditation.

However, holistic treatment has now evolved into a perspective that includes mind, body, and soul as an integrated system. Dysfunction and pain in one part will affect other parts of the body. Treating one domain without the others has minimal effects and produces a set of diminishing returns. 

Word map of holistic health

Holistic care is a mentality that permeates throughout our organization as we see past clusters of symptoms to the “whole person.”    Our holistic approach to mental health treatment starts with the overriding concept that we treat people, not as a group of symptoms. All mental health therapists and practitioners use a book called the Diagnostic Statistician Manual to diagnose patients.

Holistic Medicine And The DSM

The DSM is used to diagnose patients with mental illness and mood disorders. This book is excellent for describing mental health disorders and the clusters of symptoms that make up those disorders. But it’s usefulness often ends there.

It’s not practical during the treatment phase because it does not consider the uniqueness of the individual. A person’s lifestyle, preferences and beliefs, past experiences, current relationships, regrets, sense of self, and self-actualization stage must all be considered for there to be any lasting change.

Western medicine is often criticized for how symptoms are viewed in isolation and not considerate of the “whole person.” Besides the fact that people tend to dislike being fit into a neat diagnostic box, another problem arises when patients are treated with the same mentality as that which they were diagnosed.

What Is Holistic Treatment?

Holistic approaches focus on the body, mind, spirit, and emotions to heal the body as a single unit rather than viewing the body as a set of unrelated systems. There are a variety of treatment options that follow the principles of holistic therapy.   Principles of effective holistic treatments include:

  • Mental, spiritual, physical, emotional, and social wellness together creates good health.
  • Holistic treatment focuses on prevention strategies and then moves to the treatment options.
  • A single disease or disorder is associated with the whole body and not only one body part or function.
  • The focus of holistic therapy should be on fixing the fundamental causes of the ailment rather than reducing the symptoms.
  • Patients should not be defined by the condition they are suffering from.
  • Treatment outcomes also depend on the relationship between practitioner and patient.

Holistic Mental Health Treatments

To be clear, we are not discounting the Western approach to medicine.  In fact, we make full use of it at Mental Health Wellness NJ. But it has been our experience that patients receive the best level of care when core therapies are supplemented with an advanced holistic approach.  In that way, we can consider the whole person and not just a file describing a cluster of symptoms or a DSM diagnosis.

picture of text that says holistic medicine treat you-not the disease

Holistic therapies and alternative medicine can help increase mood and emotional well-being in many mental health disorders.  This is not to say that holistic methods are enough by themselves; often, medication is needed.

Natural Treatments For Schizophrenia

Holistic Recovery From Schizophrenia cannot be entirely successful without medication.  We advocate holistic therapies as a supplement, but not a replacement for medication.  The reason for this has to do with how schizophrenia affects the brain.  Schizophrenia increases the amount of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.  Medication readjusts and optimizes those chemicals for symptom improvement. Healthline has a good article on this topic.

Holistic Approach To Substance Abuse Treatment

Substance abuse is affecting millions of people around the world. According to a survey, about 21 million Americans suffer from drug addiction.  Only about 10% end up receiving life-changing treatment. According to experts, two-thirds of the total American population experience traumatic events before the age of 18, making them more prone to drug addiction, alcoholism, anxiety, and depression.

picture of a tree that says mind, body, spirit

Drugs may ease the stress and create a pleasurable high for the time being, but it has long-term deteriorating effects. Using a strictly medical approach to treat substance abuse might be useful. Still, it comes with several potential side effects, which is why more and more people are switching to a safer alternative – Holistic medicine.

Holistic Medicine

Holistic medicine is appropriate for supplementing evidence-based mental health and substance abuse treatments but beware of providers who only offer holistic therapies.  When holistic treatment services are used to supplement more traditional addiction and mental health treatments, there is a synergy created by the two interactions greater than the sum of its parts. 

Holistic approaches are so appealing to so many people because of the way it seamlessly blends solutions from a seemingly disparate solution set.  There are many different holistic therapies with different effects, goals, and approaches. 

Holistic Medicine For Substance Abuse

Therapies considered holistic focus on non-medicinal recovery options known to promote overall well-being and reduce the physical symptoms of withdrawal and abuse. Holistic treatment is a personalized approach to treating substance abuse and mental health disorders.  These methods can help reduce cravings, stress, improve mood, and reduce vulnerability to relapse.

Alternative Treatment Approaches Integrated with Holistic Therapy

Holistic medicine integrates several different techniques that have proved to help relieve different medical conditions. Some of the most popular approaches used in holistic medicine are:

  • Medication
  • Art therapy
  • Nutritional therapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Acupuncture
  • Biofeedback
  • Herbal therapy
  • Aromatherapy
  • Hypnosis

Types of Holistic Medicine Techniques

Numerous techniques are used to make holistic treatment a success.

  • Acupuncture 

Started in China, and still being practiced today this is a process in which skinny needles are stuck into precise points on the body.  The needles are thought to activate the peripheral nervous system and help with conditions like stress, anxiety, insomnia, and digestive issues.

  • Aromatherapy 
holistic aromatherapy picture
Holistic Aromatherapy Treatment

In this technique, several highly concentrated aromatic essential oils are used to affect the brain’s smell receptors. Aromatherapy helps in relieving stress, improving memory, and speeds up the healing process. Different types of oils used in aromatherapy are chamomile, lavender, peppermint, jasmine oil, sage oil, and eucalyptus oil. 

  • Mindfulness Meditation

The mindfulness meditation technique requires you to focus on your breathing pattern to pay attention to the present moment. It can help in improving memory, sleep and promotes a healthy body and peaceful mind. 

  • Biofeedback Therapy

The therapist monitors the breathing rate, blood pressure, muscle activity, heart rate, and skin temperature of the patient during the biofeedback session by attaching electrodes to the skin. The therapist will have immediate feedback on the level of patient stress. He will suggest relaxation exercises to fine-tune the body functions and treat the underlying issues causing stress.   Over time, patients learn to control what were previously automatic reactions.

  • Nutritional Therapy

Nutritional therapy uses food to prevent and reverse health conditions like obesity, depression, diabetes, and substance abuse.

Benefits of Holistic Treatment for Substance Abuse

Holistic treatment focuses on promoting a healthy lifestyle, which leads to better emotional and spiritual well-being.  This well-being increases ones’ vulnerability to stress, cravings, and triggers to use drugs and alcohol.

  •   Resolving Emotional Conflict

Drug addiction could be because of emotional conflicts with yourself or another person. Holistic therapy helps in the identification of those conflicts and makes the person more aware of their feelings. 

  • Rebuilding Self-Esteem

Most addicts think of themselves as somebody who cannot accomplish anything and fail at everything they try. Holistic therapy offers a chance to participate in music, art, yoga, fitness, and other activities that can reveal a hidden talent or skill that had not surfaced until now. 

  •   Lower Anxiety and Depression

Substance abuse can add to anxiety and depression, which harms a person’s mind and body. Holistic therapy can help relieve the accumulated stress, which is a real cause of anxiety and depression, leading to drug addiction. A strong bond with the doctor and indulging in activities like painting, acting, and singing can have therapeutic effects on an addict’s mind.

  • Diverse Treatment Options

Holistic medicine uses a wide range of treatment options that effectively treat the whole body and its system as one unit. Holistic programs include meditation, recreational programs, fitness, yoga, chiropractic techniques, and acupuncture.

Cost of Holistic Treatment

Holistic therapy costs much more than a regular visit to a physician. Chiropractors, Naturopaths, and other Holistic medicine practitioners may charge over $100 for a single visit. Moreover, different types of treatment methods used in holistic medicine have varying costs, e.g. 

  • Acupuncture                                –                           up to $65
  • Aromatherapy                            –                           up to $70
  • Bowen Technique                      –                           up to $80
  • Homeopathy                                –                           up to $120
  • Osteopathy                                  –                           up to $50            

Wrap Up

Holistic treatments can be beneficial in helping to treat mental health and substance abuse disorders. Different treatment techniques can have varying effects according to the psychological and physical health of the patient. Choose a holistic health care practitioner wisely as an unwise decision may prove costly.

Wellness Center New Jersey provides substance abuse and mental health treatment in Cliffside Park, NJ 201-945-2905.

Most Insurance Plans Accepted