Holistic Options for Addiction Treatment

Posted on April 16th, 2014

Though new medications and therapies are often developed to help patients overcome substance addiction, sometimes it’s the rediscovery of old remedies that show great promise. Such is the case with several Eastern practices that are proving to be excellent therapies that can prove beneficial when paired with standard addiction treatment.

Mindfulness Meditation

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention opioid addiction has reached epidemic proportions. Abuse of opioids has skyrocketed over the past few decades as doctors have increased the numbers of opioid prescriptions for patients. A study from University of Utah researchers shows how mindfulness meditation can help people overcome their addiction to these potent painkillers.

Mindfulness meditation teaches practitioners to become more attuned to how the environment can trigger automatic response. People also learn how to take charge of their own thinking, especially in terms of how they process stressful situations. People in the study were taught how to choose to consider stress as growth potential events.

People in the study who were taught mindfulness developed greater appreciation for the benefits of interpersonal relationships. Savoring is a technique for learning how to value the rewarding experiences in life like friendship and family.

The study showed that mindfulness was able to reduce opioid misuse by 63 percent compared to the 32 percent reduction typically experienced by those participating in traditional support group therapy.

Acupuncture

As young people find it harder to maintain an opioid habit, many are turning to heroin as it’s less expensive and more available. Research has demonstrated how acupuncture can help heroin addicts at every stage, from the first day of detox to ongoing recovery.

Scientific study has shown that acupuncture can actually restore damage and reverse some of the negative effects on the brain caused by heroin use. Researchers found that acupuncture:

  • Restored mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum in the frontal lobe and hippocampus
  • Restored damaged nerve cells
  • Improved regulation of proteins that govern cell death and cell preservation
  • Reduced pathological damage within the brain.


Yoga

A study performed in Norway suggests that practicing yoga can enhance the function of the body’s immune system. A strong immune system is a pillar of general wellness. It combats stress and can even help to heal some of the bodily damage incurred through substance abuse. The study found that practicing yoga redirected cravings toward health rather than unhealthy foods and also aided in forming regular sleep habits. The positive lifestyle encouraged through yoga practice provided satisfaction and thus was a protection against relapse.

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