Healthy Living

Battling Withdrawal with Holistic Practices

March 1st, 2017
Woman doing yoga outside at sunset

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40 to 60 percent of those suffering from a substance misuse problem relapse after completing treatment. One reason why: difficulty coping with withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal can be painful and extremely uncomfortable. According to Howard Becker, Ph.D., for alcohol-dependent people, “the fear of withdrawal symptoms may help perpetuate alcohol abuse; moreover, the presence of withdrawal symptoms may contribute to relapse after periods of abstinence.” The same can be said for drug-dependent people.

The severity of withdrawal varies greatly from person to person, depending on how long they have been using as well as the physical and emotional toll that the drug has taken on them.

Common emotional withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Lack of concentration

Common physical withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Racing heart
  • Muscle tension
  • Tremors
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

Withdrawal symptoms lead to higher levels of stress.

How an individual handles the stress can have a tremendous effect on their lives. If a person turns back to their substance of choice to ease symptoms, it can not only lead to relapse but to a vicious negative spiral.

Fortunately, there is a wide range of stress-relieving, holistic therapies that can alleviate both emotional and physical withdrawal discomforts. These therapies specialize in reducing stress and helping an individual develop a balanced mind, body and spirit.

Below is a list of proven holistic therapies and their benefits:

Acupuncture: an Asian medical practice that stimulates certain parts of the body by penetrating the skin with a needle

Improves both the physical and mental state. Reduces muscle aches, anxiety, cravings, and improves focus.

Yoga: a spiritual activity that combines meditation, body positioning, and breathing exercises

Promotes physical health. Improves concentration and peace of mind.

Massage Therapy: a therapeutic manipulation of soft body tissue that consists of applying pressure throughout the body

Eases tension, relieves pressure, and relaxes the mind.

Meditation: a practice in which one spends time in quiet thought, reflecting on a specific topic

Reduces tension and anxiety and improves focus.

Qi Gong: a physical activity combining gentle repetitive exercises and stretches

Improves blood circulation and stimulates the immune system.

Positional Therapy: a muscle energy technique involving stretches and joint manipulation

Reduces chronic pain and realigns the body’s structure.

Sweat Lodge: a group practice in which individuals sweat out toxins in a relaxed, judgement-free atmosphere

Physical detoxification. Aids in overcoming fears and self-doubt, while also developing trust with others.

Forest Bathing: a spiritual activity that involves spending time in and embracing nature

Improves mental health and boosts self-confidence.


Holistic therapies can make a huge difference in recovery. They decrease stress and increase one’s psychological resilience, leading an individual to be more relaxed which studies show help the body heal at a faster rate. By integrating holistic therapies into one’s recovery, a person not only protects the integrity of their recovery but also improves the overall quality of their life.


If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, we are here to help. Reach out to Mountainside by calling 888 833 4676.