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Why Complementary Treatments Are Necessary for Success in Recovery

It’s no secret that recovery can be difficult. Each person comes with their own unique set of needs, goals, desires, and diagnoses. As a result, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. Even though substance use disorder (SUD) may not be curable, it can be managed healthily. For this reason, treatment is essential. Customized treatment plans that include complementary treatment approaches and integrate whole-person health can foster greater symptom management and lasting recovery success. Before we discuss the elements that make complementary treatments so vital in recovery, we first need to understand what complementary treatments are and how they can help.

What Are Complementary Treatments?

Complementary treatments are treatments used in tandem with evidence-based treatments. Using complementary treatments along with traditional treatments often promotes a more holistic approach. As a result, patients are more likely to heal healthily as they learn how to recover.

It is common for clinicians to use evidence-based treatments for patients who are healing from both SUD and addiction. Evidence-based treatments typically include several variants of psychotherapy, such as:

Once the clinician decides which technique(s) will be most appropriate for the client’s needs, they may customize the treatment plan with complementary treatments.

Moreover, the National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health (NCCIH) explains:

Complementary approaches can be classified by their primary therapeutic input (how the therapy is taken in or delivered), which may be:

  • Nutritional (special diets, dietary supplements, herbs, and probiotics)
  • Psychological (mindfulness)
  • Physical (massage, spinal manipulation)
  • Combinations such as psychological and physical (e.g., yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, dance or art therapies) or psychological and nutritional (e.g., mindful eating)

Treatment types and combinations will vary based on each patient’s needs and the clinician’s expertise. Each person is different and, as a result, treatment can vary greatly from person to person.

How Complementary Treatments Aid in Healing

Complementary health encompasses nutritional, psychological, and physical therapeutic inputs. This is known as whole-person health. The NCCIH explains, “Whole person health involves looking at the whole person—not just separate organs or body systems—and considering multiple factors that promote either health or disease.” Whole-person health and complementary treatments work well together because they promote full-body healing: the mind, body, and spirit in tandem. Since the body works as a system, it is vital to address all unhealthy areas before it can heal fully.

This is especially true when healing from SUD or addiction. Substance use is typically a symptom of something deeper, like a mental health disorder. People often use substances to numb psychological or physical pain, so if the root issue remains unresolved, substance use will likely continue. This is where complementary treatments can help.

Identifying co-occurring disorders that could influence substance use is vital in the recovery process. Once identified, clinicians can create a customized treatment plan that will be effective for the patient’s unique needs. This can sometimes be tricky, as getting to the root of complicated and layered disorders requires patience and expertise. However, with the proper care and support, healing is possible.

How Sage Recovery Can Help

Here at Sage Recovery, we believe there are multiple pathways to healing. As a result, we are dedicated to making sure each patient gets a customized treatment plan that will effectively help them heal healthily. Our Master’s level clinicians are experts in evidence-based treatments, as well as techniques that can be used to complement traditional techniques. These approaches can include:

Important Notes About Recovery

While there are endless approaches that can help someone heal from SUD or addiction, it’s important to note that recovery is a lifelong journey. Just as substance use habits build up over time, healing doesn’t happen overnight. Recovery requires desire, effort, and resilience, but healing healthily is worth it. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains, “Like other chronic diseases such as heart disease or asthma, treatment for drug addiction usually isn’t a cure. But addiction can be managed successfully.”

A large part of treatment involves supplying patients with the tools that they need to effectively prevent relapse throughout recovery. NIDA further details that, “When a person recovering from an addiction relapses, it indicates that the person needs to speak with their doctor to resume treatment, modify it, or try another treatment.” Relapse doesn’t mean that treatment is ineffective or that the person in recovery is a failure. While it can be part of the recovery process for some, it is not something that should be taken lightly.

Relapse can be very dangerous. If you or someone you know is exhibiting concerning habits with substances or if you think they may be in danger, please contact emergency services immediately.

Knowing which type of treatments will be effective for you can take time. Figuring out different techniques that work best for your body and your story takes expertise, patience, and experience. That’s where we come in! Here at Sage Recovery, our master’s level clinicians are experts in their fields and are here to help people heal. Our clinicians are extensively trained in multiple therapeutic approaches so that they can offer a customized treatment plan based on your specific needs and goals. All of our staff members are trained to provide trauma-informed care, so you can rest easy knowing you will always be treated with dignity and respect as you heal. Reach out to us at (512) 306-1394 to learn more.