What are the Alternative Treatments for Alcohol Addiction?

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Author: Thomas Roth

Last Updated: 12/23/2021

Alcoholism (alcohol abuse disorder) is a condition that develops when someone becomes dependent on alcohol. A dependence on alcohol causes symptoms of withdrawal when alcohol isn't in the body and creates strong urges to drink alcohol. When someone suffers from alcoholism their chances of developing other health conditions like heart attacks, liver diseases, cancers, and strokes increase.

While alcoholism is a dangerous condition it can be treated. There are traditional treatment modalities like therapy, Inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, and medically-assisted (MAT) detox. That said, some non-traditional treatment methods are also effective. These methods include: 

  • Yoga

  • Acupuncture 

  • Meditation 

  • Herbs

  • Kudzu Extract 

  • Ashwagandha 

  • Milk Thistle 

  • Light Therapy 

  • Nutritional Counseling 

1. Yoga 

Exercise is great for handling alcoholism because it causes the body to release endorphins. These endorphins make people happy, which reduces the need to drink alcohol. Exercise also gives people more energy, which makes them less likely to drink alcohol. When you combine exercise with a good alcoholism treatment plan, the results are much better.

One exercise that's great for alcoholism treatment is yoga. Yoga is a broad term for many activities that can be physical, mental, and even spiritual. Many movements in yoga focus on connecting the mind and body and it's known for having a calming effect on people. Yoga can boost mood and improve mental efficiency, which is what many individuals need to quit alcohol.

2. Acupuncture 

Acupuncture is a medical technique that originated in China. It's a traditional medical practice that uses needles to target pain points and stress areas on the body. These needles are thin and they're inserted into the skin to puncture points around the body, hence the name. Acupuncture is painful at first but once patients get used to it acupuncture is an effective form of medicine.

Acupuncture helps with alcoholism because it can treat co-occurring disorders that lead to alcoholism. It's used to relieve stress and negative energy, which are things that drive people towards alcoholism. While it won't cure alcoholism on its own, it can also help people manage symptoms of withdrawal and control urges. Acupuncture treatments can be done as often as you like and you can stop them whenever you feel ready.

3. Meditation 

Meditation focuses on focusing on the mind and body. Meditation helps many mental health conditions because it gives your body and mind time to relax in a peaceful environment. While there are many ways to meditate, any form of Meditation can help you cut back on alcohol consumption or help you quit alcohol altogether.

Meditation works because you can have a conversation with yourself without having any mental static in the background. This helps you reason with yourself, form new ideas, and get motivated. That said, meditation is hard and takes practice, so don't be discouraged if you don't get in the zone the first time. For treating alcoholism, you should practice meditation daily and continue doing so after you're no longer addicted to alcohol.

4. Herbs 

Many herbs can be used for alcoholism treatment. Depending on the herb you use, the effect it has on alcohol addiction will vary. For example, milk thistle is a strong herb that has the antioxidant silymarin, which is known for healing the liver. While milk Thistle is an effective herb, some herbs are less effective. For example, you wouldn't rub garlic on yourself to quit drinking.

Still, using herbs is a great way to reduce the urge to drink alcohol. Eating certain herbs or burning some herbs can cause feelings of euphoria and calmness. These feelings can help you reduce alcohol consumption by reducing your urge to consume alcohol.

5. Kudzu Extract 

Kudzu is a Chinese herb that's being used to treat alcoholism. The herb has several properties that make it effective for treating alcoholism. First and foremost, the herb has puerarin. Puerarin is an isoflavone found in Kudzu that makes people want to drink less alcohol. While research is limited on Kudzu's usefulness for alcoholism, several clinical trials have shown signs of early success.

Kudzu extract can help people with alcoholism because it can reduce the urge to drink more alcohol. While it doesn't stop people from drinking, it makes people drink less. Drinking less alcohol can help many organs like the liver, kidneys, stomach, and intestines. Kudzu also has other properties that help regulate mood but more research is needed to confirm if it can treat alcoholism.

6. Ashwagandha 

Ashwagandha is a hallucinogenic herb that's found in the Southern Hemisphere. The herb has been around for thousands of years and humans have used the plant to hallucinate for centuries. Ashwagandha has many hallucinogenic properties and it's potent. This is why it's not legal to obtain in the United States and is hard to find across the world.

Ashwagandha is used for alcoholism treatment during the withdrawal period. Alcohol withdrawal can cause seizures, which can lead to shaking, vomiting, and death. Some studies have shown that ashwagandha can help manage the paranoia and anxiety that comes from alcohol withdrawal. That said, it has a high rate of abuse, so it's important to not get addicted to the high effects that ashwagandha has.

7. Milk Thistle 

Milk thistle is an herb with many qualities and antioxidants. One antioxidant in milk thistle, silymarin, has properties that have been shown to improve liver function. Liver function is something that declines with frequent alcohol consumption because alcohol is processed and broken down in the liver.

While using milk thistle won't help you with the urge to drink or quit drinking, it can help your body heal from alcoholism. Using milk thistle can help you restore liver function and prevent fatty liver disease and liver failure. You should use milk thistle after speaking with your doctor and come up with a plan for when to stop using the herb.

8. Light Therapy 

Light therapy is a type of therapy that's carried out with lights. People who are treated with light therapy are provided with bright, artificial lights during waking hours. The bright lights can help with conditions like insomnia, seasonal depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.

Light therapy is useful for alcoholism treatment because alcoholics typically have a bad sleep cycle and suffer from some type of insomnia. Light therapy can promote healthy sleep, which can cure the co-occurring disorders (like depression) that lead to alcoholism. Studies from notable universities, like Boston University, found that light therapy and addiction medications can be as effective as inpatient treatment programs for people who suffer from alcoholism.

9. Nutritional Counseling 

Nutritional counseling consists of providing patients with a diet and meal plan that makes them more nourished. Studies have shown that alcoholics are less nourished than non-alcoholics, so providing patients with nutritional counseling can help with alcoholism treatment and recovery. This is because having more energy and feeling better makes it easier to say no to drugs and alcohol, especially if they're what's causing problems to begin with.

While nutritional counseling is effective, it shouldn't be the only part of an alcoholism recovery plan. That said, nutritional counseling can be combined with many other natural remedies and make them more effective at treating addiction. Nutritional counseling can also help with eating disorders, which can cause alcoholism.

10. Apps 

In the modern world, many people have smart devices that use online applications (apps). There are many types of apps, each with its own purpose and results. There are some great apps you can use to recover from addiction. One example is Pear reSET. Pear reSET is an FDA-approved medical application that can help someone through the 12-Step program.

Apps help people who suffer from alcoholism by providing them with structure, things to do, and peer support. Some apps will evaluate people with a quiz to see where they're at in the recovery process and make adjustments. Using apps alongside another treatment method is a great way to achieve long-lasting sobriety.

What is the Importance of Alcoholism Treatment?

Getting alcoholism treatment is important because it can save your mind, body, relationships, and extend your life. Alcohol is a toxic substance that wreaks havoc on the body. It damages the brain, stomach, throat, liver, and other organs it comes into contact with. Moreover, being an alcoholic leads to issues with mental health, relationships, general health, and longevity.

Quitting alcohol is not easy but it's worth it. When you quit alcohol you can help your body heal from alcohol abuse and preserve your life. While traditional treatment methods work for most individuals, other people benefit from alternative and natural treatment methods.

How Else can Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms be Eased Naturally?

Natural treatment methods like staying hydrated and exercising are great for easing withdrawal symptoms. While these methods don't focus on therapy or medications, they work for people who haven't had much success with traditional treatment modalities.

Can I do a Natural Detox at Home? 

Yes, you can do a natural detox at home. To perform a natural detox you need to start by not drinking alcohol. We recommend clearing alcohol from your home and making sure friends or family don't bring any if they visit. Once your home is cleared of alcohol you can begin the detox.

Detoxing from alcohol is accomplished by not drinking. Therefore, you don't need to make special foods or drinks. That said, you should focus on eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated. Alcohol withdrawal can be uncomfortable, so it's important to make sure your body has the nutrients it needs. 

Before detoxing at home make sure you consult with your doctor to make sure it's safe for you. If alcohol withdrawl makes you sick seek medical attention.

How Effective are Alternative Treatments for Alcohol Addiction?

Alternative treatments for alcohol addiction are effective for many individuals and some types of treatments can be more effective than traditional alcoholism options. Treatment methods like meditation and yoga can help people by treating co-occurring disorders that lead to alcoholism like depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. Other treatment methods can help ease symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and make the detox process easier.

That said, you should always consult with your doctor before starting alcoholism treatment methods. If you stop drinking suddenly it can lead to withdrawal symptoms that can put you or a loved one in danger. While we recommend trying some of these methods, you also need to experiment and determine which methods work best for you.

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Thomas Roth
Lead Editor

Thomas has been working in the substance abuse industry for over 3 years and he's made it his mission to help those in need. Tom started out by writing content to help people find addiction treatment centers near their location. Once he understood the value in the words he wrote Tom shifted to outreach, editing, and content creation. If nothing else, Tom wants to see those who struggle with Alcohol abuse disorder recover.