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Alternative Addiction Treatments in Ohio


Addiction to drugs and alcohol is a growing problem across the country, and the National Institute on Drug abuse (NIDA) estimates the overall costs of alcohol abuse and illicit drug use are $224 billion and $193 billion respectively. In Ohio, heroin use is increasing, and in Cincinnati alone, 54 heroin overdose deaths were reported with 70 more deaths caused by a combination of heroin and other drugs. Prescription drugs are widely abused, and drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines are widespread. A wide range of traditional and alternative treatment options are available in Ohio to meet this pressing demand.

The Role of Alternative Treatment Options

Traditional treatments for addiction typically begin with a medical detox to rid the body of the abused substance. This is then followed by a residential period in rehab if the addiction is severe, or partial hospitalization or outpatient treatment if the addiction is moderate or mild. During this stabilization period, the recovering addict begins to learn how to cope with life without resorting to addiction. It is during this period that alternative treatment options come into play.

Alternative treatments are offered alongside more traditional treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and group/individual counseling or psychotherapy. They do not replace the traditional treatments, but they are effective additions. Similar to everyone else, recovering addicts are individuals, and therefore they respond to treatments differently. Some people are helped by a group therapy session, for example, while others become shy and passive in groups and respond better to individual therapy. Alternative treatments give the therapists and addiction specialists even more options to explore.

Types of Alternative Treatment

Alternative modes of treatment aim to stimulate different aspects of a recovering addict’s personality. Art therapy, for example, encourages patients to express themselves in art. Music therapy also encourages creativity in a mindful, relaxing, and completely absorbing way that can reduce cravings, calm anxiety, and raise self-esteem. No special talent is required to take part in either art or music therapy.

Another type of alternative therapy offered by treatment centers in Ohio is biofeedback. In this alternative treatment, the patient is attached to an electroencephalography (EEG) device that records their brain activity. Information is fed back to the patient, who can then learn how their actions or thoughts can change the activity in their brain. Alcohol recovery programs incorporating biofeedback report relapse rates drop to as low as 25 percent from the 75 percent found in other rehabs.

Restorative yoga is another alternative that is widely available in Ohio addiction treatment programs. Restorative yoga aims to return the patient’s body and mind back to health through the calming practice of achieving a set of poses. The practice takes the recovering addict’s mind away from cravings and gives them a sense of achievement that lifts their self-esteem. Concentrating on breathing and fine control of body movements gives participants a greater self-awareness and feeling of being in control, which reduces their anxiety and fear.

Animals have a calming effect, and help people to develop greater self-respect and become less inward-looking. Being around animals tends to improve a person’s mood and reduces their stress levels. A rapid growing form of alternative addiction treatment program in Ohio, is equine therapy, in which the recovering addict works with a horse. This type of therapy is tailored for each individual patient and horse, and the two work together daily. The same horse is used each day, and activities may include grooming and exercising the horse and tending to its other needs.

Caring for the horse gives the patient a focus outside themselves, and encourages them to accept responsibility and keep to the required schedule. Gaining the horse’s trust helps to boosts the patient’s confidence and improves their sense of self-worth. The horse provides feedback to the patient, who quickly learns what actions and feelings produce a negative response and which result in a positive response. This knowledge can prove useful in interpersonal relationships as well. When a trusting relationship has developed, the horse will give the patient something they may not have experienced before, which is unconditional love.

Alternative therapy programs can help strengthen the part of the individual that is weak and that might have contributed to their addiction. It also provides the alcoholic with additional tools to help them during their recovery. For more information about the benefits of alternative treatment, pick up the phone and call an addiction specialist today.