Monday, June 20, 2016
For decades, medical professionals and therapists alike have struggled to find the cause and the cure for addiction. Scientists have studied it from both a genetic and an environmental perspective. Family and friends have tried everything they can think of. Even addicts themselves have tried one thing after another to try and get relief from the problem. They may try counseling, moving to a different state, punishing themselves, rewarding themselves, checking themselves in to rehabs or going to church. Some people seem to get to a point where they are done and after seeking treatment or making drastic lifestyle changes appear to overcome their addiction. Others struggle throughout their lives, eventually dying without ever getting the help they need.
So how do you overcome addiction? There doesn’t seem to be an easy answer. Some swear by rehab, others by twelve step programs. Still others insist that it is a behavioral problem that can be fixed with rigid self-control or willingness to change.
While willingness to change is certainly a bonus, there are plenty of people out there who are tired of using and who have the willingness to do something different, yet find themselves back to square one again and again. Then there are those who show not a shred of willingness, yet leave rehab free of cravings and somehow achieve long-term recovery.
Some respond well to the twelve step community, others to a structured rehab program. Then there are those who go to rehab after rehab only to relapse and come back again.
Traditional rehab settings use a combination of individual and group therapy, psychoeducational groups, behavioral therapy, a structured, protected setting and a focus on accountability to get results. This does work for some people, but does not work for many more. Many find a combination of rehab and twelve step programs helps them to stay clean and sober.
Addiction treatment has yet to come up with a consistent, proven, effective formula to help those who are addicted. The quality of treatment programs varies widely, and many are not using evidence-based treatments, nor do they offer comprehensive services. There are plenty of good treatment centers, though, that offer evidence-based treatments, quality therapy, comprehensive services, and many that also offer holistic therapies for their clients.
Holistic therapies are simply those that address the “whole” person. This includes physical, mental and emotional health. Holistic medicine isn’t just about treating a symptom, it’s about treating the person, and delving into the root causes of problems. Holistic addiction treatment does the same, with therapies that help the individual on multiple levels. Also, holistic treatments often include alternative therapies, some that are relatively new, and some that have been around for over a thousand years.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine that is used to treat a wide variety of both physical and mental maladies. It may be used to alleviate pain, improve digestion, aid in sleep, fight depression, and more recently, help people who are struggling with addiction or who are in early recovery.
The practice consists of using the acupuncture needles in 3 to 5 spots around the ear. These particular pressure points, when stimulated, are believed to help reduce cravings, improve sleep, and improve kidney and liver function. This can aid the body in the detox process.
While there are plenty of skeptics out there, many people swear by acupuncture for addiction treatment, and more and more rehabs are offering this service. Clients and addiction professionals alike are singing the praises of this time-tested practice, stating that it helps newly recovering addicts feel better during the early phases of recovery. This is pretty big, if you think about it, because it is during this early phase that people tend to be the most vulnerable. They are more likely to leave treatment prematurely and relapse if they can’t get their cravings under control, or if they are overwhelmed with symptoms like insomnia, fatigue and depression. These happen to be common issues in treatment, as the client is often going through post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) theses symptoms can be quite severe, and can interfere with the recovery process.
Other holistic therapies that have been shown to help recovering addicts include yoga, meditation, massage therapy and nutrition therapy.
So, does acupuncture for addiction treatment work? Many think so, and research is looking into the claims that it is an effective treatment. So far, the jury is still out. Again, it may come down to the individual. Some may respond well to this type of treatment, while others won’t. While no one is suggesting that acupuncture be the only line of defense against withdrawal symptoms and cravings, there are those that believe that the recovering addict needs all the help they can get. And, it really can’t hurt.
Personally I can say it made a huge difference in my personal journey into recovery. I found that it helped significantly with anxiety and Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. I also suffered from a lot of stomach pain and insomnia I found relief relatively quickly. I would highly recommend that anyone at least try it once you may be surprised at how much it helps.
Would you try acupuncture? Or have you had experience with it in the past? Do you think that it is a good addition to rehab therapies, or a waste of time?
Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.