What is Biophysical Addiction Treatment?

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Written By: Lighthouse Editorial Team

Our editorial team includes content experts that contribute to Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s blog. Editors and medical experts review our blogs for accuracy and relevance. We consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA and NIDA to provide you with the most comprehensive addiction-related content.
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Lighthouse Editorial Team. "What is Biophysical Addiction Treatment?." Lighthouse Recovery Institute., Last updated Jan 8, 2021 at 4:42PM | Published on Jan 9, 2021, https://lighthouserecoveryinstitute.com/what-is-biophysical-addiction-treatment/.


Last updated Jan 8, 2021 at 4:42PM | Published on Jan 9, 2021 | Addiction Treatments

Although not as popular as other methodologies, biophysical addiction treatment has been around for over four decades at many treatment centers with high success rates. From the premise that long-term sobriety needs mental, physical, and cellular change, biophysical treatment sees addiction differently. Instead of treating addiction and recovery as a life-long battle, this treatment method believes that people can leave their addiction days behind them for good. 

The Basics of Biophysical Addiction Treatment

Biophysical treatment addresses drug addiction at a cellular level and looks to treat biological issues with physical methods. This non-12-step program focuses on minimizing the biochemical effects of drugs and alcohol. Based on the premise that substances are metabolized through the liver and kidneys, biophysical treatment believes these substances can leave behind particles known as metabolites. 

Over time, metabolites can be stored in the fatty tissues and organs of the body. These chemicals can be released back into the bloodstream and the brain, producing intense cravings, responsible for relapse. With this physical re-stimulation occurring over time, people can struggle to maintain sobriety on their own. 

Differences With Traditional Treatment

Unlike traditional treatment programs, biophysical rehab protocols follow a more holistic approach. Instead of counting on medication substitution during the detox process, patients are guided with therapy, nutritional support, and other methods to successfully detox from substances. Of course, in detox from specific drugs like benzodiazepines, which can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, biophysical treatment understands the need and importance of medication. 

Biophysical Treatment Timeline

What to Expect from Biophysical Treatment

In this alternative rehab program, time is at its essence. Biophysical treatment understands that the process of detoxifying the body and starting healing won’t happen overnight. Most programs last around 90 days, allowing ample time to treat physical, mental, and cellular issues. 

First Half

First, treatment focuses on addressing the physical aspects of addiction and recovery. During the first half of the treatment, patients have enough time to properly progress through detox without medications. At this stage, the focus is on making sure certain toxins from drugs and alcohol leave the body entirely. Then, treatment works to maintain the healthy vitamins and minerals needed to help the patient overcome cravings and continue their recovery.

Second Half

Once the physical aspects are controlled, the second portion of treatment looks at mental health concerns and addiction’s emotional characteristics. However, since this is a non-twelve-step approach, therapists focus on a person as a whole rather than just one facet of themselves. Here, mental health professionals examine and point out potential triggers and situations that can contribute to the abuse. Then, they look at different methods and skills to help patients manage these symptoms to achieve long-lasting recovery. 

Methods Used in Biophysical Treatment

Methods Used in Biophysical Treatment

Unless it’s medically necessary, biophysical treatment doesn’t utilize any medications or taps into drug-replacement therapies. Instead, it uses a more holistic and comprehensive approach that focuses on health and recovery.


Since biophysical treatment believes toxins may be responsible for cravings that result in relapse, it starts by releasing the toxins stored in the fatty tissue. Light exercise can stimulate the lymphatic system, which helps move cellular waste and toxins out of the bloodstream. 

For this reason, light exercise like yoga, walking, and other styles are a significant part of the biophysical addiction treatment protocol. Exercise also helps endorphin production, which further enhances their feelings of well-being. 

However, therapists and specialists stress the importance of light exercise versus intense workouts. If the body releases toxins too fast, it can be overwhelming, resulting in negative and uncomfortable symptoms. 

Nutritional Support

It’s well-known that substance abuse depletes the body of essential nutrients, vitamins, amino acids, and essential fatty acids vital to overall wellness and recovery. Many of these deficiencies are addressed through nutritional supplementation and a healthy diet. Nutritional professionals work alongside addiction specialists to develop a new diet that helps ease withdrawal symptoms and replenishes the body to help support recovery efforts. 


At last, counseling and psychotherapy are a significant part of biophysical treatment. Since addiction compromises mental and emotional health, treatment focuses on addressing these underlying conditions. This is particularly important for those with co-occurring disorders like depression and anxiety exacerbated by drug abuse. 

Behavioral health therapy, using cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can help patients understand the different situations and triggers that fueled their addiction. It also allows them to recognize any toxic relationships that could be contributing to their substance use. 

Once patients can recognize a problem and identify their irrational thinking patterns, the next step is to learn psychosocial and life skills and develop their spiritual self to continue their recovery. 

Medical Sauna

Although not for everyone, a medical sauna can help towards the pursuit of detoxification through sweating. Research says sweating facilitates the secretion of toxins, lowers blood pressure, and relaxes the mind. All things that can be beneficial and helpful for those in recovery. It may also help them feel more rested and energized, with an overall feeling of improved well-being. 

However, those with an adverse medical history, present health concerns, or certain medical conditions, such as kidney disease, liver failure, or cardiac conditions, may not be suited for this type of treatment. This is why discussing methods like a medical sauna to release toxins with a medical professional is paramount. 

Take Control of Your Addiction Today

Addiction is a mental, physical, and emotional disease. Yet, you’re in control of your life, and you deserve to leave addiction behind you. If you’ve tried other programs before unsuccessfully, maybe biophysical drug rehab could work for you. A comprehensive treatment plan that adapts to your needs and desires is the most effective way to find recovery. 

If you have questions, concerns, or doubts about any addiction treatment program, please reach out. Our addiction specialists will be glad to help you find the right plan for you. Start a healthy new life today and leave those addiction days behind. 

🛈 This page’s content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek your physician’s advice or another qualified health provider with any medical condition questions—full medical disclaimer.

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