DiscoverCounselor Toolbox PodcastComplimentary Interventions in Addiction Treatment
Complimentary Interventions in Addiction Treatment

Complimentary Interventions in Addiction Treatment

Update: 2020-09-19


Complimentary Interventions in Addiction Treatment

Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes

CEUs available at:


~ Explore various types of complimentary therapies which can be used in the treatment of chemical and behavioral addictions.


~ Each person is unique.

~ Biology

~ Willingness to take medication

~ Triggers for use

~ Complimentary Interventions in this presentation are those treatments that are added on to compliment counseling and/or traditional medication assisted therapy

Concurrent Treatment for Biological Issues

~ Thyroid

~ Cardiovascular

~ Gonadal hormones

~ Chronic Pain

~ Chiropractics

~ Massage


~ Exercise

~ Apnea

~ Autoimmune /Inflammatory issues

~ Mental Health Issues caused by neurochemical imbalance due to genetics or the effects of tolerance/withdrawal


~ Acupuncture is one of the more widely used alternative therapies within the context of addictions and behavioral health treatment (SAMHSA)

~ It reduces cravings, improves mood and has been associated with a reduction in psychotic symptoms

~ Acupressure

~ Use of magnets “seeds”

~ Use of lasers and “electro-acupuncture”

Brain Modulation

~ Current research on these treatments is anecdotal or limited at best but they show promise

~ Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has shown some promise for reducing cravings in the short term

~ EEG & fMRI Neurofeedback patients learn to modulate their own brain activity through feedback from the MRI or EEG machine. It has shown some promise for reducing cravings

~ Deep Brain Stimulation (invasive): Case studies report prolonged abstinence of opioids or alcohol with ventral striatal DBS


~ Using resting heart rate / pulse and respiration patients are able to

~ Reduce their systemic hyperarousal (HPA-Axis)

~ Increase their feelings of control over their emotions and urges

~ Altered the information flow from the prefrontal cortex to the default mode network (wakeful rest)


~ There is a growing body of preclinical and clinical evidence to support use of CBD oils for many conditions, suggesting its potential role as another option for treating challenging chronic pain or addiction

~ CBD & stimulants

~ Prevention of drug-induced neuroadaptations (excitotoxicity)

~ Reverses cognitive deficits

~ Alleviates symptoms of comorbid mental disorders

Light Therapy

~ Light Therapy helps reset circadian rhythms

~ Sleep

~ Hunger

~ Cortisol levels (energy)

~ Sunlight increases vitamin D which has been shown to improve mood, reduce inflammation and regulate circadian rhythms


~ Some studies have shown decreased craving via hypnotic aversion suggestions through top-down regulation of the prefrontal cortex as evidenced through MRIs


~ Some people use Kratom to self-detox from opioids or alcohol. Currently this is not a medically approved approach.

~ Kratom can cause effects similar to both opioids and stimulants producing sedation, pleasure, and decreased pain

~ Kratom is not illegal and not regulated for purity or potency by the FDA

~ Kratom takes effect after five to 10 minutes, and its effects last two to five hours.

~ In animals, kratom appears to be more potent than morphine.

~ Kratom can be addictive


~ Addiction is a biopsychosocial condition

~ No single treatment or intervention is likely sufficient for sustained recovery.

~ Many complimentary therapies help rebalance the neurotransmitters / CNS which often underly craving, withdrawal symptoms and mood issues which are being self-medicated.

~ Many therapies can be used in conjunction to address the myriad of underlying issues contributing to relapse risk (depression, anxiety, low self efficacy, insomnia, fatigue, pan)









Sleep Timer


End of Episode

5 Minutes

10 Minutes

15 Minutes

30 Minutes

45 Minutes

60 Minutes

120 Minutes

Complimentary Interventions in Addiction Treatment

Complimentary Interventions in Addiction Treatment

Charles Snipes