Mental health treatment has come a long way in the past two decades. Practitioners realize there are many effective holistic ways to treat addiction but also many contributing factors which must be addressed prior to releasing a patient from substance abuse treatment with confidence. Some old-fashioned approaches remain and advocates believe these can be effective as well.


There’s no way to avoid this painful part of treatment. Patients checked in for detoxification will be cleansed of the substance brought them there: meth, heroin, cocaine, alcohol, or morphine. Whatever the drug is, it’s a step that must be endured.

Individuals who haven’t been experimenting long can handle a non-medical detox in a controlled setting among other participants prior to entering a rehab program. In serious cases, medical intervention is required. Without medical supervision, the individual could become dehydrated, suicidal, or even homicidal. There is a serious risk of heart failure during the most stressful hours of detoxification unless a medical team is around 24 hours a day to monitor a patient’s situation.

Slow detox is favored by most medicos but a sector of the rehab community promotes fast detox: 12 to 24 hours under sedation.

Modern Treatment

If you have the money to enroll a loved one in residential addiction therapy, numerous facilities around the country and in tropical locations afford clients the chance to explore holistic, naturopathic therapies. They undergo intensive psychotherapy, group therapy sessions, and eat a whole food diet rich in nutrients to support healthy brain function.

These individuals enjoy high-class amenities worthy of any spa hotel such as a fitness center, guided activities, a hot tub, and pool. Gourmet food is designed for the nutrient-deprived individual. Many of these centers promote healing through the use of acupuncture and therapeutic massage.

They encourage participants to take part in equine therapy or swim with dolphins in the right location. These animal-centered therapies force recovering addicts to explore safety issues, boundaries, non-verbal methods of communication, and responsibility. They develop close bonds with their animal friends, learn to trust again, and also find joy in a non-judgmental relationship which has been sorely lacking in their lives.

Gardening and exploring the outdoors is another common theme at holistic treatment centers. Members might be responsible for tending a garden and raising vegetables or flowers. They gain a sense of accomplishment and enjoy tremendous peace between intense therapy sessions.

Most participants in residential therapy suffer from a mental illness like anxiety or depression. Personality disorders, eating disorders and self-harm are some of the many possible, co-existing challenges a substance abuser and his counseling team will be facing.

Old-Fashioned Ways

Some centers can’t afford to spoil their clients between therapy sessions. They are always scrambling to find money to keep their doors open so as to feed, counsel, and protect recovering addicts from temptation and loneliness. Since many of these facilities are churches and church-related centers, there is an element of worship involved in day-to-day healing.

At these centers, the linens are clean and rooms are comfortable but residents share a room in gender-specific quarters (division according to gender is almost universal in any facility). They make their own beds: there is no maid to handle cleaning and housework.

Residents look after the cleanliness of their own rooms on a rotation, help to cook meals, clean dishes, and manage the work of running a place. That might mean replacing panels in fences, painting walls, greasing hinges, or fixing automobiles. The people who come through these doors bring with them a variety of skills, all of which are put to use. Many people even learn new skills which will help them obtain gainful employment when they leave the facility.

Training for the After-Life

Once rehab is over, participants can be seen as “reborn” if treatment is successful and residents truly want to recover. In their new lives they must try to get away from old habits and often their past friends. These former role models encouraged recovering addicts to take drugs or drink too much alcohol. They goaded them into drinking and taking cocaine. Negative attitudes, pressure, and stress resonating through these relationships deter a return to these former lives. How can a participant overcome his past and beat the odds against true recovery?

After rehab, it’s common for residents to enter a half-way house where the communal living arrangement continues but individuals are required to find employment as well. They live away from old influences and encourage one another to succeed. A professional rehabilitation counselor lives in the house with them and gives them tasks, watches their behavior, and gently but firmly confronts them when they make mistakes.

During this time of social quarantine, men or women are seeking new employment in locations where they aren’t surrounded by negativity and substance abuse. New friends and new opportunities become available, sometimes with the help of employers who specifically hire members of the half-way house community as they make their way back into the regular world.

Non-Residential Therapy

Most rehab clients can’t afford residential treatment and might not need it. Doctors might support patients wrestling to overcome addiction to prescription painkillers.

Outpatient clinics are open for daily or weekly individual sessions with recovering substance abusers and also for groups to meet and discuss the challenges that caused them to rely on drugs or alcohol for solace. These groups might meet for many months as a means of providing accountability to clients. They might fall off the wagon during this period of time but are encouraged to get clean again, encouraged by a team of fellow clients who are all seeking the same thing.

These groups are usually secular although religious and spiritual groups also exist in certain communities. Private therapists and counselors also work with clients and their families to overcome addiction issues but these sessions are costly unless covered by some kind of medical insurance.