Alternative Addiction Therapy and Treatment, in recent years, have led to addiction rehabilitation programs that incorporate alternative therapies to heal addicts and help them develop long-term sobriety. Some programs still incorporate the 12 Step Program while others use alternative programs to address the underlying causes of addiction without the 12 Step Plan. Alternative addiction rehabilitation programs incorporate the physiological and psychological approaches to treating addicts. As a result, six-month sobriety rates ranged as high as 85%.
Comprehensive holistic programs for addiction include such therapies as:
- nutritional counseling
- vitamin therapy (IV and oral)
- exercise programs.
Many of these programs are based on the thought that chemical messengers in the brain do not function properly. Some researchers believe that this begins in childhood and leaves individuals in a chronic imbalance that leads to drugs and alcohol use as a means of self-medicating to obtain normalcy.
In the late 1980’s, the Reward Deficiency syndrome theory came into play. Texas researcher Kenneth Blum theorized that in most people, things like good food, or a funny movie elicited a release of feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain. Some people are born without the ability to produce these chemicals or there’s a “kink” in the line that delivers the chemicals. Hence, the reward is hindered and pleasure muted or absent.
Alternative Program patients also complete a psychological survey to determine missing brain chemicals. They then receive a customized cocktail of nutrients and amino acids—the building blocks for neurotransmitters—through an IV tube for six to 10 days.
This is done because drugs and alcohol damage the intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients. This also helps alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
Vitamin therapy includes such nutrients as:
- Vitamin C
- amino acids
Symptoms of withdrawal may include;
- fuzzy thinking
Withdrawal symptoms may occur before and after six days of IV and oral nutrition therapy but the 15 symptoms were greatly reduced and patients are able to stick with the psychosocial counseling that follows.
Addicts who prefer sedatives or alcohol lack the calming neurotransmitter GABA, so they are given its amino acid precursor. Someone who uses drugs like cocaine would get amino acids that stimulate excitatory activity in the brain. Prolonged drug use can alter brain wave activity and cause mental sluggishness or agitation depending on the substance abused.
Acupuncture has been found to relieve pain effectively making it ideal for weaning patients from prescription pain medicines. It can also be used to treat chronic health problems resulting from years of drug and/or alcohol abuse.
Five needles placed in ear points are said to regulate the nervous system, cerebral cortex, respiratory system, liver, and kidneys.
Research has produced mixed results, but some studies have shown this method of ear acupuncture can control withdrawal symptoms in hard-to-treat heroin and cocaine addicts and an added benefit is that it helps people stick with a treatment program due to this.
Once healing has begun, stress management is a critical factor in continued progress. Alternative clinics offer:
- mandate a regular exercise program.
- brainwave, or EEG
- a computer-assisted relaxation technique
The notion that faulty brain chemistry plays a role in setting people up for addiction plays a role in alternative healing.