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Inpatient Peer Support for Holistic Mental Health and Addiction Recovery

Medically Reviewed Fact Checked
Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

Some of the most successful models of treatment involve peer support.
When multiple persons are facing similar challenges, there is a bonding and an alliance that develops.

professional peer support sedona drug rehabThis is especially important for those who feel isolated and often betrayed by their doctor who failed to inform them of the addictive nature of their prescriptions. The newly recovering addict can also be supported by being around others who have faced similar challenges, thereby providing perspective on the process.

Being supported by peers who have had similar experiences is grounding and empowering.
It is this sense of community that gives courage and strength to those who would otherwise face their recovery in often less than supportive environments. Our methods can be reasonably unfamiliar due to the technical depth of our approach, and seeing the success of others lends confidence to the process.

Many of our staff were former insomniacs, depressed, anxious, addicted, or even once labeled with a mental illness, who have recovered by these methods and stand as living testimonials of the effectiveness of these treatments. And since we only employ great staff (as “good” staff would never be able to pull off what we do here), it creates a sense of family and cohesiveness that is truly uncommon and has been made reference to in many of the success stories on this site.

With the help and support of others, one can experience and demonstrates healthy principles of connection, success, and recovery.

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Why Is Peer Support So Important in Recovery?

Recovery, whether from substance use disorder (SUD), the aftermath of psychiatric medications, environmental toxins, or the associated mental health symptoms, should be a highly personalized process. Each individual has their own unique relationship with substances and/or medications , their own mental health concerns, and other individual problems and needs that should be considered when determining their treatment program. However, that doesn’t mean recovery and the journey towards mental wellness must occur in isolation. While Alternative to Meds Center takes the individual person and their path to recovery very seriously, it’s important to recognize the benefits of peer support.

These benefits are the foundation of Alternative to Meds Center’s peer support program. Allowing those we serve the chance to interact with other individuals who have had similar experiences, develop peer bonds, and begin building a strong support network is vital to ensuring a happy, healthy future.

Peer Support Improves Mental Health

tailor compassionate support sedona drug rehabPeer support programs can be loosely defined as any activity that encourages interactions among individuals who have similar experiences. Peer support examples can be as simple as a peer support group that meets to discuss important recovery topics. Others may be more akin to peer support mentorship programs where peer workers who have entered recovery share their personal experiences, recovery tools, and more.

While relationships with treatment professionals like counselors, therapists, and physicians are important, peer support is a critical component of recovery and mental health treatment.1

Peer support is particularly important for those who have been subject to rounds of addictive pharmaceutical medications from a doctor they once trusted. If someone finds themselves unable to trust the very profession they once relied on to find healing, they may be initially unable to trust those in charge of helping them recover. By contrast, peer support groups can build that sense of trust within a community of others who truly understand their struggles. Peer mentorship and support programs can not only help provide the tools necessary to remain in lasting recovery but provide living proof that recovery is possible.2

The Value of Peer Support During Recovery

A compendium of research demonstrates that without a strong support system, people with a substance use disorder are more likely to relapse. Others who have developed relationships with their peers and developed a peer support network have improved chances of staying in recovery.3 Long-term healing, whether from environmentally-derived neurotoxins, pharmaceutical drugs, or even mental health symptoms, and a return to happiness are only possible if the patient has people they can connect to, grow with, and rely on in times of struggle. Participation in peer support activities is a key indicator of successful recovery, which is why we at Alternative to Meds Center are so proud of our robust peer support system.4

Staying isolated and alone during early recovery means people are more likely to feel isolated and alone with their problems after treatment concludes. However, when multiple persons are facing similar challenges, there is a bonding and an alliance that develops. Instead of feeling as if they are about to traverse the significant hurdles of mental health conditions, medication tapering, and recovery of health alone, they’ll be working with others who understand exactly what they’re going through. As a result, they may be more willing to share experiences, confront past traumas, or even simply listen to understand that they are not the only ones facing challenges.

Inpatient Peer Support Programs:  Helping Others Helps Oneself

Whether it takes the form of peer groups or peer mentorship, peer support work isn’t just about being helped but about learning to help others in the same way.In fact, research suggests that peer support is just as helpful to the person providing the support as it is to the person receiving it.

Helping another person provides a feeling of accomplishment and a connection with others that enables both to put therapy strategies to good use and encourages deeper emotional bonds.5 This is a critical reason peer support programs are so important. Not only do they ensure that each person is given the social network they need to thrive, but it encourages people to help each other as well as the rest of their community. It reinforces the idea of the support network as a reliable, trusted group that can be counted on when necessary. This network is something people seeking treatment often lack.

Benefits of Peer Support for Recovery

Peer support can benefit all people in recovery in a number of ways, including:
  • Builds trust
  • Provides perspective
  • Encourages personal empowerment
  • Provides the shared experience of hope
  • Applying healthy principles of recovery in real time
  • Introduces effective recovery tools

Builds Trust

As mentioned, individuals who feel betrayed by physicians who prescribed them addictive medications may have trouble trusting physicians and other treatment providers. By building a community of peers or working with peer mentors, these individuals can begin to build a trusting relationship with an individual who can view recovery from their perspective.6

Provides Perspective

The newly recovering individual can also be supported by being around others who have faced similar challenges, thereby providing perspective on the process. Seeing what the issue looks like from the other side can be eye-opening, and it can allow them to get a better sense of what they, themselves, are experiencing.


Peer support can help people receiving inpatient treatment develop a sense of community that may have been missing during times of crisis, which can often be quite isolating. Feeling a part of a community can provide a much-needed sense of support and empowerment.

Provides Hope

While attending counseling sessions, participating in adjunctive therapies, and more are critical components of treatment,it is equally important to learn from others. Experiencing support from peer mentors and peer groups enables people to witness the struggles and triumphs of others in their situation. Through their success, others can gain hope that they can achieve the same.

Demonstrates Healthy Principles of Recovery

Principles like self-awareness, compassion, mindfulness, and courage, as well as a willingness to learn new things and develop new skills, are critical components of recovery. Peer support not only provides a range of examples from others on the same path but also gives people the opportunity to put them into practice themselves.

Develops Recovery Tools

The recovery tools introduced during professional counseling sessions and even peer support groups, including creating healthy routines, practicing mindfulness, improving nutrition, and more, are reinforced by peer support programs. Individuals can see these tools at work in others and learn how to — utilize them when they return back home.

Integrative Peer Support for Medication Recovery in Sedona, Arizona

An effective peer support program should extend beyond group therapy sessions and bonding exercises. The facility staff is an essential part of the support system, and with honesty and empathy, we can prove to be peers ourselves. That’s why we’re willing to be honest about our own personal struggles and our relationship with the very treatments we employ.

With our deep understanding of the orthomolecular principles useful in recovery, physical health, and improving mental health, and the ways these are interrelated, Alternative to Meds Center is committed to holistic therapies and research-backed interventions. To get started on finding an inpatient program that suits your needs or to learn more about holistic recovery and what is available for your healing journey at Alternative to Meds Center, contact us.



1. SAMHSA. (2017). Value of Peers. [cited 2023 June 19]

2. Davidson, L., & Guy, K. (2012). Peer support among persons with severe mental illnesses: a review of evidence and experience. World psychiatry, 11(2), 123-128. [cited 2023 June 19]

3. Zaidi, U. (2020). Role of social support in relapse prevention for drug addicts. International Journal of Innovation, Creativity and Change, 13(1), 915-24. [cited 2023 June 19]

4. Best, D. W., & Lubman, D. I. (2012). The recovery paradigm: A model of hope and change for alcohol and drug addiction. Australian family physician, 41(8), 593-597. [cited 2023 June 19]

5. Scannell, C. (2022). By helping others we help ourselves: insights from peer support workers in substance use recovery. Advances in Mental Health, 20(3), 232-241. [cited 2023 June 19]

6. Tracy, K., & Wallace, S. P. (2016). Benefits of peer support groups in the treatment of addiction. Substance abuse and rehabilitation, 143-154. [cited 2023 June 19]

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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