The American Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that approximately 23 million Americans have an addiction that warrants treatment, but only 2.5 million of them will receive the help that they need.
There are a number of factors that contribute to this alarming statistic. Addiction is a complicated and personal issue leading many not to seek help out of feelings of shame or hopelessness. Conventional treatments can be restrictive, expensive, and bring with them some difficult side effects. For people struggling with addiction or treatment, there are a number of alternative therapies available that can be completed on their own or in combination with traditional treatments, if they are accessible.
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)
Emotional Freedom Techniques are intervention counselling methods that draw from the alternative medicine practices of acupuncture, energy healing, and neuro-linguistic programming. Sometimes referred to as “tapping,” EFT can be done by a professional or self-administered, and it involves tapping the energy meridians and acupuncture points in the body with the finger tips to improve energy flow. EFT has not conclusively shown therapeutic or medicinal value, but patients do report a feeling of relief and control when performing the techniques.
Practice Mindful Activities and Mindfulness-Based Therapies (MBT)
Addiction is often a symptom of an even bigger problem, with people turning to their vices to avoid dealing with painful thoughts or feelings. Practicing mindfulness or performing mindful activities has been proven to help people strengthen their coping skills and learn to stay present in the moment, which is important when dealing with addiction and its underlying causes.
When beginning to incorporate mindful activities into your life, therapists recommend that you find one practice that you like and focus on it for an extended period of time in order to maximize the therapeutic benefit.
Popular choices for mindful activity include meditation; light exercise such as Yoga, Tai Chi, or Pilates; relaxation techniques including deep breathing, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation (PMR); and physical therapies like massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic manipulation.
Hypnotherapy is the practice of altering a person?s unconscious mind using hypnosis. The goal is to achieve a positive behavioural change, such as losing weight or quitting smoking. There are studies showing that hypnotherapy has value as a treatment for addiction, addressing it primarily as a mental health issue. However, people dealing with physical addiction may find that hypnotherapy helps them cope with withdrawals and cravings.
Art and Music Therapy
Art Therapy and Music Therapy are considered experimental branches of pseudo-psychiatry, but they have more than proven their value as a practice among those in recovery, encouraging patients to step outside themselves to create and communicate through difficult issues. Creative therapies have been effective in lowering relapse rates and reducing levels of depression, stress, anxiety, and anger.
If you are struggling with addiction, there are a lot of ways to approach it. Seeking help is a good first step which you can do online or in-person at an addiction rehab centre. Both options connect you with resources and allow you to speak with a professional to find the treatment options?traditional and alternative alike?that will work best for you.