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Alternative Treatment


Research on addiction treatment has found that no one type of treatment will be effective for all individuals. Keeping the unique needs of the patient in mind can help them to succeed in overcoming their dependence and can provide the right tools for maintaining their recovery in the future. Some people find talk therapy unhelpful, so alternative treatment options have been developed to assist these patients in understanding their motives for substance use and in helping them develop the skills they need to sustain abstinence as they return to normal life.


What Is Alternative Treatment for Addiction?

Conventional addiction programs use talk therapy to help patients understand the forces behind the thinking and behavior involved in substance abuse. However, other methods of self-exploration and self-analysis can be used to achieve the same goals. For those who find talk therapy unhelpful, alternative modalities, such as art, music, restorative yoga, and other methods can be utilized.


How Does Alternative Treatment Assist Recovery from Addiction?

Therapies that address the specific needs of patients with chemical dependency problems can be used to increase physical awareness, relieve stress, enhance self-understanding and improve interactions with others. These therapies can be as effective as conventional therapy in helping patients to deal with the aftereffects of addiction as they begin to rebuild their lives within a healthier and happier framework.


Art Therapy

The use of painting, sculpture, collage, and other media can help patients explore their inner thoughts and feelings to help them understand the causes of substance abuse and what they need to overcome addictive behavior and live more effective lives.


Music Therapy

Music has always been used for its calming effects, and this ability can be used to help patients deal with intense cravings that occur during treatment and after the treatment process has ended. A study cited by the National Library of Medicine found that even simple musical efforts, such as participating in a drum circle, can help patients’ ability to interact with others, while the repeated rhythms help to relieve stress.


Equine Therapy

Animals have the ability to sense human emotions that lie beneath the surface in a way that transcends speech or superficial actions. Equine therapy uses this special ability in horses to help patients increase their honesty with themselves and with others by interacting with these unique animals.


Restorative Yoga

One of the unfortunate effects of addiction is that individuals often lose touch with their physical bodies and sensations. Restorative yoga can help increase physical awareness, as well as produce a mental state of tranquility and peace.



The ancient Chinese healing art of acupuncture can be used to reduce the discomfort of ongoing cravings and provide a feeling of calm. This practice can be continued after a treatment program has ended and the person re-enters normal life.


Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic manipulation and other care can relieve pressure on nerves and muscles to help patients enjoy better physical comfort and reduce stress. Regular chiropractic care can then be used to deal with cravings.



Biofeedback is a technique that uses technology to monitor physical reactions, so that patients can learn to actively engage in self-calming strategies that will help them manage tension and deal with cravings when they return to everyday life.


Principles of Effective Treatment for Addiction

The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that no treatment is appropriate for all individuals dealing with addiction. Treatment options must be flexible and readily available to maximize the benefit to patients. Effective treatment is that which serves multiple needs of the individual, and alternative treatment fits well with this philosophy of individualized treatment that improves various aspects of the person’s life.


If you have a problem with chemical dependence and think alternative treatment may be right for you, contact an addiction specialist today to discuss options to help you regain control over your life.