Alcohol and drug addiction is a chronic illness, which affects brain functioning. Because of these changes, addiction can rule over a person due to developments in compulsive and unsafe behaviors and health damage. Because of this, a primary treatment program is needed to address addiction.
After primary treatment, recovery can have lasting results like sobriety and a return to optimal health. Recovery programs (like sober living homes) can help addicts work through the psychological and physical challenges of overcoming addiction.
The Mind Body Connection
While primary treatment rids the body of toxins from through detox, brain functioning often changes within a person after prolonged substance abuse. In sober living or other recovery programs, a focus on mental health can help address underlying causes of a person’s particular addiction.
Partaking in regular therapy sessions, both one-on-one and in group scenarios (twelve-step meetings) can help find balance and peace. This is one of the main aspects of recovery because it is a solution-based way to achieve sobriety. In recovery, therapists are trained specifically to deal with chemical dependency and substance abuse. Based on the individual, they may use a variety of treatment approaches.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most popular therapeutic treatment approaches. It is used to address a wide range of issues. It collectively focuses on thoughts, behaviors, and actions and it works to rectify harmful thoughts and destructive behaviors by replacing them with positive ones.
Since much of addiction is rooted in trauma, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy may also be a chosen approach. EMDR can be an essential part in addiction recovery since trauma is often a major cause of it.
Mental health care is crucial in addiction recovery. Regardless of treatment approach, therapy can help relieve stress, reduce anxiety or depression, create a support system, and give clients the courage to push back against addiction urges. Mental health is strongly connected to a person’s overall health and wellness. Once they are able to center themselves on resisting substances, their health will continue to drastically improve.
How Physical Health Gets Damaged
Drug and alcohol abuse can severely affect the physical health of an individual. If a person uses a large quantity for an extended period of time, health risks may increase for the worse. Some symptoms of drug or alcohol abuse include headaches, blackouts, tremors, seizures, excessive sweating, skin discoloration, physical function impairments, and even fatal outcomes.
After primary treatment, physical health deficiencies may still be an issue. While mental health care is a central task in recovery programs, taking care of a person’s physical health must also be addressed in order to repair all aspects of the disease. Recovery aims to fix what addiction has ruined.
Chemical dependency consumes individuals to the point where they lose control of their minds and physical functioning. Detox is the first step in the long, ongoing road of recovery. Once the toxic effects of addiction have left the body, only then can people continue on to fix their mental and physical health.
In sober living programs, physicians and staff provide excellent aftercare. It is crucial towards any recovering addict’s quest for sobriety. Transitional recovery centers help clients create routines, build a new community of support, engage in effective therapy, and restore their physical health. Often times, some of these tasks can be addressed at the same time.
Recovery homes look to create a support system by encouraging house residents to participate in activities together. Often these activities focus on physical health. Eco-therapy is known to provide stress relief while providing physical fitness. Group excursions like hiking, biking, jogging, or doing yoga outdoors is a big part in rectifying a person’s physical health. Studies indicate, “exercise could lead to a causal decrease in substance use…by serving as an alternative, non-drug reinforcer.” Reengaging in a physical fitness can provide healing and may replace certain aspects of addiction urges.
Benefits of Restoring Your Physical Health
Addiction can wreak havoc on entire body. And while recovery necessitates the need for boundaries, a controlled and substance free environment, and regular therapeutic work, the continuing restoration of physical health is not mentioned with the same attention, though it should be.
For one, a physical fitness routine can drastically minimize stress. Exercise addresses the mind and body, which is especially important after substance addiction. Stress builds for the average, non-substance using individual on a daily basis. However, for a recovering addict that weight is magnified due to a new living environment, new restrictions, the pressure to remain sober, and a new way of living overall.
Both low impact and high impact exercise can help regulate emotions, create stability, and improve functioning. While certain aspects of exercise may be unfamiliar or even difficult, exercise is another way to face sobriety versus turning towards unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Restoring your physical health can also fix your perspective. This is especially beneficial for those who may be suffering from co-occurring disorders like depression and addiction or a panic disorder and addiction. Research has shown that people who exercise regularly experience a reduction in anxiety disorder symptoms. It also curbs aspects of depressive disorders and other ailments.
Exercise can also increase self-esteem and positivity. Noticing physical changes in your body and internal changes with how you feel can reaffirm your commitment to sobriety.
Physical Health & Sobriety
Restoring physical health can contribute to keeping cravings controlled. Research shows that a reduction in substance urges was reported after moderate exercise. “Aerobic exercise may reduce relapse vulnerability…” This is partially due to the steady shifts made in the brain after regular bouts of exercise.
Working towards maintaining optimal physical health is a holistic and sustainable way to fix previous damage. It can also repair brain functioning and contribute positively to sobriety. During exercise, the body experiences a rush due to endorphins. Physical fitness from a gym routine or an outdoor excursion results in wellness. And a physical fitness activity learned in recovery can easily be continued in life after transitional living. Independently, exercise has positive effects on well-being, longevity, and sobriety. There are many avenues towards eradicating addiction, and taking care of your physical health one of them.