Holistic Treatment for Alcoholism: Its Effectiveness

Holistic treatment for alcoholism is very popular. Many people and groups heavily advertise and promote it.


I.   Holistic Treatment

II.  Options for Treatment

III. Alcoholism Treatment

IV.  Resources

V.   Holistic Health Programs

You may have attended Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and found that it didn’t help you. You’re not alone. In fact, most people who attend AA find that it doesn’t help them either. Only about one of every twenty members finds success after one year.

I. Holistic Treatment for Alcoholism

holistic treatment for alcoholismYou might be considering holistic treatment for alcoholism. It attempts to heal the whole person (mind, body and spirit). To do so, it focuses on treating the person rather than the alcoholism. The holistic approach tends to consider drinking a symptom of underlying problems.

Holistic treatment for alcoholism tailors therapies for each client. Some programs may use medications. But the emphasis is on natural healing. Often holistic programs reject AA’s 12 steps or any version of them.

II. Holistic Options

If you attend a holistic retreat, you are likely to find massage therapy, nutritional therapy, acupuncture, meditation and spirituality available. However, holistic programs provide a wide variety of therapies or treatments. You can easily find retreats offering some of the following.


III. Alcoholism & Holistic Treatment

holistic treatment for alcoholismHolistic programs tend to operate in spa-like, luxury facilities. They’re often in beautiful resort areas. It appears that holistic spas offer those therapies that are most in demand. They don’t choose them based on effectiveness. Indeed, of those listed above, only motivational interviewing, has shown effectiveness in helping people achieve sobriety. And motivational interviewing doesn’t require attending any residential facility.

They’re ineffective in helping people achieve sobriety. But equine therapy (interacting with horses), massage, yoga, meditation, music and dance may be enjoyable in and of themselves. However, if you want help with a drinking problem, it’s important to select a program with a meaningful chance of success.

IV. Holistic Treatment for Alcoholism Resources

American Holistic Health Association.

American College of Healthcare Sciences

International College of Integrative Medicine.

Agne, C., & Paolucci, K. A holistic health approach to an alcoholic treatment program. J Drug Ed, 1982, 12(2), 137-144.

Bartha, R., & Davis, T. Holism in the treatment of alcoholism. J Alc Drug Ed, 1982, 28(1), 28-31.

Dell, C., et al. Resiliency and holistic inhalant abuse treatment. J Aborig Health, 2005 (March), 1-12

Ellis, G., & Corum. P. A holistic solution to substance abuse. Alc Treat Q, 1994, 11(3-4), 271-296.

McDonough, R., and Russell, L. Alcoholism in women. A holistic care model. J Ment Health Counsel, 1994, 16(4), 459-474.

McGee, E. A.A. and nursing. Lessons in holism and spiritual care. J Holistic Nurs, 2000, 18(1), 11-26.

Myers, J., et al. The wheel of wellness counseling for wellness. J Coun Devel, 2000, 78(3), 251-266.

Nebelkopf, E. Holistic programs for the drug addict & alcoholic. J Psych Drugs, 1981, 13(3), 345-351.

Priester, E., et al. The frequency of prayer, meditation and
holistic interventions in addictions treatment. Pastoral Psych, 2009, 58(3), 315-322.

Rioux, D. Shamanic healing techniques. Toward holistic addiction counseling. Alc Treat Q, 1996, 14(1), 59-69.

V. Holistic Health Programs

Everglades University.

Metropolitan State University of Denver.

St. Catherine University.

San Francisco State University.

University of Arizona.

University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

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