Do Holistic Therapies Work for Addiction?

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“After posting so many blogs about holistic theories and their effects with addiction, disorders and diseases, its time I took another approach. Do they even work? What is the evidence that proves that they might? Here is an article from Psychology Today that briefly talks about it. The full article can be read by the link below.” -Love, Robyn
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No question about it – holistic therapies are “in” at addiction rehabs, particularly ones at the more elite end of the rehab spectrum. One of the ways that treatment facilities attempt to attend to the whole person and to individualize care is by providing such alternative treatments—sometimes called “complementary” or “integrative” therapies—including acupuncture, energy psychology, equine-assisted therapy, neurofeedback, psychodrama, Reiki, somatic experiencing, and massage therapy. Yet when I investigated scientifically sound approaches for helping people with addictions for my book,Inside Rehab, none of these holistic therapies surfaced.

Do these holistic interventions add to the quality of the rehab experience, increasing the chances of recovery from addiction? Could their benefit be in the user’s head—that is, just a placebo effect? Are they worth the added expense? Or could some of them pose harm?

Where’s the evidence? Some experts said that, in general, there’s no evidence that such holistic approaches are beneficial for addiction, nor that they’ll improve the odds of getting and staying sober, as suggested by a claim at a famous rehab’s website that holistic treatments have “proven” to be highly effective in improving recovery rates and preventing relapse. I asked Yale University psychologist Kathleen Carroll, PhD, whose careeris devoted to studying approaches most likely to help people with substance problems, to take a look at some of the testimonials I’d heard, as well as the “experiential/integrative” offerings of some high-end rehabs. Her reaction was, “There is no evidence base for experiential therapy—no randomized clinical trial, no evidence of help with addictions. It may feel great to get a massage or to let oneself cry, but none of that appears to lead to sustainable change. Although sometimes very important, simple expression of emotion alone has not been shown to be an effective ingredient in improving addictions or mood disorders, such as depression.” She added, “The other problem with these alternative therapies is that the providers are, essentially, making claims about effectiveness of unproved interventions and may be charging an insurance company or using public funds to do things like whack around nerf balls. Finally, time spent in alternative therapies is time not spent providing good quality, evidence-based treatment.”

Source: Psychology Today

Read more here!

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One response »

  1. Pingback: The Power of Imagination | Holistic Recovery from Addiction

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