It is now common for rehabs to offer a holistic programme that includes alternative therapies. These treatments are deemed complimentary medicine because they are not considered part of Western medicine and not often backed by sufficient scientific research for them to be accepted by the mainstream. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to support some of these treatments for helping people break free of addiction, which is why these are often offered in rehab nowadays. Some of the alternative therapies that may help you stay sober include those listed in the below paragraphs.
Yoga is an eastern practice that dates back thousands of years. The name ‘yoga’ means ‘to unite’ and it is meant to lead down a spiritual path. Yoga is mostly associated with postures (asanas), but it also includes meditation and other practices. It can be beneficial for people in recovery because it combines both physical and mental exercises. It is also very effective as a stress-buster, and it may help to relieve some of the mental fogginess of early recovery; it can also make it easier to sleep at night.
Mindfulness is still considered an alternative therapy, but there is a growing mountain of scientific research to back up the effectiveness of this technique. It has quickly become an important element of rehab programmes around the world because it is so effective at teaching people to deal with cravings and negative emotions.
Mindfulness involves becoming more aware of the present moment in an objective way. The individual gains the ability to observe what is happening in his or her mind rather than just reacting to what arises. This means gaining the ability to see cravings as clouds passing through the mind, and the same technique can be used for dealing with other negative emotions. Mindfulness also makes it easier for individuals in early recovery to deal with stress and any other challenges that come their way.
Many of the negative symptoms many experience during early recovery may be due to nutritional deficiencies. Nutrition therapy is an attempt to restore the individual to balance through diet changes and this usually involves supplements as well as eating certain foods. This type of approach can mean that the person feels not only physically better but also mentally as well. Nutrition therapy may also be useful for reducing the effect of post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS).
Hypnosis by itself is not usually enough to help people break free of addiction, but it can be effective at increasing motivation and improving the ability to cope in early recovery. Hypnosis works by directing the client into an altered state of conscious whereby he or she becomes more suggestible. Hypnotherapy can appear a very exotic and potentially dangerous technique, but it does not really involve a loss of consciousness; and there is no way for the hypnotist to make individuals do things they do not want to do. There are many online options for hypnosis (for example, mp3 tracks and apps), but it is more effective to see a real hypnotherapist.
Some rehab programmes offer acupuncture, which can have a number of uses for those in early recovery. One of the most interesting claims for this alternative therapy is that it may help reduce withdrawal symptoms. It can also be good for helping people deal with the feelings of anxiety that can be experienced during the early days of recovery.
It is great that rehabs are willing to offer a wide range of treatments in rehab. There are questions surrounding the efficacy of some alternative therapies, but the idea is to use what works for you and ignore the rest.