Complementary Alternative and Integrative Treatment for Substance Use Disorders

J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. 2018 May 1;56(6):16-21. doi: 10.3928/02793695-20180521-04.


Complementary alternative and integrative medicine (CAIM) modalities are increasingly sought after by patients with chronic health conditions such as substance use disorders (SUDs). Evidence suggests that CAIM interventions can improve symptoms commonly seen in patients with SUDs, such as stress, anxiety, depression, and pain. Mindfulness-based intervention (MBI), such as meditation, has proven effective for a variety of conditions, including SUDs. Other CAIM strategies, such as manipulative body practices and healing energy medicine techniques, are also showing some evidence of effectiveness. These methods center on the concept of restoring balance to energy fields or acupoints on the body, including chakras and meridians. Nurses are in an ideal position to educate, administer, and teach patients these CAIM methods to integrate with traditional medical care. Resources to learn CAIM methods can be accessed online, and specialized certification in this field is also available. [Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 56(6), 16-21.].

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Complementary Therapies / methods*
  • Complementary Therapies / nursing
  • Humans
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness*
  • Psychiatric Nursing
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy*