Holistic wellness therapies also incorporate traditional and evidence-based alternative therapies. Therefore, they heal the “whole person,” including the mind, body, and soul.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) explains “wellness” as being physically and mentally in good health. Since they are closely linked, an imbalance in one can disrupt the other. In the same turn, caring for one benefits the other.
Holistic recovery is treating addiction and mental health disorders by taking the whole person into account. And, the goal is to treat the mind, body, and soul to promote lasting recovery. A holistic recovery plan improves the physical, emotional, and mental health of individuals.
Holistic recovery includes individual, group, and medication therapies. As well as diet, fitness, art, and a variety of other holistic therapies. Often, meditation and spiritual engagement, along with other holistic wellness therapies, are used in recovery.
Over 30 percent of American adults use holistic remedies. These holistic remedies can treat a variety of illnesses, including mental and behavioral health disorders and addiction. Holistic remedies support a person’s overall wellbeing, which in turn promotes long-term recovery and healing.
In holistic recovery, a treatment plan is broken down into 8-dimensions of wellness. Each dimension has holistic remedies to treat and heal specific parts of individuals. The 8-dimensions of wellness and holistic remedies heal the “whole person” and promote recovery for life.
“Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making self-directed choices toward a healthier and more fulfilling life. It is an evolving dynamic process of change, growth, and achieving one’s fullest potential. It is the conscious and deliberate development of the whole self.”
Emotional wellness focuses on developing skills and strategies to manage stress and maintain healthy relationships. Being emotionally healthy isn’t just being happy. It involves paying attention to thoughts, feelings, moods, and behaviors. Being unhappy in certain situations is normal. And the acceptance that it is normal and healthy is vital to emotional wellness.
Improving one’s emotional health can be difficult if they have substance use or mental health disorders. With the help of a therapist and a variety of holistic remedies, individuals can find balance and emotional wellness. Holistic therapies to promote emotional wellness and recovery include the following.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an effective holistic treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) and eating disorders. DBT is also beneficial in treating a range of mood disorders, including bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression. Through intense therapy sessions, members learn skills and strategies to cope with overwhelming stress and emotions.
DBT is a long-term treatment program. It combines talk therapy and behavioral therapy. DBT focuses on four main areas:
Negative thought patterns and worry can lead to depression and anxiety. Members are encouraged to accept their situation and to be present in the moment. Being mindful keeps a person from focusing on the past and from trying to predict the future.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common holistic treatment. It helps members become aware of negative thoughts and behaviors. With this awareness, members learn how changing negative thoughts to positive ones can change behaviors.
CBT helps treat a variety of issues. Because it allows members to identify and cope with challenges quickly, it is a preferred holistic recovery therapy.
CBT is beneficial in treating:
CBT doesn’t make all the challenges disappear. But, it does give members the power to handle the situation in a healthy way.
Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the deep sadness a person feels when they lose someone or something. Often loss can cause a range of emotions from anger to disbelief, guilt, and extreme sadness. Grief can affect physical health. The effects can make it hard to sleep, eat, or even think normally.
Grief support in holistic recovery can come in many forms. Individual therapy is helpful for the deep pain and guilt that a person is afraid to share. At the same time, group support sessions give individuals insight into how others handle grief. All while giving and receiving support from others.
Motivational interviewing (MI) is holistic talk therapy. The belief is that each person has goodness and value in them. The therapist supports and allows the member to explore their feelings and find motivation. The freedom creates an internal desire to succeed in recovery and promotes healthy changes.
Solution-focused therapy (SFT) is a form of holistic talk therapy. In SFT, the focus is more on the solution than the problem. Members will learn not to focus on the details of the problem but how to fix it.
SFT is based on several assumptions:
Good physical wellness is the foundation of lasting recovery. Individuals suffering from substance use disorder abuse their bodies. So it is vital while in recovery to help their bodies recover. It starts with basic physical needs such as nutrition, healthy sleep patterns, and physical fitness. Members new to recovery need to make their physical wellness a priority. Good physical wellness improves emotional and spiritual health as well.
Physical fitness helps the body become healthier and stronger. But for members in early recovery, physical fitness is even more important. Substance use alters and depletes chemicals in the brain.
When these chemicals are released, they bring feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Exercise also releases these chemicals, which raises moods, restores energy, and increases self-esteem. Exercise helps combat feelings of guilt, anger, and sadness and increases recovery for life.
Spending time outdoors in the sunshine and the warm breeze is beneficial for everyone. But, for those in recovery, it can be a vital aspect of treatment. Staying indoors too much can lead to depression and other mental health issues.
While spending time in nature, it allows a member’s mind, body, and spirit to connect. The peaceful surroundings and sounds of nature help release stress and let go of past issues. Taking a 90-minute walk outside can decrease depression, improve brain function, and increase recovery.
Individuals with SUD often ignore their nutritional needs. The poor diet takes a physical toll on the body. Most members fresh in recovery have forgotten how to have a healthy diet. So a routine of eating healthy foods on a regular bases needs to be developed. Developing a healthy eating routine restores health, produces energy, and encourages recovery.
Almost 50 percent of Americans have some form of “disordered” relationship with food and their body. Disordered eating is an unhealthy relationship with food. When food causes shame and fear, then an unhealthy relationship has begun.
Individuals battling addiction often eat junk food or don’t eat regularly. At the same time, some people with mental health issues may use food to cope with their struggles. Learning the benefits of a healthy relationship with food is vital. Finding joy in cooking and eating mindfully are ways to start building healthy relationships with food.
Spirituality has nothing to do with religion. It can mean different things to different people. Spirituality is about what speaks to you. It is what allows you to find meaning and purpose in life and connect to a higher power.
SUD and mental health disorders can bring isolation, disconnection, and shame. But in recovery, connections and a sense of purpose are vital to recovery for life. Spirituality helps discover a sense of being part of something bigger. It helps people live in the moment and be aware of their impact on others.
It is vital to find a spiritual practice that works. Each person is unique, and so is their spirituality. The following are a few ways to include spirituality in daily life.
Meditation is a holistic treatment for SUD and mental health disorders. When meditation is used in combination with traditional therapies, it can increase lasting recovery. Meditation brings a sense of peace and relaxation through a mind-body connection.
A variety of meditation exercises exist including:
Continuing meditation even after treatment helps secure a life of recovery.
Kundalini yoga is a blend of spiritual and physical practices. It combines movement, dynamic breathing, meditation, and chanting. The goal of Kundalini yoga is to build energy and mindfulness. It does so by releasing blocked energy in the chakras.
Kundalini yoga is an ancient holistic practice. It can help channel powerful energy and transforms a person’s life. Kundalini yoga is the yoga of deep awareness and transformation. It has many benefits for those in recovery from SUD or mental health disorders. Benefits include:
Mindfulness is actively paying attention to the present. It is being mindful of thoughts and feelings without judgment. For those in recovery, mindfulness can be difficult as they have used drugs and alcohol to cover up their thoughts and feelings.
Mindfulness helps in recovery by:
Social and cultural wellness brings a sense of connection and having a support system. It means maintaining healthy relationships and supporting diversity in the community. But, social wellness can only happen through knowledge, acceptance, and understanding.
Peer support is encouragement, advice, and emotional help from someone with the same experiences. Peer support encourages recovery by showing that life gets better, and recovery is possible.
The LGBTQ+ community represents a very diverse group of people. Being a part of and supporting the community allows them to feel heard and accepted in recovery. The LGBTQ+ community is at a higher risk for mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Today more facilities offer specialized programs to fit the needs of the LGBTQ+ community.
Family programs are extremely important in recovery. SUD and mental health issues affect each member of the family. When families meet with a therapist, it is a safe space. Children can express how addiction or mental illness has affected them without fear of punishment. Through talk therapy, education, and support, building a healthy family relationship is vital to recovery.
Building relationships with people are necessary for recovery. Relationships create bonds and companionship to support the recovery journey. Healthy relationships build a safe space to talk about fears and struggles. 12-step programs help strengthen bonds and form support groups to continue the recovery journey.
Environmental wellness is a connection to the environment. The environment can include the home environment and its surroundings. Creating an environment that promotes peace and recovery is vital. Taking up gardening, organizing, and decluttering the house, and recycling are all forms of environmental wellness.
Nature-based therapies, or NBT, is using the healing power of nature. Treatments use interactions with plants and animals. The environment is vital to a person’s overall wellness. It is believed that a lack of outdoor activities can lead to depression and anxiety.
Horticulture therapy is gardening to achieve a specific goal. It helps improve a person’s well-being involvement in plants and related activities. Horticulture therapy helps:
People seem to forget the positives of sunlight. Often we only hear about the negatives like skin cancer and sunburns. But, sunlight can have many benefits, including helping the mind, bones, and more. Sunlight can affect mental and physical health by:
Sunlight therapy is a beneficial holistic remedy for depression and seasonal affective disorder or SAD.
Financial wellness is satisfaction with current and future financial situations. Many people with SUD or mental health disorders may not have the skills needed for financial wellness. So while in treatment, life skills such as financial skills are taught.
The Family and Medical Leave Act or FMLA allows an eligible employee to take unpaid leave for medical issues. However, a person will not receive a paycheck while on FMLA, their job and insurance are secure for six weeks.
Short-term disability is an insurance benefit. It pays a portion of a person’s income for non-job-related injuries. Short-term disability can last up to 26 weeks, which can help stay financially well.
Government assistance is available to help those who cannot afford recovery treatment. There are also government assistance programs to aid those in recovery in getting back on their feet. Programs like housing assistance, food stamps, and work programs are available in all areas.
Life skills include saving, budgeting, and managing a bank account. These are essential skills to pay bills and plan for the future. Without a plan and budget for money, it can be a trigger to buy drugs or alcohol.
Intellectual wellness is not having a high IQ or a college degree. It is personal growth through creativity, an open mind, and learning new skills. Intellectual wellness helps in recovery by keeping the brain active and preventing boredom.
In order for people to understand what they are going through, they must learn the science of addiction. Knowing that addiction is a chronic disease should give hope that help is available. There is a variety of holistic remedies to help ease the symptoms of addiction.
Holistic medication remedies prevent and treat diseases and improve overall health. Improving the mind, body, and spirit can include self-care and changes in diet and lifestyle. Holistic remedies include:
Mainstream medicine may be used to ease physical symptoms. But, holistic medicine empowers members to heal themselves by improving their energy flow.
Life skills therapy teaches a person how to live their life after recovery. Members learn how to:
Addiction and mental health disorders can cause a person to lose these skills. In therapy, members will identify the skills they need. Learning these skills will help members as they take control of their lives.
Many people with SUD or mental health issues lack social skills. Sometimes the lack of social skills is what leads to drug or alcohol use. But, social skills are important when interacting with others in social situations. In holistic recovery, members learn social skills, including:
Coping skills are the tools a person needs to handle the changes in life. The changes can be exciting, boring, or scary. And many of these changes are out of a person’s control. But good coping skills can help in navigating life.
Individuals in recovery have developed poor coping skills. And to heal the “whole person,” a variety of coping skills are needed. Without building the right skills, a person with SUD will run back to drugs and alcohol.
Emotional regulation is how a person reacts to a situation. And sometimes, a person lets their emotions take control of their actions. When emotions take over it can lead to the harmful use of substances. Using a combination of holistic and traditional therapies can help members take control of their feelings. When emotions don’t determine behaviors, those in recovery continue making healthy choices.
Occupational wellness is finding a balance between work and pleasure. This balance promotes health and a sense of satisfaction. A person in recovery may leave treatment without a job. So building the skills needed to find that balance is vital.
Positive reinforcement is crucial in recovery. It encourages members on recovery to continue fighting for a healthy life. Positive reinforcement drives people to be the best at what they do, find a career that makes them happy, and maintain recovery.
Personal boundaries are a person’s “comfort zone.” Healthy boundaries define a person’s self-worth and protect their emotions. Maintaining healthy boundaries encourages positive self-image and recovery.
Suppose individuals in recovery don’t know how to find and behave on a job, their chances of relapse increase. Without a job, bills don’t get paid. And then, stress starts to build. Career readiness training in holistic recovery is vital for life-long recovery. Skills learned in training include:
Having a strong resume is important in getting a job. For individuals that have struggled with SUD for a long time, they may lack job experience. But knowing how to highlight a person’s skills and positive attributes can create a good resume. While in holistic recovery, members learn the skills needed to apply for jobs.
Individuals in recovery have developed negative communication skills. Most of their interactions with others were manipulative and dishonest. But in recovery, members must learn good communication skills. Some useful communication skills are:
At Sana Lake BWC, our goal is Recovery for Life. We help our members achieve recovery through a combination of holistic remedies and traditional therapies. If you or someone you love is battling addiction or mental health disorders, we can help. Contact us today and find out how.