Yoga As A Part Of Holistic Drug Addiction Treatment
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Addiction treatment implements pharmacological and cognitive behavioral therapies that comprise many methods and techniques, aimed to ease the withdrawal process and teach the patient to live without drugs. In individual and group therapy patients have a chance to work on the underlying issues that led to the development of the addiction in the first place and learn healthy responses to triggering situations. At the same time, appropriate medication helps break the chemical hold drugs have on the body.
Although the combination of those two approaches is essential and absolutely necessary, there are other ways to facilitate the recovery and comfort the patient. Drugs have a tendency to make people distant, withdraw from their families and lose interest in hobbies or daily activities that used to be pleasurable. Subsequently, it is important that the patient regains their connections and overall well-being after leaving the treatment facility.
This is where holistic drug addiction treatment comes into play. A holistic recovery center is complementary to traditional treatment and aims to bring the sense of order and inner peace to the patient through various non-medical practices. Holistic therapy focuses on bringing together physical, mental, and spiritual methods to assist the patient in feeling more energetic, motivated, and calm during their fight against substance abuse and addiction, applying a variety of methods to promote a healthier lifestyle. Some of these therapies include the following:
Nutritional therapy: People entering drug or alcohol treatment usually show some level of self-neglect that tends to affect their eating habits. Such patients may have deficiencies in zinc, protein and certain B vitamins, which can affect not only their physical state but mental well-being as well. For instance, zinc deficiency is linked to depression, irritability, and apathy. Nutritional therapy aims to provide patients with a healthy diet and sufficient nutrition to overcome their addiction.
Massage and acupuncture: Often used in holistic treatment to relieve stress and relax the body, massage promotes muscle relaxation, improves blood circulation and strengthens the body’s immune system, while acupuncture can trigger the production of the body’s natural painkillers.
Exercise: Physical exercise triggers the production of endorphin, thus relieving stress and pain, improving mood and boosting energy levels. It also strengthens the body and helps promote self-discipline, allowing patients to clear their minds and gain the feeling of control over their lives and bodies. Activities often include rock-climbing, horseback riding, yoga, swimming, and hiking.
Meditation: A variety of techniques may be used to train attention and perception, achieve a mentally calm state and clarity of mind, reduce stress and anxiety, fight depression and relieve pain.
Yoga: The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word yui, which means “to attach, join.” A practice originating in ancient India that focuses on connecting mind and body to reach inner peace and contentment, yoga allows the practitioner to learn an effective way to reach one’s goals.
Drug withdrawal is associated with high levels of stress and anxiety. It can also inflict physical pain and cause nausea, headaches, and depression. This happens due to the chemical influence that drugs have on the brain, causing it to alter the production of certain neurotransmitters and subsequently adjust its perception of a normal state to fit the new environment created by the external stimulation. Yoga may help manage those symptoms through increasing the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, which acts as a natural tranquilizer that the brain produces when the levels of stress and anxiety get too high.
Recovery from drug abuse and addiction is a long-term goal that requires much effort, especially after a person leaves a rehab facility. Yoga can make it easier to deal with triggers and help reintegrate into society as it helps individuals learn to identify, analyze and observe their feelings in a healthy nonjudgmental way, without attempting to avoid or suppress them. Yoga also promotes self-love and can result in the development of a desire to maintain the pleasant state of well-being, countering the potential craving for drugs and preventing the relapse.
Thanush Poulsen is a Danish columnist who investigates the body-mind-spirit connection.