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Do Holistic Approaches to Addiction Treatment Work?

 Do Holistic Approaches to Addiction Treatment Work?

Author: Shernide Delva

For a long time, the only approach to treating addiction was general treatment along with a 12-step ideology. However, these days the word “holistic” is thrown around often, leading many to wonder:

What is a holistic approach to treatment? Does it work?

The holistic approach to treatment addresses more than one area of concern when it comes to addiction treatment. Holistic treatment motivates a more healthy way of life and helps clients achieve the life they have always desired. Holistic treatment addresses the mind, body, and spirit.

The disease model of addiction implies that there’s something wrong with an addict that cannot be fixed. Holistic treatment trumps that model. Holistic treatment views addiction as more than a “disease,” and instead views addiction as “dis-ease.” Ultimately, holistic treatment tackles the imbalance and disharmony humans face.

A good holistic treatment program tackles the psycho-emotional, physical and spiritual condition. For example, our client based treatment program utilizes a wide range of therapeutic interventions to help clients achieve their specific goals.

These therapeutic interventions include:

  • Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (E.M.D.R.): an eight-phase treatment which implements special eye movements to identify experiences that have overwhelmed the brain’s natural resilience or coping capacity.
  • Hypnosis: Also called hypnotherapy, hypnosis creates a deep sense of relaxation in a client and helps guide them along shifts in consciousness.
  • Neuro- Linguistic Programming (N.L.P.): an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy.
  • Dialectic Behavior Therapy (D.B.T.): a form of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy used to treat multiple types of mental health disorders.
  • Motivational Interviewing: a psychotherapeutic approach focused on helping clients find the motivation to make positive decisions and accomplish established goals.

Furthermore, a solid holistic treatment center will focus on addressing all components of addiction. Most addicts struggle with mental illnesses along with their addiction. A specialized treatment program will dually diagnose a client, and address co-existing psychiatric disorders.

These include:

It is important to treat both areas involved in addiction: the substance abuse and the underlying mental health disorders. Holistic treatment focuses on allowing clients to live in a real world environment where they learn to cope with everyday realities.

Another major component of a well-crafted holistic program is bio-nutritional therapy. Nutrition is an often overlooked area of holistic treatment; however, it is crucial to optimal health. Bio-nutritional therapy acknowledges that all body systems are connected, and are a complementary component to general medicine.

The human body contains over 300 different nutrients and what we eat, drink and breathe affect the way the body functions. Good nutrition is critical to a healthy functioning body. Bio-nutritional therapy looks at the underlying biochemistry of the individual and uses macronutrients, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals to manipulate biochemistry in an effort to restore and maintain balance.


Along with meeting nutritional needs, a holistic program will offer treatments to address physical needs. Some of these include acupuncture, massages, and colonics. Furthermore, a solid fitness and nutrition program does wonders for both mental and physical healing.


Clients come from all walks of life, and all belief systems are supported and respected in a holistic program. For example, at G&G Healthcare,  clients attend a “morning spiritual” which is nondenominational and focuses on mindfulness and goal setting. Spirituality is a component of an addiction treatment program in which clients connect to a higher power.

Do Holistic Treatment Programs Work?

With all of the options offered in holistic programs, the question remains, do they work? The answer to this question is complex. There are a variety of studies that show a person’s satisfaction with treatment is a huge motivator in completing treatment.

Staying in treatment is crucial for achieving and maintaining recovery in the long term, and holistic approaches to treatment help address a variety of needs clients have while enduring traditional treatment.

Furthermore, since holistic treatment programs offer clients so many resources, they are able to identify with specific areas they need individualized attention in. This allows clients to have a complete, specialized treatment experience.

Overall, a combination of traditional treatment along with holistic alternatives provides the optimum addiction treatment program. If you are interested in learning more about the holistic approach to treatment, please reach out. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or mental illness, call now.

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