Last Updated on March 20, 2023 by Dr. Alberto Solà

Although they have been used in traditional medicine worldwide for many thousands of years, essential oils are rapidly gaining popularity in the United States today.  Many people are seeing the benefits of these oils and are discovering the many ways they can be used to improve mental, emotional, and physical health.  Some people do not believe that aromatherapy is effective at all, but for every person who doubts it, there are many others who sing its praises and who find essential oils to be very effective for them.  Whether you believe in them or not, aromatherapy can be applied to nearly any situation or ailment, and it is therefore not surprising that many aromatherapy practitioners are using essential oils to alleviate the negative feelings of withdrawal from drugs or alcohol, and are using them to support addiction recovery efforts of their own and of their clients.

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy has been around for centuries, and its use has been documented in a wide variety of countries by many different cultures.  Aromatherapy is a therapy that uses essential oils to help people feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally, and is also used in numerous religions for spiritual purposes.  Essential oils are cultivated and distilled from plants such as trees, flowers, shrubs, seeds, roots and bushes.   The oils are collected and extracted through a distillation process.  This process creates a concentrated version of the very essence of the plant that can then be easily transported and used by humans.  Consuming these oils (through ingestion, inhalation, or topical application) allows people receive the vast and varied benefits of these plants.

Most often, essential oils are consumed through inhalation, which explains the aromatherapy name.  People can simply breathe in the aroma of the oils right out of the bottle, but in some cases, that can be very intense.  Alternately, many people consume oils through use of a small diffuser, which mixes the oil with water and then sends it out into the air as water vapor.  As mentioned above, essential oils can also be applied topically, but that too can be intense; most essential oils should be mixed with a neutral “carrier” oil such as almond oil, olive oil, or coconut oil before being put on the skin.  In some cases and with some oils, ingesting internally can also be effective, but it is extremely important that only verifiably pure oils are used in this way.

How Aromatherapy Can Help You

As aromatherapy practitioners will tell you, essential oils can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions that most of us experience at one time or another, but that are often more frequent and intense for people in recovery from addiction.  Some of the conditions that can be treated by essential oils include feelings of agitation, anger, and anxiety, for starters.  Some people use essential oils when they feel depressed or irritable, and some report success in treating insomnia with them as well.   Further, the right combination of essential oils can help someone feel motivated or energetic, or, conversely, can help them take things down a notch to feel relaxed.  Depending on how you are feeling at any given time, there is an essential oil to treat nearly every emotion, and people who are well-versed in aromatherapy can quickly recommend a specific essential oil or essential oil blend to help alleviate any negative feelings an individual may be experiencing.

When it comes to addiction recovery, people working on their recovery can benefit from essential oils and aromatherapy in a number of ways.  Essential oils can help decrease physical symptoms such as headaches, pain, and other discomfort.  They can help you to stay present, especially when using them as an aid and focus for meditation.  Many people report clarity of thinking when working with oils, and others believe they can help to regulate your emotions, too.   Most importantly, though, many aromatherapy practitioners find that certain essential oils can even help people in recovery to control, manage, and even reduce some of the cravings for drugs and alcohol during the early stages of recovery, and in the long term, too.

Best Essential Oils for Recovery

Some essential oils are helpful for specific addictions, but some can be helpful for all addictions in general. For withdrawal symptoms from drugs and alcohol in general, people who are well-versed in essential oil usage might recommend Clary Sage oil, which can be effective in alleviating mental fatigue, paranoia, anxiety, back pain, headaches, and muscle cramps, or they may suggest Bergamot oil, which is helpful in treating compulsive behavior.  Lemon oil may be offered; it can uplift the mood and alleviate anxiety, or Peppermint oil could also be helpful in relieving painful emotions and boosting the mood.

As for helpful essential oils for specific addictions, there are many recommendations, too:

  • For opiate and opioid withdrawals:
    • Lavender oil is calming.
    • Ylang Ylang oil can reduce fear and agitation.
    • Eucalyptus oil can stimulate the mind and body and reduce lethargy.
    • Cinnamon oil can decrease confusion, stress, fear, and doubt.
    • Peppermint oil can inspire mental clarity.
  • For alcoholism:
    • Lemon oil can alleviate depression and support a recovering immune system. It can also help to heal the liver, and reduce feelings of withdrawal.
    • Black pepper oil can reduce cravings.
    • Roman Chamomile oil works as an anti-depressant.
  • For stimulant addiction:
    • Orange oil can uplift mood and increase focus.
    • Peppermint oil can provide an energy boost.
    • Jasmine oil soothes and relaxes.

In general, aromatherapy and essential oils can do a lot for people’s moods and physical well-being, which explains why they have been used for centuries around the world.  There is no end to the many things that these substances can do to help people.  If you are interested in finding out more, there are countless websites online with valuable information, and there are many aromatherapy practitioners who will be happy to speak with you to help create a regimen that is right for you and your specific situation.  There is a lot to learn, but there are many resources to help get you started.  Check out essential oils and aromatherapy today, and find out the many ways they can support you on your recovery journey.  Good luck!

At Clear Sky Recovery, we are here to help you get started on your own path to recovery.  Our ibogaine detox treatment is innovative and effective, and our staff is standing by to answer any questions you may have about our staff, our facility, or the process.  Please give us a call today!