Can exercise play a role in an addiction treatment program?

Fighting off addiction can be a lengthy and difficult process. The pain addiction can bring on is sometimes intolerable and many may fall into a regretful relapse. Many patients fall into a relapse after a short time attending an addiction program, but some may even have a relapse after years of attending and completing a program. The creators of sympathize and understand the difficulties of fighting and eventually overcoming the powerful hold that comes with addiction.

Exercise can help the brain resist temptations and is sometimes suggested and/or prescribed by doctors and addiction experts. It has been proven that vigorous exercise increases dopamine concentrations in the brain and according to Mark Smith, a neuroscience professor at the Davidson University, gives the brain the same effects as the addiction. This study has been going on for years and researchers were surprised the connection between increased physical activity and the decreased risk in substance abuse. Exercise has the same effect on the brain as do anti-depressants taken orally. Doctors have seen that longtime abusers have an increased risk in developing mental disorders such as stress, anxiety and depression and found that exercise can also help in treating such conditions.

Recovering addicts have been reported in saying that they prefer to participate in groups when performing physical activities associated with treatment. Treatment programs do sometimes organize outings such as bicycling or hiking encouraging physical activity to their patients, so that they may continue with being physically active when they have completed the program successfully. Doctors have discovered an increase in successful recoveries when exercise takes part in a treatment program.

It is said that a recovering addict will never be fully recovered and that the temptation will always be there. However, exercise and a proper diet can help in trying to calm these cravings to a degree where the recovering addict is no longer at risk in having a relapse. Some experts believe the key a successful recovery and to remain drug-free is to continue with an exercise regimen even long after the recovering addict has completed the recovery program. The brain is used to an increase of dopamine. Exercising has now taken the place of supplying the brain its increased need for dopamine instead of whatever the recovering addict was abusing. If the exercises or physical activity suddenly stops, the risk of a relapse can be at risk. It seems “boredom” can trigger the brain in wanting a quick fix of dopamine which can cause an addict (or a recovering addict) to rely on drugs to motivate the brain to want to engage in some sort of activity.

Consult a Personal Trainer

Just like everything else in life to much of a good thing could be harmful if not fatal. Consulting with a doctor to involve a physical trainer may be beneficial in the recovery process. Overdoing certain kinds of exercises may harm the body in many different ways such as serious sprains, or fatal injuries to vital organs and even brain aneurysms. It’s been suggested that a recovering addict should pick up a hobby of some sort to help minimize the risk of over exercising.

  1. hobojimmy says:

    For instance:
    If you have a serious COCAINE problem, riding your bike and posting your destinations and the miles you’ve gone so others “can NOT give a shit”, might be a step in the right direction.

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