Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing


Alternative Substance Abuse Recovery Methods

Guest Blogger: Jenn Pedde

Substance abuse is a severe problem. It can take many forms and can be devastating to individuals, their friends and their family. It affects millions of people worldwide. From dire cases of hard drug use to college-age binge drinking, substance abuse is a serious concern at any and every level.

No addiction should be taken lightly; each is a complex and unique problem that must be dealt with according to the specific needs of the individual. For many, the first step to overcoming a substance addiction is a treatment program. No particular treatment will work in every case, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, so you need not despair if one treatment works for some but not for you. Oftentimes, these treatments focus on mollifying the effects of withdrawal, perhaps the most distressful part (both physically and mentally) of battling addiction.

The search for the correct course of treatment can be a long and frustrating journey, but it is not one you should give up on. To help you with your search, here are some alternative approaches to beating addiction that may turn out to be right for you:


Acupuncture is a non-invasive procedure that involves puncturing the skin with thin needles. These needles stimulate the nerves that are located directly beneath the outer layer of skin. Although acupuncture only became a prevalent part of Western medicine in the late 20th century, the methodology has been employed for millennia. Acupuncture therapy has been shown to lessen the effects of withdrawal for certain drug and alcohol abusers. Although acupuncture is not FDA approved (solely because it is a form of alternative medicine), it may be the key to helping you in the enduring struggle against your addiction.

Herbal Remedies

Having an addiction means that your body is dependent on a substance on both physical and psychological levels. Herbal remedies have shown the potential to treat the effects of addiction on both of these levels. These remedies have grown increasingly popular because of their natural, organic nature. Treating your addiction with herbal remedies is a way to reconnect your body with the healthy aspects of the world around you. Naturally occurring herbs and substances that can be used to treat addiction include Vitamin B Complex 50, flax seed, niacin, GABA, calcium, magnesium, and amino acid mix. More and more patients have discovered the merits of herbal remedies for their medical condition; maybe it’s time you give it a try.


There are alternative medicinal practices that exist outside the sphere of popular Western medicine which have shown the ability to help those who have had problems with mainstream treatment. One of those methods is a product of India called Ayurveda, which uses mainly Indian herbs to treat symptoms of withdrawal as well as prevent destructive cravings by cleansing the body of harmful substances. Ayurvedic medicine is considered to be “holistic” in that it aims to balance mind, body, and spirit. To give you an idea of how effective and popular this treatment is in another part of the world, nearly 3,000 hospitals in India offer Ayurveda as a mode of treatment for their patients. If you have exhausted the methods that your local healthcare providers can offer, then maybe it is time try the alternative in India’s Ayurveda.

Group Therapy

An addiction is an extremely individualistic challenge. As expressed above, no treatment will work for everyone, and no addiction affects two people in precisely the same way. By dint of this highly personalized experience, many people with addictions feel that it is a personal fight, one to be fought alone and without the support of others like you. This is not the case. Group therapy, a technique that brings together people with addictions during their ongoing battles, has shown to be an extremely effective and supportive way to battle against an addiction. Group therapy sessions (which are generally free of charge) allow you to encounter people who have been experiencing similar obstacles in their lives. Interacting with them can give you invaluable insight into what worked and what didn’t work for them and why. It also allows you to create a support team who ultimately want for you what they also want for themselves. In turn, you will also learn how to support other people, and that will teach you a great deal about yourself and how you will be able to conquer your addiction.

About the Author

Jenn Pedde is the community manager for the Masters of Social Work Online program at the University of Southern California in the Virtual Academic Center, which helps prepare students for a career in social work. She’s an avid traveler and enjoys photography

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