Substance abuse and addiction is an enormous problem within the West. The USA and Canada are particularly struggling with the abuse of prescription drugs such as fentanyl , but old favorites like heroin and alcohol are still claiming inordinate amounts of victims. One of the many problems with substance abuse and addiction issues is that they can be extremely difficult to treat. Relapse are common after treatment , and, for many, these relapses ultimately result in a sink back into full-blown addiction. In the past, it was thought that this was largely due to the intractable and irredeemable nature of alcoholics and drug addicts. However, the onus is increasingly turning to the methods of treatment applied to these people. More and more people are pointing out that conventional treatments do not, in many cases, address the issues surrounding an individual’s substance abuse in their entirety, and are thus insufficient. In such cases, a naturopathic approach may be of much more use.
Symptoms VS People...
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Treating The Whole Person
Naturopathic treatments for addictions can be a great help if used in conjunction with (or, in some cases, instead of) conventional treatments due to their emphasis on treating the problem in its entirety. As well as weaning the suffering individual off the substance to which they are addicted, a good naturopath will also pay considerable attention to understanding and eliminating the factors which have caused and continue to encourage substance abuse. They will also try to ensure that the addict has the tools they need in order to clean up their lives and maintain a healthy, positive lifestyle which respects their bodies, minds, and selves. Things like good nutrition to encourage bodily awareness and promote good health may be incorporated into the recovery program, as may meditation sessions  and the teaching of mental tools to help curb cravings. A naturopath will look at an addiction on an individual level, and tailor their program of therapy to suit the needs of the individual, as well as analysing the addict in order to determine and treat the contributory factors of their addiction in all of their complexity.
A Complex Issue
It may well be that those with serious addiction problems will require some conventional medical intervention as well. It’s increasingly being pointed out that abstinence-only programs for addicts frequently fail to work. Some addicts may need a chemically assisted element to their rehabilitation, and this should be provided and supervised by a medico-scientific authority. However, using a naturopath alongside such treatments can be incredibly effective in digging out the main causes of the addiction, and in eliminating the factors which may bring about relapse in the future.
Contributed by Jennifer Galvin
 “New study finds fentanyl deaths on the rise in Canada”
 Rudolf H Moos, Bernice S Moos, “Rates and predictors of relapse after natural and treated remission from alcohol use disorders”, Journal of Addiction, Jan 2006
 Medical News Today, “What Are The Risk Factors For Addiction?”
 Rachael Rettner, “Mindfulness Meditation May Reduce Drug User Relapse”, LiveScience, Mar 2014