Drug addiction is a very serious illness which has significant negative impact on one’s mental and physical health. Addiction is a condition that requires a variety of treatments including medical and psychotherapy. There is pertinent research existing to confirm that exercise plays a pivotal role in forging recovery. Crossroads Centre holistic approach to treatment and recovery process helps to facility self-awareness and speed up the body’s natural healing processes. During my tenure at Crossroads, which spans over a decade, I have observed several positive behavioral changes which are attributed to exercise; these include enthusiasm, excitement, anticipation, exhilaration, commitment and focus.
Many clients commit to continue exercising and often request exercise programs to take away thus leaving me to concur with the evidence that exercise helps in sustaining recovery and sobriety.
Exercise has the ability to improve mood, especially depression and lack of motivation. As the body begins to experience physical activity, the brain releases endorphin a chemical which boosts mood and gives an upbeat feeling of euphoria and excitement. Along with endorphins the brain also releases dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin combining to bring that good feeling. As a bonus, physical exercise helps the body to decrease production of cortisol, a stress inducing hormone. It has been proven that depression, stress, anxiety, sleeplessness and low self-esteem can help to create a negative approach towards the process of recovery. In fact studies have shown that a person in recovery who exhibits in a state of depression, anxiety and lack of motivation, often improves these conditions once they become involved in regular physical activity.
The Physical Effect
A physical fit physique, mental and psychological satisfaction usually brings confidence, self-awareness, admiration and encouragement, traits often lacking when persons are in active addiction. These benefits are synonymous with physical activity. Additionally, exercise purges the body from stress, tension and illness by improving an immune system which was impaired by depression and anxiety disorders. As an alternative, exercise may serve to replace the pleasurable experience which the body received from substance abuse; it can also become a viable alternative to compulsive drug use. Exercise during rehabilitation and beyond, has shown the ability to reduce the potential for possible relapse.
Research provides evidence based information to better plan and implement change. The exercise effect on drug recovery and sobriety supports better outcomes when practiced consistently.