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Replacement Drug Therapy And Holisitic Treatments: Which Is Right For You?

by Caitlin Obara

Drug addiction ravages millions of people across the country and pulls their lives into a terrible tailspin. When addiction becomes severe enough, replacement programs are often necessary to help people quit. However, alternative, holistic methods are often used by many to create an "alternative" and natural treatment method. Which of these approaches should you consider when trying to beat your drug addiction?

Opioid Replacement Therapy

People who are addicted to opioid drugs (such as heroin, opium, or many types of pain killers) often suffer from a wide range of withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea and anxiety, that will make it nearly impossible to quit.

That's why replacement opioid drugs, such as naltrexone, buprenorphine, and the well-known methadone are given out to people who are addicted to opioid substances. They are cleaner and safer substances that can be carefully applied to eliminate withdrawal symptoms and to wean people off opioid addiction.

Treating Alcoholism with Replacement Medicines

Alcoholism requires a slightly different approach when it comes to replacement medicines. People who suffer from this condition need to take medicines, like benzodiazepines and diazepam, to fight off severe withdrawal symptoms, but they also use a wide range of medicines to keep them away from alcohol. These medicines include:

  • Naltrexone: makes it hard to for the body to get pleasure while drinking.
  • Topiramate: soothes the symptoms of cravings and withdrawal.
  • Disulfiram: upsets your stomach when you ingest alcohol, making it impossible to drink excessively.
  • Acamprosate: eliminates cravings for alcohol.

Holistic Drug Rehabilitation Methods

While replacement therapies remain heavily utilized in drug rehabilitation centers, many people are demanding the use of holistic rehabilitation techniques in order to treat their addictions. Many of these treatments are designed to treat the mental, rather than the physical, aspects of addiction. These techniques include:

  • Energy psychology
  • Neurofeedback
  • Psychodrama
  • Reiki
  • Massage therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga

Do these techniques work? It's hard to say, because so little scientific studies have been done on any of them. However, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration endorses them, as long as they aren't used alone, but alongside treatments like replacement therapy.

Promisingly, one study on alcoholism and exercise suggested that regular physical exercise may help stimulate and correct the brain's circadian rhythms, which may help decrease the brain's need for alcohol.

While it appears that there are legitimate benefits to both drug replacement therapy and holistic techniques, you should definitely talk to a drug rehabilitation expert before committing to one or the other. They can help you find the substance abuse treatment option that works for you.