Television shows like Celebrity Rehab have been publicly making the case for non-traditional types of drug addiction treatment. These include therapies such as psychodrama, adventure therapy and acupuncture. However, the effectiveness of these programs in treating substance abuse and drug addiction has not been conclusively proven – or often studied – and in many cases such “therapies” significantly increase the cost of addiction treatment programs while providing little value to the addict. Considering that addiction can be a fatal disease for some, treatment methods must be evidence-based and extremely effective in order to save a life. Therefore, non-traditional addiction treatments should be understood in order to determine what place – if any – they should have in an individual’s treatment plan for alcoholism or addiction.
Understanding the efficacy of non-traditional addiction treatment methods is difficult because so many of these therapies are new, and most are rather subjective. These types of therapies include: hypnosis, surf therapy, adventure therapy, equine therapy, yoga, acupuncture, massage, art therapy, psychodrama, saunas, and many more. Some are region-specific, such as surf-therapy, and some are more or less reserved for celebrities, like psychodrama. All types of non-traditional therapies are generally thought to aid in the treatment process by reducing stress and building confidence and communication skills. One of these treatments has been found to have some merit, according to a study by the Touch Research Institute;
“Several TRI studies completed in the past five years involve massage and addictions — specifically nicotine, bulimia, and cocaine-exposed newborns. These studies positively document the ability of massage to decrease anxiety, agitation, and cravings as well as improve sleep and lessen feelings of depression.” (1)
Other non-traditional types of addiction treatments work by placing addicts or drug abusers in situations that caters to the specific way they learn. According to the Wikipedia entry for Adventure Therapy;
“The effectiveness of adventure therapy with offenders with drug abuse and addiction issues in mental health treatment is related to the characteristics present in addicted offenders. They need more structure, they work better with an informal, tactile-kinesthetic design…” (2)
In a similar manner, equine therapy permits people to overcome fears of large animals, develop confidence and bonding skills. Art therapy is used to develop communication skills and to cope with issues caused by denial.
However, most non-traditional treatment methods are unproven and are not made a part of some of the most successful drug rehab centers in the country. While these types of treatment do offer relaxation, confidence-building exercises and entertainment, they do not address issues related to addiction directly. Instead, they can only supplement the most effective and successful types of traditional addiction treatment therapies. These include;
Residential Inpatient Treatment Day/Night Treatment Programs
Intensive Outpatient Treatment Behavioral Therapies
Group, Family and Individual Therapies
Post Acute Withdrawal Symptom Management
These treatment methods represent the core of programs that are dedicated to defeating addiction and developing a recovery program that will work for life. In order to find out more, call the number at the top of your screen to speak confidentially with a specialist at one of America’s most successful drug rehab centers now.
(1) Counselor Magazine Massage: Hands Down, A Treatment for Addiction 09/30/2003
(2) Wikipedia Entry on Adventure Therapy