Treating Addiction with Holistic Care
Holistic Care in Addiction Treatment
The idea of holistic care is taking care of the body, mind, spirit, and emotions – the person as a whole – instead of just treating the physical body. It is centered around the concept of keeping a proper balance. Treatment centers will often employ multiple methods of holistic care during the therapy/rehab phase of treatment through the means of exercise, yoga, and even equine therapy. These forms of therapy are used hand-in-hand with individual and group therapy in order to get the best results in recovery.
Each form of therapy is effective in its own right, and can be used long term in order to continually counter the effects of triggers and dependent urges. The goal is to enter a state of what is called Homeostasis; the tendency toward stability between interdependent elements; ergo, the balance between mind, body, spirit, and emotions.
“Many people use [drugs and alcohol] because of trauma in the past… when you think about a trauma, your body corresponds directly on a cellular basis as if the trauma was happening all over again,” said Jef Gazley, a licensed therapist with multiple specialties. Correct, it is fairly common for people to enter the early stages of addiction as a response to a traumatic event or loss. When something this bad happens we tend to want to forget, which is a reasonable reaction. In order to forget these events, or in an effort to cope with reality, alcohol and drugs are sought.
As we continue abusing these substances our mind and body develop and appetite for them on top of the habits the abuse is creating. The stronger these habits and appetites become the more powerful the addiction gets. This throws the body out of homeostasis because we are no longer in a comfortable balance with our mind and body: both are effected negatively by the substance’s harmful chemicals and the dependency they create.
Substance Abuse and Reality
Self-medicating through the means of alcohol or mind-altering drugs is incredibly dangerous, especially when trying to heal, forget, or cope with a traumatic incident. This can be compared to trying to cover up a large gash with a band-aide fit for a papercut. You may be able to hold the wound closed for a small time, but because it doesn’t close it all the way, keep it closed, or cover the entire wound it simply gets worse the longer it is ignored with the band-aide. It will continue to bleed, eventually become infected, and cause serious damage the longer it is “treated” in this manner.
Alcohol and mind-altering substances not only delay the problem, but they make everything, including the original problem, worse.
A Society in Addiction
“I think that there are huge areas in our society that certainly make it more likely that people would tend to use, because we are so out of balance.” Said Jef Gazley. In many ways, Gazley is absolutely correct, especially when it comes to alcohol. Think about it: there is a stigma attached to college life, social behavior, and friendly gatherings. The common ingredient for many people in these areas is alcohol. An almost knee-jerk reaction to having guests over as an adult is to offer wine or beer; beer and barbecue get-togethers go hand-in-hand; most restaurants have drink menus and bars. It’s hard to go anywhere and not see alcohol.
We also see excessive alcohol abuse in television. Often the character with a drinking problem is the funny one with a sitcom-crowd-laugh every time this person makes a joke about how much they drink. This is such a cultural norm that it makes those who actually have alcoholism that much more defensive about their condition.