Physical dependence on a substance is the least problematic part of addiction. The typical person struggling with addiction must confront a number of things that are challenges for many but major obstacles for a person recovering from addictions. An incomplete list includes:
Each of these things has the potential to drive a person to use or resume using.
TCM is the original holistic medicine; it's models of human function and dysfunction, diagnosis, and treatment methods offer a great wealth of tools to put addictions into remission and keep them there.
1) The Big Picture - Look at Patterns Instead of Pieces.
TCM's diagnosis includes all parts of the patient's environment: climate, available food, living space, work, and family. It also includes all parts of the patient and the status of the relationships between each organ, skin, muscle, channel, temperature mood, thought and more. At the end of the sorting and assembling all of that information we have an excellent and almost complete picture of all processes happening with the patient.
2) All Addictions Are Forms of Self-Medication
TCM considers addiction to be self-medication. Alcohol or meth are most commonly consumed for the fun feelings they bring and the party-like atmosphere people use them in. You might let loose a snarky laugh at the idea that addicts consume them for medicinal reasons. But if you've ever used Gatorade instead of water to rehydrate faster, had a cup of mint or chamomille tea to relax before sleeping, or eaten an energy bar to prevent an afternoon slump, you have self-medicated.
3) Relapse Risks Are Recognized Sooner and Can Be Dealt with Before Relapse
A large number of phenomena that TCM considers signs or symptoms have no diagnostic significance to western medicine because western medicine considers their type and intensity unrelated to a disease process. Some examples are anxiety, irritability, respiratory allergies or increased menstrual pain. Each of these can, in context, warn of impending relapse. They are signs or symptoms of several Traditional Oriental Medicine pathologies that often accompany addictions.