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Natural Remedies For Addiction: What Are The Options?

Written by Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD · Pharmacology


Updated Jun 15, 2021

Natural Remedies For Addiction: What Are The Options?

Addiction is an illness that can consume a person’s life. Undoubtedly, acknowledging the problem is the biggest and most important step to recovery. Unfortunately, the road to recovery is not always smooth. The main treatment for addiction is behavioral therapy. There is no magic pill to cure addiction; however, there are medications and natural remedies for addiction that can help.

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

Addiction diagnosis

Firstly, realizing there is a problem is necessary. Friends and family members may call for an intervention, but ultimately it is up to the person with an addiction to get professional help.

Secondly, mental health professionals are responsible for diagnosing addictions. A doctor will need to do a complete medical assessment, which includes both a physical exam and psych evaluation.

Approaches to addiction treatment

Addiction has many underlying causes. There are environmental, genetic, physical, and psychological factors that come into play. This is why someone people can drink alcohol or pain medication in mindful moderation, while others may become dependent.

To get to the root of the problem, doctors and therapists take all these factors into consideration. Each treatment is tailored to the individual—there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The heart of addiction treatment is behavioral therapy. In addition, certain medications may be prescribed to detoxify and reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Examples of these medications include:

It is important to understand that addiction is not an easy condition to treat. Even with the best care and support groups, there is a chance for relapse. As research and studies on the brain and mental health continue, experts are unlocking more secrets for better treatment.

Natural remedies for addiction

The problem with using another substance to combat addiction is the risk of substitution or cross addiction. This is where one addiction replaces or develops alongside the original one. This does not only apply to drugs or alcohol, but also to activities and behaviors. A common example is becoming addicted to eating while trying to quit smoking.

There are natural remedies for addiction that can supplement treatment programs. As a reminder, these remedies should not be used alone to treat addiction. Doing so may cause relapse or undo one’s progress toward recovery.

#1: Exercise

Firstly, exercise is one of the best things anyone can do for their health. With or without addiction, regular exercise can improve blood flow, muscle tone, heart health, and mental health.

natural remedies for addiction

#2: Meditation and prayer

If you are a religious person, taking time to pray can be beneficial for your body and mind. Even if you are not religious, mindful meditating provides the same benefits. Mindful meditation and/or prayer provide calmness and new direction.

It is best to stay in a quite place while reciting prayers/mantras or meditating. Clearly stating and thinking of your intentions lets you focus on positive change and get your mind off of addiction. If you prefer some noise, listen to podcasts or white noise recordings to help set the tone. Group prayer and/or group meditation is also another way your support group can help.

#3: Massage and acupuncture

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a type of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). TCM has been practiced for thousands of years and encompasses more than just herbal medicines. Because TCM is holistic, herbs and concoctions are not given alone to treat illnesses.

Acupuncture and acupressure are practices that focus on pressure points of the body. In TCM, these points correspond to specific body parts and organ systems. Acupuncture uses fine needles on particular pressure points. Only undergo these procedures with a licensed acupuncturist, as improper needle use or placement can cause adverse effects.

An alternative to acupuncture is massage therapy. By relieving tension and stimulating blood flow, massages help relax the body and mind. Massages with essential oils can also relieve more stress and ease anxiety. All of these treatments can assist with addiction recovery.

#4: Herbal medicines and supplements

Having a healthy diet is one way to help your body recover from the effects of addiction. In addition, taking vitamins and herbal supplements can boost your overall health.

Vitamin B is especially helpful for nerve and brain health, and can ease side effects of alcohol intake. Melatonin is also a natural substance that can help with mood and sleep disturbances.

There are studies on the use of herbal medicines to treat addiction. While not approved for use by the FDA, herbs such as St. John’s wort, ginseng, and red sage have shown potential as complements to behavioral therapy. Talk to your doctor before taking any herbal supplements since they might interact with your other medicines or worsen an existing condition.

Finally, remember that not all that’s labeled “natural’ is safe to take.

Benefits of Therapy That You Might Not Know About

#5: Music and art

Studies have shown that certain types of music can alter your mood and improve memory. Because most people have their favorite artists or genres, listening to familiar songs evokes memories and emotions. Music therapy can reduce pain, stimulate the left brain, and ease anxiety.

In addition to listening to music, having creative outlets is another way to take the mind off of addiction. Learning to play an instrument, sing, paint, do photography, or writing are all great ways to relieve stress and redirect your thoughts.

#6: Hypnotherapy

Lastly, hypnosis or hypnotherapy is another alternative treatment. While unconventional and misinterpreted in pop culture references, hypnosis as therapy is more than a gimmicky magic trick. Guided hypnosis under a clinical hypnotherapist induces a trance-like state. While in this state, the therapist can assist their patient focus on certain thoughts.

Additionally, hypnotherapy can be used to treat anxiety, phobias, and sexual dysfunction.

Key takeaways

In conclusions, there are many natural remedies for addiction. As a precaution, these methods should not replace your prescribed therapy; rather, they should be used as a supplement to addiction treatment. Inform your doctor if you are considering any of these natural remedies for addiction.

Learn more about Addiction here. 

Disclaimer

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Written by

Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD

Pharmacology


Updated Jun 15, 2021

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