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Alternative Treatments in Alaska
group playing music in a heroin addiction treatment center

Alternative Treatments in Alaska

Treatments for addiction change and evolve over time as more research is done and the condition is better understood. The traditional treatments are still widely used, but now a range of alternative treatment options are available in rehabs and addiction treatment centers, because they have been shown to be effective in helping people with addictions. In fact, alternative treatments in Alaska and across the country are very widespread, and as a result, they are becoming mainstream treatments.

Alternative treatment therapies are not usually alternatives at all, but are additions to the tools available to treat addiction. The traditional therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, counseling, psychotherapy, and medication therapies still form the backbone of treatments in rehab, but the alternative therapies tend to tackle different aspects of the personality, such as self-esteem, confidence, and optimism, and work on the connections between the body and spirit.

Many alternative treatments in Alaska are used, including music or art therapy, equine therapy, restorative yoga, meditation, and numerous other options.

Music Therapy

Music has long been known to affect one’s emotions and their ability to relax. Anxiety and stress levels are reduced, pain levels drop, blood pressure is lowered, and the respiration rate is slowed when people listen to soothing music. Making music also gives people a non-verbal outlet for their feelings and pent-up emotions, and gives participants greater confidence, higher self-esteem, and feelings of empowerment and control. No particular musical talent or knowledge of music is needed for music therapy to be effective.

Music therapy can be given to individuals or groups. Group therapy often includes drumming or drum circles, which encourages participants to work together to express their emotions and be creative. Music therapy can also include improvisation on different instruments, songwriting, analyzing lyrics that are meaningful to the addict, and meditation to music. These therapies all improve self-confidence and teach skills for coping with the anxiety, fear, or anger often associated with addiction.

Equine Therapy

Alternative treatment therapies involving animals, such as dogs and horses, are becoming more widespread because they are now known to increase self-confidence and raise self-esteem through many small personal victories. Equine therapy may include riding, grooming, feeding, and general care of the horse. A bond tends to form between the recovering addict and the horse, and this improves the addict’s social skills and raises their self-esteem. The unconditional love of a horse can be extremely powerful and healing.

Restorative Yoga

Yoga trains practitioners to control their breathing and body movements by adopting a set of poses. This improves the concentration and ability to remain calm, relaxed, and patient, reduces cravings for drugs and alcohol, and helps to reduce anxiety, anger, and agitation. Addicts tend to be out of control internally, and they often have frayed nerves and make knee-jerk panic reactions. Practicing yoga helps them to regain control of their mind, as well as their body, and this improves their chances of making and maintaining a full recovery.


Addiction is not only a disease of the body, it is also a disease of the mind, and meditation can heal the mind-body connection. Meditation is an alternative treatment for addiction that works to reduce the cravings that recovering addicts feel. Meditation is a mindfulness practice that encourages the person to live in the present, but it also produces greater compassion and increased self-acceptance, which is important for recovering addicts, as many suffer from guilt and self-loathing.

Alternative treatments in Alaska are available to help people to recover from addiction, but also to avoid returning to substance abuse. They all work well alongside traditional treatments and recovery support groups, such as the 12 step programs and SMART Recovery. If you or a loved one is battling addiction, reach out to an addiction specialist today to learn more about alternative treatments in Alaska.