Alternative Treatment Programs

Addiction Treatment

alternative-treatment-programsIncorporating a range of alternative treatment options with traditional treatment methods can largely improve the success rate of the addiction recovery process. Alternative treatment programs and holistic therapies play an important role in helping recovering addicts develop new forms of healthy expression, along with providing healthy alternatives for coping with life’s stresses, without the need for drugs or alcohol.

How Does Alternative Treatment Differ from Traditional Programs?

Traditional addiction treatment programs usually include individual addiction counseling, behavioral therapy, and medical detox. By comparison, alternative therapies are designed to provide alternative, natural coping strategies for those in recovery. The recovery process is far from easy, and the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression associated with this process often lead recovering addicts to return to substance abuse. Without healthy outlets for expression, it is easy for addicts to fall back in the destructive cycle of addiction.

When a traditional rehabilitation program has been completed, the person is expected to return to independent living with their newfound sobriety. Having access to a range of alternative or holistic therapies can not only increase one’s motivation to remain sober, but replace negative habits of the past with positive, healthy coping strategies.

What are the Benefits of Alternative Treatment in Addiction Recovery?

Alternative therapies provide natural, healthy ways for recovering addicts to cope with stress. They also provide healthy forms of expression, as well as having the potential to spark new interests, pursuits, or hobbies after rehab is complete, all of which can help to boost self-esteem and confidence.

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What are some Alternative Treatment Therapy Options?

There are a broad range of holistic and alternative therapies that may be offered as part of an addiction treatment program. Some of which may include:

Art therapy: creative arts therapies offer an excellent form of expression for difficult feelings and emotions that a person can’t often put into words. Arts used in therapy may include drawing, painting, sculpting, writing, poetry, drama, or dance. Creative arts therapy helps a person get in touch with the inner self, which can increase self-esteem and confidence, but it also provides a positive form of relaxation that is crucial throughout the recovery process.Music Therapy

Music therapy: music therapy involves using music in an effort to make it easier for people to manage physical, emotional, or cognitive problems. Therapists encourage patients to interact with the music in a variety of ways, including listening, discussing lyrics, singing, dancing, or even writing their own pieces.

Restorative yoga: Yoga uses physical poses, postures, and controlled breathing techniques that help to calm the mind, instill feelings of relaxation, and promote patience. Yoga also helps to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression associated with the recovery process.

Meditation: meditation is ideal for promoting relaxation and mental clarity, but it can also be effective for controlling cravings and keeping negative emotions under control.

Equine assisted therapy: equine-assisted therapy involves working with horses in a therapeutic environment to promote emotional growth, boost confidence, improve physical well-being and build feelings of trust.

Acupuncture: acupuncture can be highly effective for treating addiction. Acupuncture has long been used to treat pain and stress, and it also helps to control cravings during the recovery process.

Exercise therapy: exercise is a vital aspect of any addiction treatment program. Abusing drugs or alcohol causes imbalances within the brain and reduces a person’s ability to feel pleasure. Exercise naturally alters the brain’s chemistry, releasing endorphins into the system and producing a natural high that relieves symptoms of stress and anxiety. Exercise also tones and strengthens muscles, which can help boost confidence levels and become a form of positive reinforcement.

Nutrition therapy: it is common for many people recovering from substance addiction to be struggling with various levels of malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies. Nutrition therapy helps people understand how healthy eating plays a vital role in the recovery process. This allows addict to become more in-tune with how their actions affect their overall health.

Alternative treatment programs are recommended for first time rehab patients, as well as those who have undergone treatment in the past. Each addict will have different needs when entering treatment, and their programming should reflect this. Remaining open to a range of therapies can help those in recovery find an individualized program that will yield them the most long-term benefit.


  1. Sokhadze, T. M., Cannon, R. L., & Trudeau, D. L. (2008, March). EEG Biofeedback as a Treatment for Substance Use Disorders: Review, Rating of Efficacy, and Recommendations for Further Research. Retrieved August 30, 2016, from

Last updated on June 21st, 2017 at 05:25 pm

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