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It is no secret that addiction is a battle that many people in the U.S. face today. This battle is ongoing with many people looking for holistic and alternative approaches to help with recovery every single day. One of these holistic approaches is using essential oils for addiction.
Alternative treatment plans
With the pharmaceutical companies under more scrutiny than ever for the abuse of prescription opioids, there is a rising trend in more natural and holistic treatments for addiction. More people are taking initiative to do their own research to find what treatment plan works best for them. They are finding successful ways to achieve overall health and well-being using natural methods combined with professional psychological help.
In a 2014 national survey, it was discovered that 1 in 12 Americans have a substance abuse disorder. That number comes out to 21.5 million Americans over the age of 12.
This staggering number indicates that addiction is a major problem our society is facing today, so all possible forms of treatment should be taken seriously.
One form of treatment that many people claim to help is using essential oils for addiction recovery.
Essential oils as a holistic approach
There are other more holistic approaches to treatments, such as diet change, yoga, meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and professional psychological help. These types of treatments focus on healing mind, body, and spirit, and are perfect to use alongside essential oils for addiction.
Using essential oils for addiction is an amazing option because they are widely known to have benefits that help with addiction and withdrawal symptoms. They promote physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional balance when used daily and in the proper way.
Common symptoms of addiction and withdrawal
Addiction is considered such a challenging disorder to overcome because of the many intense and debilitating symptoms. In fact, these symptoms can be so overwhelming and difficult to face that many addicts are too scared to face them and thus, don’t try to. They will continue using drugs and/or alcohol rather than recover and go through the process.
These symptoms include things like:
- Anxiety, panic attacks
- Severe depression, social isolation, feeling hopeless
- Loss of appetite, fatigue, restlessness
- Insomnia, irritability, mood swings
- Headaches, dizziness
- Poor memory and concentration
- Chest tightness, difficulty breathing
- Heart racing or palpitations
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pains
- Muscle tension, shakes, tremors, aches, and twitches
- Severe sweating
Essential oils not only help deal with these symptoms, but they can also help prevent a relapse from occurring. About 85% of people admitted into a rehabilitation center end up falling back into substance abuse. In order to avoid that, certain essential oils may help these people better cope with the recovery process.
Here are 5 essential oils for addiction you should use
- Geranium essential oil
- Grapefruit essential oil
- Peppermint essential oil
- Lemon essential oil
- Lavender essential oil
How Aromatherapy works
Aromatherapy uses the olfactory system – your sense of smell and the organs associated with it. When you inhale essential oils through your nose, the scent travels to your brain. It affects the limbic system, what is also known as the emotional brain. This system is a set of structures in the brain that deals with emotions and memory. It also regulates autonomic or endocrine function and is also involved in reinforcing behavior. This is how we see the many emotional and mental health benefits of using essential oils for addiction.
Aromatherapy also involves directly applying essential oils to the skin which is then absorbed by the body and leads to many benefits. Ingestion is another form of aromatherapy, however only therapeutic grade, tested, and FDA approved essential oils are required for this use.
How to use essential oils for addiction
Diffusing or spraying
Using an essential oil diffuser disperses the chosen oil mixture throughout the room that it is in. This fills the room with the scent of the essential oils, which has been known to have many emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits. This is perfect in combination with meditation, yoga, or at night while sleeping for those with insomnia.
Due to the high concentration of many essential oils, you must first dilute the oil you would like to apply to your skin with a carrier oil. These include oils such as almond, coconut, jojoba, or carrot seed oil. When you have the oil mixture, the best places to apply it are the wrists, nape of the neck, or temples. For stomach issues, you can apply to the stomach. Using a hot or cold cloth on top of the area of application helps penetrate the oil deeper into the skin and soothes the muscles.
Steaming the oils works very similarly to diffusing, however it is much more of a direct approach. For this method, fill a pot with hot enough water that it starts to produce steam. Then, add a few drops of the essential oil you would like to use. Next you lean over the pot and put a towel over your head so you directly inhale the steam. This opens up your senses so you reap the benefits of the essential oils.
Taking a hot bath helps many people relax after a long day. For people struggling with the harsh symptoms of addiction, taking a hot bath with relaxing essential oils may help them cope. Adding lavender and geranium, for example, will relax their muscles, calm their minds, and fill them with a peaceful, loving sensation.
As mentioned above, only FDA approved essential oils are considered safe for ingestion. When using this method, you can add oils to water, tea, or lattes to see the results.