There’s a lot of terminology in the world of addiction and recovery. You’ll hear things like “dependence,” “sponsor,” and “CBT” often, and naturally you’ll be a little confused. One term that gets tossed around a lot is “holistic” in regards to a style of rehab. The term itself is something you might be accustomed to hearing at yoga or seeing on a product at a health food store. However, it’s a broad term, and its application in addiction recovery is extremely valuable and effective.

Holistic is defined as a style of philosophy characterized by the idea that the parts of something are inextricably linked, and intrinsically a part of the whole. What this means is that something is the sum of all of its parts, and can’t be defined by its parts individually. In regards to addiction this means that treating just one part of addiction, whether it be the physical, mental, or spiritual element, won’t fix anything. Instead, holistic treatment aims to work with every aspect of addiction to treat it in its entirety. In doing so, they aim to prevent the addiction from ever returning.


The physical element of recovery is simple. Often, addiction can damage our bodies in unexpected and serious ways. The side effects of some drugs can cause long lasting damage, which can’t be fixed with a simple treatment. For this reason, holistic treatment prioritizes simple yet effective treatments designed to slowly rebuild the body from the damage of addiction. Activities like running, hiking, kayaking, and yoga are all things you’ll probably experience in a holistic rehab. Activities like these are designed to release endorphins in the brain, which has trouble doing so after addiction. Simple activities can help get your mind and body back in perfect shape after addiction.


In addition to the physical tole, addiction can take a serious mental tole as well. Addiction changes how the brain works, and it can shatter our thought process and how we perceive the world around us. Addiction makes our brain crave nothing besides drugs, and once you’re in recovery, it can be difficult to get back to normal patterns of thought. This is where the mental side of holistic recovery comes into play. Holistic rehabs specialize in behavioral therapy, and can reverse the mental damage done by addiction completely.


The final element that holistic rehab aims to treat is the spiritual side of addiction. Addiction can fracture our confidence and self worth, and can often put us on a path of self-sabotage and destruction. To combat this, holistic rehabs employ meditation and different styles of therapy not normally utilized in rehab, including art therapy and light therapy. This may be the most difficult aspect of addiction to work with, but when done correctly, it can have a clear and profound impact on the recovery experience.

While each of these aspects requires treatment, its rare for them all to be treated simultaneously. This is what makes holistic rehab so effective and so special. Holistic rehab can make a big difference in your recovery by attacking the problem at every angle. When every part of addiction is treated, it’s far less likely to ever return. Holistic might be a strange word, but it represents some of the most prolific and effective treatment available for addiction.

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