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You learn that a pill can fix anything. I’ve always had pills just thrown at me.  Like, “Hey you know you got depression? Take this! You got anxiety? Oh here’s Xanax.” A pill can make anything better; at least that’s what you learn.

– Ashton

Addiction is a very serious disease that affects nearly 23 million Americans. That’s approximately one in every ten Americans over the age of 12, roughly equal to the entire population of Texas. For many young people, addiction starts with drugs that are prescribed by a doctor. A minor sports injury may warrant a prescription for a heavy duty opiate, like Percocet. A panic attack can get you a prescription for a benzodiazepine, like Xanax. Can’t focus on your school work? Here’s an Adderall for your trouble. We love a quick fix in this country and pills seem to do just the trick!

The problem with our love of pills is that we tend to forget that there is really no easy, quick fix for a psychological issue like depression or anxiety.  Pills can certainly help of course, and many people have a serious chemical imbalance that can only be corrected with the use of medication. However, medication is not the only answer. Keep reading to learn more about holistic, alternative treatments for drug and alcohol addiction.

Alternative Treatments

1. Meditation and Yoga

          Meditation and yoga can be great stress relievers and can even help to regulate your mood. The reason why is because these activities lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your bloodstream, increase your interleukin levels, enhance your immune system, and provide you with more energy. Meditation also helps you learn how to calm your mind and focus on your specific goals. By retraining your mind you create new neural networks in your brain. For example, if you’re an anxious person, meditation can help you learn how to naturally calm your body and brain.

2. Nutritional Therapy

          People with drug and alcohol addictions are typically malnourished and many have already suffered some damage to the body, including liver damage. A nutritional diet combined with supplements helps to reverse some of the damage done to the body and it can help the body dispose of toxins during the detox process. Helpful supplements include zinc and vitamin C. Alcohol and drug use may also increase the amount of free radicals in the body. Therefore, antioxidants are needed to clear away the free radicals. Antioxidants include beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, zinc, and selenium.

3. Herbal Medicines

          Certain herbs can ease withdrawal symptoms while helping to rid the body of toxins. Herbs like Kudzu root can also help to reduce the urge to consume alcohol. Kudzu has been used by traditional Chinese doctors to help alcoholics manage their appetite for alcohol.

             Catnip, chamomile, peppermint, and skullcap are herbs that all work to influence the nervous system. St. John’s wort can also be useful in managing mild depression. Other herbs like burdock root and Echinacea can help detoxify the body and cleanse the blood.

 Keep in mind that the best addiction treatment centers will employ all of these alternative treatments along with more conventional therapies such as talk therapy or behavioral therapy.