Is an addiction physical or mental? This has long been a debate in the medical and psychological communities, but the reality is that addictions come with both serious physical effects and significant psychological effects.[i] There is no way to separate the two: addicts need help overcoming all aspects of their addiction in order to achieve recovery. Experiential therapy is a holistic approach to addiction recovery, providing a recovery process that shows spectacular and long-lasting results.[ii] What are the benefits of this affordable drug treatment alternative?
How Experiential Therapy Treats the Physical Aspect of Addiction
The first few days of recovery is more about detox than trying to address deeper mental aspects of the addiction. Patients need time to rid their bodies of the alcohol or drugs so that they can approach the recovery process with a clear, open mind and a healthier body. After about 10 days, these difficult symptoms have subsided, and the patient is ready to begin deeper therapies.
During this detox period, patients in an experiential therapy program can look forward to learning new skills and participating in new activities. This is a greater incentive to get through it, than knowing all you face next are endless and boring therapy sessions and lots of playing checkers.
How Experiential Therapy Treats the Psychological Aspects of Addiction
Now that the substances are out of the body, it's time to begin filling all that extra time with something enjoyable and useful. Most addicts are used to spending a considerable amount of time searching for their drugs, scoring drinks, or indulging in their addictions. That time needs to be filled with positive, constructive activities so that the addict doesn't sit around facing their temptations all the time. That's just exhausting.
Experiential therapy fills this time with a variety of activities,[iii] depending on the tastes of the patient. Some patients find their creative sides through music, art, dance, or drama. Others enjoy the catharsis of physical exertion through sports. Many patients learn to overcome their addictions by falling in love with nature and learning to hike, camp, and enjoy the great outdoors. The activities don't just fill their free time -- these activities also help bodies become strong and fit, despite the previous substance abuse.
How Experiential Therapy Treats the Social Aspects of Addiction
Like an addict's time, the addict's social life also suffers from the addiction. This may come in the form of social isolation for the addict who withdraws from the world to pursue their addiction. Others build their entire social circles around friends who share and participate in the addiction. Both kinds of patients need to build new social circles with sober friends who can form the backbone of their important support system.
All of the activities used in experiential therapy involve working with others for a common goal. For example, drama participants can act out past experiences that affected their addiction during role playing games. Music participants can play music, and they can write music together that helps their hearts and minds heal. Playing sports or getting out into the woods for a camping trip are other ways that newly recovering addicts can bond and build solid sober social networks.
How Experiential Therapy Treats the Practical Aspects of Addiction
Experiential therapy also endows the recovering addict with skills that can be used to get a job and become a productive person. Skills like teamwork, writing, the ability to lead others and to follow the lead of others are all crucial in the workplace. Some experiential therapy programs also incorporate job skills training like resume writing, interview skills, and workplace ethics training to further develop these future workers.
With an affordable treatment program designed to meet all of the needs of the recovering addicts, success isn't just possible -- it's probable! Find a program that meets your physical, mental, emotional, social, and other needs, not just one that detoxes you and sends you out the door. After all, your recovery depends on it!
Yellowstone Recovery is an affordable drug and alcohol treatment program that offers the effective, enjoyable, and empowering experiential form of therapy. This therapy uses unique tactics like art, music, drama, camping, sports, and other enjoyable activities to support recovery efforts in a variety of ways. When patients complete Yellowstone's programs, they have a full assortment of mental, physical, social, and job skills to help them live a productive, clean, sober life.