Models Comparison

Monk StudyingThe following shows some of the differences between the Western medically focused approach and the alternative, holistic Eastern approach used by East-West Detox and Thamkrabok Monastery. This represents the understanding and belief of the writers and is not intended to be a judgment on either model. It can be used to assess the suitability of the model for an individual’s needs.


Medical Model

Current practice deals mainly with the symptoms of withdrawal by prescribing one addictive substance for another. Takes away power by reinforcing dependency. Substitute prescribing does not address the cause or underlying reasons for dependency. There is an emphasis on harm reduction rather than recovery.

Medication suppresses emotions and feelings which can make the process of healing the whole person more difficult.

Treatment frequently takes place within a psychiatric hospital ward and is limited to clinical interventions from medical staff.

Patients often discharge themselves well before completing their treatment programme. Within a short period of time they can return to familiar surroundings and relapse.

Generally limited to institutionalised clinical interventions which can result in becoming stuck within the support network and substitute medications.

Hospital wards are often under pressure to discharge patient after short detox period of around 5 days in order to free limited bed space

Aftercare and residential support after detox away from familiar territory not often in place or available.

Focus is on medication and dealing with symptoms.

Medication only suppresses the underlying problem by blocking feelings and emotions.


Alternative Model

Addresses the whole person

  1. Physical
  2. Mental
  3. Spiritual

Promotes motivation and empowers clients to make their Sarahown decisions. Provides therapeutic space and time to deal with underlying problems. Treatment addresses the addictive behavior enabling change.

No long-term medication is used. Clients are encouraged to get in touch with their feelings and emotions and experience withdrawal symptoms in order to heal.

The programme takes place in a spiritual environment administered by monks and nuns who provide moral support. Self-help is promoted throughout the treatment process.

Patients take a vow to complete their treatment and refrain from taking drugs again which reinforces their commitment. We have experienced a 100% completion rate to date.They are not able to return to familiar surroundings during their treatment period.

Range of non pharmaceutical interventions including herbal steam baths, Thai massage and a focus on healthy nutrition and talking therapies. Meditation and mindfulness is taught for relapse prevention.

28 day treatment period including 23 days rehabilitation with ongoing counseling support and other creative interventions.

A choice of aftercare and residential support available in a choice of locations included in package of care.

We believe in complimentary solutions, which avoid the possible hazards of long-term drug use.

Opportunities to enagage in more creative activities enable the underlying problems to surface and be dealt with once and for all.


Insight Meditation

The purpose of Mindfulness Meditation is not to create a system of beliefs, but rather to give guidance on how to see clearly into the nature of the mind.

In this way one gains first-hand understanding of the way things are, without reliance on opinions or theories – a direct experience, which has its own vitality. It also gives rise to the sense of deep calm that comes from knowing something for oneself, beyond any doubt.

Practice enables you to see your attitudes more clearly and come to know which are helpful and which create difficulties. i.e. understanding the way the mind reacts against pain and sickness.

When you approach such experiences in this way, you can often unwind the stress and resistance to pain, and alleviate it to a great degree.



Mindfulness is developed by purposefully paying attention in a non-judgemental way, to what is going on in your body, your mind and in the world around you.

The entire process – gathering your attention, noticing the breath, noticing that the mind has wandered, and re-establishing your attention – develops mindfulness, patience and insight understanding.