Addiction is a complex condition. It affects the whole person and often infiltrates every area of their life. Substance use issues can interfere with the ability to live, work, and play. Left untreated, it claims thousands of lives, breaks up families, and steals joy away from people who would otherwise be giving so much back to the world. However, there are a number of addiction treatment therapy programs that can help. Through therapy, it’s possible to reclaim your life from addiction and to begin to heal.
There’s no easy cure for addiction. While some medications can help those on the road to recovery, healing from addiction requires inner work. There are several alternative therapy strategies that have been proven to help.
What Are Alternative Therapies for Addiction?
Therapeutic approaches like cognitive-behavioral therapy and other types of psychotherapy could be considered to be traditional in the field of addiction treatment. Therapies that take a more holistic approach by integrating the mind, body, and spirit into treatment can be considered alternative options. These therapies are typically used as supplements to other approaches to care and can be incorporated into a comprehensive treatment plan.
Five of the Most Effective Alternative Therapy Strategies
Biofeedback involves placing sensors on or around the body that monitor statistics like heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and breaths-per-minute. It monitors involuntary autonomic nervous system reactions to help you become aware of what’s going on with your body at any given time. The goal is to learn to detect those changes without using a machine, and hopefully, learn effective strategies for managing them without turning to drugs.
Ideally, biofeedback sessions occur under the guidance of a trained psychotherapist. They can help you identify when stress occurs. Then, they’ll teach you to use meditation, guided imagery, mindfulness, or even relaxation strategies to counter the effects of cravings, stress, and other potential triggers.
Like biofeedback, reiki isn’t technically a psychotherapeutic approach, but it can immensely benefit the participant’s mental well-being.
Many people who struggle with addiction experience challenges with intimacy, friendship, or closeness with family. Reiki, though it isn’t quite a scientific approach, claims to work with life force and/or energies to reduce stress, anxiety, and cravings slowly over time. But much of the benefit likely stems from the fact that practitioners give compassionate, thoughtful care, something that can encourage the client to care for themselves better in the first place.
3. Touch Therapy
Massage and other therapeutic touch strategies are proven to help. Regular massage therapy, particularly full-body relaxation, can reduce stress, improve circulation, and reduce aches and pains. Furthermore, massage therapy can even improve emotional stability over time.
4. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
Sometimes referred to as “tapping,” the process has you rapidly tap on various parts of the body while repeating positive affirmations.
Scientifically, there isn’t any proof that EFT works, but anecdotal evidence abounds. Clients claim that EFT has direct benefits on stress, anxiety, panic, worry, and other negative emotions. It isn’t clear whether they contrive those benefits from the affirmations or from the tapping, but there are no known negative side effects to EFT.
5. Existential Therapy
Existential therapy is, in fact, a type of psychotherapy. Its approach is uniquely suited to addiction simply because it focuses on life philosophy, helping the individual in recovery reconfirm their place in life and find meaning within it.
Understanding your purpose in recovery can be difficult. Many individuals who struggle with addiction center their lives around using or accessing substances. Moving on from that cycle is one of the most important steps you can take.
In existential therapy, a psychotherapist uses discussion and a variety of other sub-strategies to help you focus on issues that cause internal conflict. It also encourages you to look at philosophical issues (like life, death, and what comes before or after) so you can develop your own understanding of your place in the world.
Reach Out to Westwind Recovery® Today
If you’re struggling with addiction, you aren’t alone. Millions of Americans face substance use issues, and many never reach out for help. At Westwind Recovery® in Los Angeles, we offer a number of addiction treatment therapies that can aid you on your journey to recovery. We’ll support you every step of the way as you work towards healing.