4 Ways Holistic Approaches Can Help in Substance Use Disorder Recovery

Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on March 1, 2021.

Overcoming addiction can change or even save someone's life. Choosing the right approach toward recovery is an important decision, and there are different factors to consider for each individual. It's essential to realize addictions are about more than physical dependency — they also involve psychological and emotional factors. For many, holistic treatment methods prove most successful when dealing with addiction rehabilitation. Learn about holistic approaches to substance use recovery to see if this method might be right for you.

What Is Holistic Medicine?

Holistic treatment involves a mind-and-body focus. It includes spiritual and emotional healing along with physical healing. It also integrates both alternative and conventional therapies. Holistic practices describe a wide range of techniques, some more proven than others. A holistic approach to treating addiction involves a comprehensive selection of medical, physical, emotional and other treatment therapies. It's different for each individual, so it can meet each person's unique needs.

What Are Common Examples of Holistic Medicine?

Holistic medicine can involve several therapies and activities focused on different aspects of physical, emotional and spiritual health. Some of these alternative treatments show high rates of positive impact. In addition to traditional medical support, a holistic approach might include some of the following practices:

  • Yoga: Originating in Northern India thousands of years ago, yoga helps rejuvenate the body and spirit. Experts are still discovering the extent of yoga's healing powers — for example, it helps with pain management, lessens inflammation and reduces fatigue. In addiction recovery, yoga can help relieve the discomfort associated with withdrawal symptoms.
  • Meditation: Another practice adopted from the East is meditation, which relaxes the mind and body, decreases stress and promotes better awareness of one's self.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR helps reduce trauma symptoms from conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It involves addressing challenging, unprocessed memories, similar to exposure therapy. In many cases, past trauma contributes to addictive behaviors and substance reliance. Healing from trauma may be necessary for long-lasting recovery, and EMDR offers one viable solution.
  • Art or music therapy: Creative outlets help with recovery's challenging emotional side effects, including stress and anger management. Finding a healthy way to express difficult feelings can help reduce the urge to use substances.
  • Exercise: Physical exercise has many benefits for the mind and body, which can be helpful during addiction recovery. Some treatment centers may offer group or individual exercise opportunities.
  • Nutritional counseling: Healthy nutrition, like exercise, has many benefits for the mind and body. Nutrition counseling ensures the person in recovery has a well-fueled, healthy body for approaching recovery tasks.

4 Ways Holistic Approaches Can Help Treat Substance Use Disorders

Holistic rehabilitation is increasing in popularity. It can have many benefits, promoting long-lasting recovery. Here are some of the ways holistic approaches help treat substance use disorders:

1. Promotes Individualized Care

No two cases of addiction are the same, so treatment should not be either. A standardized addiction recovery method may not suit every client. The individualized care of a holistic approach offers a better chance of recovery. You may need specific levels of physical, social, psychological and spiritual care to overcome your addiction. Holistic therapy acknowledges your complex needs — it treats individuals rather than treating symptoms. A broad array of treatment services encourages engagement and produces better results.

2. Empowers the Individual

As you likely realize, maintaining sobriety depends on your internal strength and motivation rather than external factors. No one can force you to overcome your addiction. A holistic approach to recovery empowers you to take your healing into your own hands. It gives you strategies you can continue to use on your own. It helps you emerge confident, ready to face challenges.

3. Strengthens Both the Mind and Body

Overcoming withdrawal symptoms, cravings and emotional lows requires a healthy body and mind. Holistic methods strengthen your body through exercise, nutrition and medical care. They also strengthen your mind through psychotherapy, trauma recovery, social support and other means. After receiving personalized holistic care, you may feel better equipped to face your addiction. This treatment can teach you how to make simple lifestyle changes for improved long-term health.

4. Gives the Client Insight Into Themselves

It's important to acknowledge your addiction's psychological and spiritual factors, not only the physical aspects. Through professional cognitive therapy, meditation and self-reflection, you can improve your self-awareness and find more success confronting your addiction. You can better understand yourself — including why your addiction formed, your goals and ambitions, and why recovery is essential for you. This improved self-awareness can help you sustain your recovery.

A Solution for Success: Holistic Techniques Combined With Traditional Methods

Research is still inconclusive regarding some holistic techniques. However, when combined with conventional treatments, clients often have higher overall satisfaction. It's best to combine holistic practices with techniques like medically assisted detox and residential recovery programs for optimal results.

Every individual is different and may find varying levels of success with holistic approaches. You may find art therapy impactful, while meditation does little for you. You may find EMDR helps you address your trauma, while other forms of counseling have not. Your experience will be unique to you. It's important to seek treatment that recognizes your individuality, whether holistic in nature or not.

The Holistic Approach at Diamond House Detox Centers

If you're looking for individualized addiction recovery treatment, Diamond House Detox can help. We offer a dual diagnosis approach involving concurrent treatment of addiction and mental illness. In the past, mental illness and addiction were considered separate issues that had to be treated independently. This treatment method ignored the ways mental illness can impact and contribute to addiction, leading to many complicated issues. A dual diagnosis method offers a more holistic, restorative approach.

Some of the most common mental illnesses co-occurring with addiction include depression, anxiety, PTSD, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and bipolar disorder. Dual diagnosis and treatment can help produce lasting addiction recovery by giving you the tools to manage your mental illness in the long term.

Contact Diamond House Detox for Holistic Recovery

If you have a substance use disorder, recovery is possible with the right approach. You can find success in defeating your addiction. For many people, holistic approaches have proven more helpful than traditional methods alone.

If you're ready for professional, confidential help overcoming your addiction, consider Diamond House Detox. We offer a holistic approach to recovery, acknowledging any co-occurring mental health issues. We'll help you feel empowered, strengthened and ready to heal from your addiction. To learn more about our treatment center, call 888-205-9455 or fill out our online contact form.


  1. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/140207-yoga-cancer-inflammation-stress
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3951033/
  3. https://ps.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.ps.55.7.767
  4. https://diamondhousedetox.com/addiction-therapy/dual-diagnosis-treatment-center-of-northern-california/
  5. https://diamondhousedetox.com/contact-us/
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Diamond House Detox
Vicky is a board certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She began her nursing career in healthcare by working in the intensive care unit, and then an inpatient psychiatric hospital. After realizing the mental health needs of both the patients and the families she served, she became a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Throughout her experience working with clients, she has developed a passion for those with dual diagnoses and specializes in helping individuals recognize the issues driving their substance use. This recognition has been crucial to the individual’s success in treatment. Vicky opened Diamond House Detox so that she can address these issues early on in a therapeutic environment to allow clients to transition to the next level in their recovery.
Vicky Magobet
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