Using essential oils for addiction withdrawls and recovery can be very helpful for many people. Many therapists and counselors highly recommend it.
If there’s ever a time in life when you need peace, clear thinking and rest, it’s on the journey to recovery from an addiction.
It doesn’t matter if you’re recovering from alcoholism or addiction to painkillers, heroin, meth or another substance.
You need a clear, peaceful mind and a well-rested body even to recover from extreme stress, traumatic life events and depression or anxiety.
It’s important to seek medical help and follow the recommendations of professionals trained to guide you to a healthy life.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use essential oils to make your new life easier to embrace and a bit more comfortable.
Your journey to recovery will require you to learn how to love yourself, how to relax, and how to get through periods of intense craving or uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
Essential oils can help.
Many detox and rehabilitation centers are starting to embrace a holistic approach to recovery.
They still offer traditional treatments like medication and group or individual therapy, but they’re also implementing nature therapies and natural remedies like essential oils.
If you’re planning a trip to detox or rehab, you may consider finding a facility that has holistic options.
Not everyone has the luxury of receiving professional guidance on holistic recovery, so we want to offer valuable information that will allow you to use essential oils to ease withdrawal symptoms on your own.
This information doesn’t take the place of information provided by your doctor, therapist, coach or other professionals guiding you through recovery.
Consider sharing this information with them so that essential oils can become an official part of your treatment plan and healthier lifestyle.
What essential oils can help you through withdrawal?
Like all things with recovery, the answer is personal. Drugs impact every person differently, and the symptoms you suffer as they leave your body are also personal.
The following list will help you identify the right essential oils for symptoms that bother you the most.
If you’re suffering a lot of headaches or migraines during detox, keep a bottle of pure peppermint oil and a carrier oil on hand.
Carrier oils are safe for direct application to the skin, so they’re used to mix with other essential oils to create topical treatments.
Applying peppermint oil directly to your temples can help ease a headache quickly, but you need to mix it with a carrier oil first.
Coconut oil is one of the most popular options because it’s readily available in oil or solid form, has a pleasant aroma and is affordable.
Almond oil is another option if you have it on hand.
A little goes a long way, so don’t go overboard with peppermint oil.
It has a strong aroma that many people find comforting and relaxing, which also helps when your head hurts.
Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly or wear gloves when handling this oil. It can burn if on your hands when you touch your eyes.
There’s also some scientific evidence that aromatherapy with lavender oil can ease headaches and migraines.
Use a diffuser to infuse your bedroom or other living spaces with the oil for a relaxing, calming impact that may help you sleep better.
There is some evidence that bergamot essential oil can help lower blood pressure and reduce heart rate, which might help if you suffer from rapid heartbeat or palpitations during withdrawal.
It’s important to talk to medical professionals about these symptoms and discuss the option of using essential oils in addition to any medications that you may need to control your heart rate.
If you use bergamot essential oils for addiction, simply pour some into a diffuser and allow it to saturate the air in a small room.
Enjoy the aroma for an hour or two, and then turn off the diffuser. You only need a little to properly saturate the air, so don’t go overboard.
Research has shown that the benefits of bergamot oil are short lived, but they may help if you need to quickly reduce your heart rate or lower your blood pressure.
Try incorporating yoga, meditation or deep breathing techniques into your daily life to ease anxiety and stress, which can contribute to rapid heartbeat or palpitations.
You may also try lavender essential oil for its calming, soothing effects.
Vaporize it into your air, and then rest in a comfortable position while focusing on breathing deeply.
The goal is to relax and dismiss thoughts that may get your heartrate up even further.
Research has shown that diffusing peppermint or ginger essential oils can ease stomach upset, including nausea and vomiting.
One study allowed a group of people recovering from surgery to inhale ginger essential oil while a control group inhaled a saline solution.
The researchers noted a significant reduction in nausea by participants inhaling the essential oil.
You may also want to try diluting ginger or peppermint oils with a carrier oil and rubbing it directly onto your stomach for relief.
That may not completely eliminate nausea or stop you from vomiting, but some people have found that it helps ease the stomach quickly.
It’s common to experience achy, sore or tense muscles while going through withdrawal.
You may also experience muscle spasms, so finding natural ways to relax those muscles can dramatically improve your comfort level.
One of the most effective essential oils for muscle relaxation is peppermint essential oil.
Blend peppermint essential oil with a carrier oil like coconut or almond essential, and then rub it directly on the muscles causing pain or discomfort.
Try gently massaging the muscles once or twice a day to keep them as relaxed as possible.
This oil can help with spasms as well as muscle tension, aches and pains.
Marjoram oil is an alternative to peppermint oil if you don’t like the strong aroma of peppermint.
Marjoram can help ease tension and may help with spasms as well.
Lavender essential oil is backed by some scientific research proving it can help with anxiety for two reasons:
We could add that lavender essential oil is readily available, affordable and easy to use.
They come in a variety of colors and designs, and many are nice enough to wear to work.
Simply take a quick smell whenever you start to feel anxiety creeping up.
You can also use a diffuser to saturate the air in your home with lavender essential oil.
Just keep in mind that lavender can soothe you right to sleep, so you may want to use citrus essential oils like orange, grapefruit and tangerine if you need to stay alert while easing tension and anxiety a little.
Meditation and deep breathing exercises can help you back off the ledge of a more severe anxiety or panic attack.
If you experience ongoing anxiety or severe panic attacks, you should talk to a therapist or doctor about other possible remedies.
Think of essential oils as an immediate aide while other strategies may help reduce the number of anxiety or panic attacks you experience in the long term.
Scientific research supports the use of aromatherapy massage to ease depression.
There have been some small studies that suggest simply inhaling lavender, rose or other essential oils may also help, but massage with essential oils has the most research-backed support as an effective depression treatment.
You can use any blend of essential oils that you find pleasing and relaxing when performing your massage.
Ask someone special in your life to give you the massage or get into a relaxing position and gently massage yourself.
Start by diluting your essential oils with coconut, almond or another carrier oil. You can then massage it directly onto the skin for immediate benefits.
While most research studies have used lavender and rose essential oils, citrus fruit oils like orange or grapefruit are also good selections.
Citrus fruits have robust, happy aromas that can lift your mood while lavender is more likely to encourage a deep relaxation.
You may experience fatigue not only during detox, but also while trying to establish healthier habits in the long term.
A diffuser necklace or bracelet carrying one of the following oils will allow you to use aromatherapy to lift your mood and extend your productive hours before a nap is needed:
You can also use these essential oils in a diffuser or blend them with coconut oil and rub them directly onto your skin.
Try using them like perfume on pressure points, so you smell them throughout the day.
A quick massage on your legs or arms while closing your eyes and meditating may give you enough energy to tackle the next task on your to-do list.
In a study that included 81 patients withdrawing from opioid addiction, rosemary leaves were found to ease insomnia, bone pain, sweating and other symptoms when used in addition to methadone.
You can get some of those benefits yourself by adding a couple drops of rosemary essential oil to your bath water or vaporizing it in your bedroom starting an hour or two before bedtime.
If you also suffer from physical pain, try mixing rosemary essential oil with coconut or almond oil and then rubbing it directly onto the skin in areas where you hurt or ache.
Breathing in the aroma while you do this may help you sleep, but pain relief may also help you fall asleep and stay asleep longer.
Lavender essential oil is also a great pick if you want to diffuse an essential oil to help with insomnia. They use it in so many baby bath products for a good reason.
As you move beyond withdrawal into long-term recovery, you may continue to experience some of the symptoms that first presented during detox.
Essential oils can help ease those symptoms, and you may find them useful for maintaining a positive mindset and sense of calm as you start to develop healthier habits and build a new life.
If you can only invest in a couple essential oils for recovery, we suggest peppermint essential oil and lavender essential oil.
These oils can help with your mood as well as headaches and muscle relaxation.
You can use them for relaxing massages, apply them directly to muscles that hurt or calm your mind through aromatherapy.
As you grow in aromatherapy and recovery, you can add citrus essential oils, bergamot and other aromas that apply to specific benefits you need.
Your essential oil collection should grow over time as you continue down your path to healthy recovery.
Peppermint Oil, NIH, Accessed January 2020. Link.
Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial, European Neurology, Accessed January 2020. Link.
Short-term exposure to essential oils lowers blood pressure and heart rate, European Society of Cardiology (ESC), Link.
Beneficial Effects of Rosmarinus Officinalis for Treatment of Opium Withdrawal Syndrome during Addiction Treatment Programs: A Clinical Trial, Addict Health, NIH, Accessed January 2020. Link.