The word holistic is often used in discussing a person’s health or treatment, but many people have a misperception of exactly what holistic treatment is. Holistic comes from a Greek word meaning “whole.” Rather than some far-out or weird definition, holistic care simply means treating the entire person.
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When it comes to addiction treatment, a common misunderstanding is that all a person has to do is “just quit taking the drug.” This completely ignores the physical, chemical, psychological, and emotional structures which make up “addiction.” A responsible treatment center will not only help the addict stop using, but will also help him get to the root causes of the addiction, regain his physical health, and provide a support system to help the person make a successful return to a non-drug using existence in his everyday life.
That’s why it’s important that a variety of different therapies are used – because a recovering addict has a variety of needs. Some therapies are based solidly on modern western medicine and science. Detoxification, for example, is a stressful and sometimes dangerous process in which a person’s body is weaned from the addictive substance and toxins eliminated from the body. Careful monitoring and timely appropriate medicinal intervention are needed to reduce the risks and increase the chances for success. This requires medical equipment and modern medicines.
At other times, however, the recovering addict may require therapy to help him regain some peace of mind. In such a case hypnosis, yoga, meditation, or even horseback riding may be used to help an individual attain a calm state. These so-called “alternative therapies” have proven themselves effective in many instances.
In the same spirit, chiropractic treatment or acupuncture may relieve a person who is in physical distress. While some people may pooh-pooh acupuncture, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2012, researchers concluded “Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic painand is therefore a reasonable referral option.” The New York Times referred to this study as “the most rigorous and detailed analysisof the treatment to date.”
Professionals in the field of addiction treatment are pragmatic. Their biggest concern is in helping individuals beat addiction in a safe and effective way. Open-mindedness regarding holistic treatment is a great indicator of a person’s desire for success.
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