Is Rehab the Only Way: Drug Rehab Alternatives for Addicts

Is Rehab the Only Way: Drug Rehab Alternatives for Addicts. Fighting an addiction to drugs is challenging, but rehabilitation is not always the best solution. When a rehab program has failed, it might be necessary to look for alternative solutions to reach for recovery. Alternative solutions are available to help give up the drugs.

Support Groupsdrug rehabilitation alternatives

Although many rehab programs will provide group therapy, it is not always enough to connect and get real help. A support group or a buddy system can help in many situations because it provides the opportunity to talk about the problems that are leading to addiction.

A buddy system is a type of support group that connects two or three people to provide immediate support outside the counseling program and has the entire group during meetings and counseling sessions. By having someone available to ask advice, call when the temptation to abuse drugs is hard to fight or simply discuss concerns on a one-on-one basis, it is easier to keep fighting the drugs.

The best support groups will depend on personal challenges and the drug that was abused. Although a basic support group for the substance might be appropriate, some individuals might need to look into the cause of addiction to find the right type of support. For example, if trauma is the primary cause of addiction, then the best support group might actually be a trauma group rather than an addiction group. Treating the cause of addiction is as important as fighting the drugs.

Replace Drugs With Alternative Coping Strategies

Substance abuse is often related to stress, emotional trauma, mental health conditions or other challenges in life. Abusing drugs as a way to escape from problems or cope with stress is not a healthy option. Instead of turning to drugs when unexpected events arise or stress levels become hard to manage, it is better to seek an alternative coping strategy.

The best coping strategy for the situation will depend on several factors, such as personal interests. A few options to help fight cravings or substance abuse that is related to stress or emotions include:

  • Reading a good book
  • Watching a favorite movie
  • Watching a favorite sport
  • Going window shopping
  • Calling a close friend
  • Going for a walk with a friend
  • Enjoying a hot tub
  • Walking along a beach
  • Spending time working on a favorite craft
  • Enjoying a personal hobby

The best coping strategy to fight cravings for a substance that arise during stressful or challenging situations will depend on several factors. By consistently turning to a hobby or special interest instead of drugs, it is possible to reprogram the mind about the best way to cope with unexpected events.

In many cases, it will take several months to completely reprogram the mind to accept an alternative coping strategy. Since it takes time to replace coping strategies, it is important to try different options to see the strategies that work best on a personal level.

Identify the Trouble Spots

Addiction to a drug often begins as a habit. Taking a drug at specific times of the day or immediately after certain activities becomes a regular habit that makes it easy to give into temptation on accident. By identifying the trouble spots that are habitually part of the substance abuse, it is possible to take measures to avoid those situations.

Trouble spots are not always easy to identify before the cravings for drugs hit, but certain aspects are possible to recognize early. For example, taking a drug immediately after eating an evening meal is easy to identify as a possible trouble spot. By taking measures to reduce the risk of taking the substance during or after the situations that are causing addiction, it is possible to reduce the number of cravings.

In some situations, it is not possible to completely avoid the triggers that cause cravings. Certain activities, such as eating or getting up in the morning, are not possible to avoid. Taking measures to avoid the trouble spots will also require some recognition of the areas that are impossible to completely avoid and creating a plan to reduce the cravings during that time, such as reading a book while eating to change the situation.

Consider Holistic Medicine

Alternative medicine is a great approach to fighting an addiction that is related to physical or emotional pain. Holistic medicine considers the entire person rather than just the physical aspects of addiction. It strives to help reduce the cravings or fight the addiction by reducing the amount of physical pain, fighting the emotional challenges that are related to substance abuse or providing a spiritual experience that makes it possible to move forward.

Common approaches to alternative healing include:

  • Massage therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Acupressure
  • Aroma therapy
  • Yoga
  • Meditation

Depending on the causes of addiction, the best alternative approach to healing will vary. For example, acupuncture and massage therapy can help reduce the sensation of physical pain that is caused by muscle tension, but yoga and meditation are effective when facing emotional or traumatic situations.


When it comes to fighting an addiction, many rehab programs will incorporate some form of exercise to help reduce the temptation to abuse drugs. The problem is that the amount of exercise can vary between programs or it might not be a form of exercise that is appropriate for personal needs.
Regardless of the situation, exercise is a great way to help reduce cravings and fight the addiction. Exercise naturally reduces stress levels, improves the health of the body, strengthens the muscles and acts as a distraction from the drugs. By including some form of exercise to a daily schedule, it is possible to reduce the risk of relapsing in the future.

Different forms of exercise can include:

  • Playing a sport
  • Swimming
  • Taking a long walk
  • Jogging
  • Spending time at the gym
  • Riding a bike
  • Taking Pilates or yoga classes
  • Martial arts

The form of exercise that is most appealing on a personal level will vary. When one form of exercise is not effective, it is best to try a different exercise to see if that will work better. The best type of exercise will depend on personal interest and the options that are available in a local area.

Caution Before Trying Alternatives

Although it is possible to fight an addiction without the help of a drug rehab facility, it is important to recognize that certain aspects of treatment are best managed with the help of medical staff members. Depending on the drug and the situation, it might be necessary to go through a medically supervised detoxification program or gain advice about treatment options from a doctor.

Alternative approaches to fighting an addiction are best after the body is no longer physically dependent on the drug and withdrawal symptoms have passed. Certain substances, such as heroin or cocaine, should never go through a detoxification process without a doctor to supervise and provide appropriate treatments to help fight the withdrawal symptoms.

Overcoming an addiction to drugs will depend on several factors. The best way to fight an addiction is the way that works on a personal level. While it is best to try rehabilitation programs before using alternative treatments, it is possible to reduce the risk of relapsing in the future by incorporating different treatment options.

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