With much of the country focused on the latest Coronavirus developments, you may be wondering if you should postpone or cancel treatment for alcohol or drug addiction until the crisis subsides. According to the CDC, the risks of alcohol poisoning or a drug overdose far outweigh the risk of contracting Coronavirus. Opioid overdoses account for over 100 deaths in America every day, and alcohol remains the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
Alcoholism and Active Duty Military
According to Military.com, a new study on Alcoholism in the Military finds that active duty military personnel drink alcohol more than workers on any other career path. The mental and physical health of our military includes Tricare approved alcohol rehab and a growing number of individuals are receiving the help they deserve.
The statistics are startling. One in 6 boys, and 1 in 4 girls, are sexually abused before the age of 18. As a parent, a survivor of childhood sexual trauma, and a person in long term recovery, I know the importance of trauma therapy during addiction treatment firsthand.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it is estimated that nearly 15 million adolescent children have experienced forced sex. Sexual trauma greatly increases an individual’s risk factor for alcoholism or drug addiction, and setting aside these “official statistics”, I can personally report that every person I was in small group with during my time in treatment, both male and female, vividly reported sexual trauma as a factor.
Healing Sexual Trauma
Top studies, including a 2014 study by Béatrice Perez-Dandieu, a clinical psychiatrist and EMDR expert, show EMDR Therapy as a successful treatment option for addiction. Research has also shown it is extremely effective for addiction with co-occurring disorders, specifically PTSD. But what is EMDR Therapy and how does it work?
After spending a month or more at an addiction recovery facility in an inpatient program, transitioning directly back into your own home can be quite difficult for most people. Normal life doesn’t feel the same anymore, now that you’re no longer using drugs or alcohol. That feeling alone can lead to relapse, but there are other challenges as well, such as facing the same people, places and situations that were once part of your substance abuse lifestyle. Sober living can help.
So, last week I was talking to a gentleman who had some pretty strong opinions about the benefits of equine therapy. His exact words were, “A person whose been doing heroin for two years isn’t going to pet a horse and get cured.”
When I heard this, I thought to myself, “He must not be the only person who views equine therapy in this light.” So, today, I wanted to talk to you about the very real benefits of this type of therapy.
Trauma. Most of us have experienced trauma on some level. Some examples of trauma include:
- A car accident
- Being the victim of verbal or physical abuse
- Being the victim of bullying or exclusion
- Witnessing violence
- Abandonment, neglect
Although experiencing trauma doesn’t automatically lead to alcohol or drug addiction, trauma has been proven to be a major underlying root of addiction. Trauma therapy can help.
Coping with a loved one’s drug or alcohol addiction is a complicated and ongoing process. Many people can manage their addictions if they choose to, however, this is a daunting task and never easy. Often family members have a harder time coping with the events that occur when their favorite addict is slipping. It’s highly advisable to find ways to battle these demons on your own or with others who are experiencing similar pain. Here are a few skills that may help spark some relief while your friend or family is learning to manage.
- AL-anon Meetings
- Speak to Minister, priest or a spiritual guide
- Don’t be Naïve or Overly Trusting
- Educate yourself
- Keep the faith and hope
- Watch your money carefully
- Don’t assume the blame
- Confront manipulating conversations
- Rehab is only the beginning
- Prepare for relapse; it’s part of the journey
Meditation is one of the oldest forms of Eastern medicine that can help you cope with your thoughts and mind activity. When dealing with addicts, it’s important to do what you can to maintain your sanity. Meditation can certainly help with the ongoing struggles of guilt and pain.
Attend support groups like Al-anon, as this is one of your greatest forms of defense. What you’ll find is you’re not alone, and a sponsor can help you stay on course when the addict wants to knock you off.
Speaking to your higher power or someone you trust is another form of combating against the disease of addiction. Don’t hesitate to lean on these people or your spirituality to give you the sanction you need to stay active.
Manipulation lies and cheating is all a part of the cycle. Don’t accept these things, confront the person who is the addict when you know there’s an issue. Don’t trust them with money or your valuables. Unfortunately, the disease will make them do what they must to meet their needs.
Educate yourself as often as you can. There’s always new information out there and by researching, studying and using what you can help you to feel in control of an out of control situation.
Keep your faith and hope. Believe it or not, these people do change and can live a high quality of life. If you give up, they’ll know, which could lead to worse consequences.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a technique that identifies the negative thought patterns that may influence a client’s behavior. These destructive thought patterns play a significant role in the development of an addiction; by breaking the cycle of unhealthy thinking, clients can learn how to replace their old behaviors with new, constructive ones. When used to treat addiction, CBT sessions focus on helping the client develop coping skills to handle cravings and high-risk situations.
Understanding the Benefits
Cognitive behavioral therapy has multiple features that add to its value in addiction treatment. A few key benefits of this technique include:
- Evidence of effectiveness: Whether it’s used alone or in conjunction with other treatment techniques, CBT has a solid record of clinical data to prove its value.
- Short term: Compared with other forms of therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy is a fairly short-term treatment technique. Most clients complete CBT within 12 to 16 weeks.
- Flexibility: Cognitive behavioral therapy can be used on a broad variety of patients, and it is equally effective in both inpatient and outpatient settings. It also lends itself well to both individual and group sessions.
- Collaborative approach: A CBT therapist doesn’t tell the client what to do. A therapy session is a collaboration between the therapist and the client where the therapist learns what the client wants to change and then helps them accomplish their goals.
- Compatibility: CBT works well in conjunction with many other forms of therapy, including pharmacological treatment, 12-step programs, family therapy and more.
Limitations and Drawbacks
While cognitive behavioral therapy has many benefits when it’s used as part of an addiction treatment plan, a few limitations of the technique need to be considered. CBT works best on a motivated client; it’s not as effective for overcoming the ambivalence that many addicted individuals feel regarding treatment.
This form of therapy can also backfire in certain cases. Some clients mistakenly conclude that bad things have happened to them because they’ve had bad feelings and thoughts. In other cases, clients with anxiety may become more anxious when they begin to focus intently on their thoughts.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can play an important role in your addiction treatment plan. Combined with other forms of therapy and support, CBT can help you break the cycle of unhealthy thoughts that fuel addictive behaviors. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, help is available.
What is Holistic Addiction Therapy?
Holistic therapy for treating people with drug addiction focuses on treating the entire individual. Rather than simply treating the symptoms of addiction, holistic therapies focus on treating body, mind and soul using a range of natural treatments. The right combination of holistic therapies can be highly effective for treating a person suffering from addiction.
Holistic addiction therapies are designed to work in conjunction with traditional treatments to improve the recovery rate for people in treatment. The National Institute on Drug Abuse lists holistic treatments as being one of the most effective principles of treatment.
How Holistic Therapy Differs from Other Types of Therapy
Traditional therapy focuses strongly on treating the symptoms of addiction. The entire focal point of treatment is centered on the drug or alcohol addiction.
By comparison, holistic addiction therapy treats the entire person, encompassing all aspects of the person’s life. It’s common for many people to lose touch with obligations, responsibilities and commitments while they’re in the grip of a drug addiction.
As a result, effective treatment needs to include teaching the recovering person effective ways to live a productive, happy life without the need for drugs.
What Does Holistic Therapy Achieve?
Along with ensuring any medical and psychological treatments are well-received, integrating holistic therapies can incorporate a range of actions and practices that can make a big difference to a person’s recovery, including:
- Healthy stress management techniques
- Work issues and responsibilities
- Vocational training and job skills
- Improved family care and responsibilities
- Address legal problems
- Money management
- Good self-care practices
- Personal hygiene and grooming
- Good sleeping habits
- Healthy eating habits
- Engagement with social and peer support networks
- Spiritual guidance and growth
Benefits of Holistic Addiction Therapy
A person suffering from addiction has experienced significant changes to the way their brain’s chemistry works while they were under the influence of drugs. In order to achieve a successful recovery, it’s important that the recovering person learns effective new ways to cope with the everyday stresses and challenges of life without giving in to the temptation to relapse back to a pattern of drug use.
Learning to effectively manage stress using relaxation and meditation techniques can be extremely helpful for reducing symptoms of anxiety that can often be problematic for people in recovery. Regular physical activity and exercise have proven to be highly effective for helping the body to generate serotonin and endorphins that boost mood and relieve stress.
Recent studies conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health also indicated that yoga is particularly helpful for relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as helping to reduce heart rate and blood pressure. Therapeutic massage can also be a valuable part of the holistic recovery process for many people.
Evidence-based therapies are ideal for helping a person overcome a struggle with addiction. However, integrating a combination of holistic therapies into the overall treatment plan can reduce the risk of relapse while also improving physical and emotional health. By creating a healthy body and mind it’s possible to achieve a successful recovery from addiction.