Most addiction treatments involve some form of counseling or talk therapy. The focus of these treatments is to help the addict, or the recovering person, figure out the cause of their addictive behaviors even when they are already causing them more problems. Talk therapy or counseling helps in the management of the feelings that could be the underlying causes of addiction. It’s, therefore, not surprising that sometimes it’s better to fight addiction with your beloved one. Showing compassion to a loved one can motivate them to fight an addiction.
But, even when talk therapy or counseling helps with the emotional and mental aspects of an addiction, some individuals still need help with the physical aspect. That’s where sports like CrossFit and functional fitness exercise come in. For some recovering addicts, sports and exercise help with cravings management. It also serves as the backup therapy for their talk therapy.
For many years, exercising and sports have been recognized as the best self-help tools for recovering addicts. When undergoing treatment for addiction in couples’ rehab AddictionResource, some people find sports and exercise quite supportive of their recovery process. However, it’s only recently that experts recognized exercise as a form of addiction treatment in its own right.
How Exercise Affects Withdrawal
Drug withdrawal syndromes are the cause of the unpleasant experience that a person endures when they discontinue their use of the addictive substance. When the body of a person is used to having drugs or alcohol in the system, lack of it interferes with the established balance or stability. This is what causes the withdrawal symptoms whose intensity varies depending on the addictive substance that a person has been abusing and the duration for which they have used it.
Cravings are at the center of withdrawal syndromes. A person feels a strong urge to consume the substance they have been abusing. A person gets relief from withdrawal syndromes when they take the substance. Unfortunately, this leads to a relapse which makes addiction hard to overcome.
Common feelings that are associated with withdrawal syndromes include depression, anxiety, despair, lethargy, anger, irritability, and digestive problems. Some people experience nervous system symptoms like watery or dry mouth, sweating, muscle tension, and headaches.
Couples’ drug rehab facilities allow patients to exercise regularly as part of their treatment process. That’s because exercise helps with stress, depression, and anxiety reduction. These are the most common withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, more experts are suggesting that recovering addicts should exercise more to alleviate symptoms of withdrawal.
What Research Says
Unfortunately, there is limited research on exercise and withdrawal. However, substantial studies have been conducted on animals and smokers in the withdrawal stage of recovery from addiction.
People recovering from nicotine addiction have particularly been proven to benefit from exercise. Studies have shown that engaging in exercise reduces cigarette cravings while improving moods. Withdrawal symptoms also reduce when a person that is recovering from nicotine addiction exercise more often.
Currently, most studies on how exercise affects drugs and alcohol withdrawal have targeted animals. Withdrawal symptoms seem to reduce when lab rats in the withdrawal stage of the recovery process are allowed to exercise. Through such animal studies, researchers have found that exercise reduces seizure incidences during alcohol withdrawal. Anxiety is also reduced when animals exercise during morphine withdrawal. Some studies have shown that exercise can help in the repair of the brain’s pathways that are damaged by the use of methamphetamine.
How Exercise Prevents Relapse
After completing treatment in rehab for couples, individuals go back to society. Here, the chances of relapsing are very high because they may be exposed to triggers. Exercise can help such individuals because it helps in the prevention of relapse.
Research has shown that exercise improves treatment outcomes while reducing drug cravings. After completing the detoxification withdrawal phase, a person has lower urges to use drugs if they engage in sports or exercise. Engaging in exercise also helps with cravings reduction when recovering from marijuana addiction.
Exercise-based treatments are more effective because they combine sports with other therapies. Contingency management yields better results when combined with sports. This is more of a reward-based system than a therapy.
Animal studies have shown that exercise helps with relapse reduction for subjects recovering from drugs like cocaine and nicotine. Nevertheless, forced exercise can have the opposite effect.
Limits and Potential of Exercise as a Treatment for Addiction
Perhaps, drug rehab for families should incorporate more exercise sessions because there is a great potential that is yet to be explored when it comes to exercise as a supplementary addiction treatment. Sports have highly beneficial effects on withdrawal symptoms and mood. These effects make exercise a great form of therapy that helps the recovering addicts to avoid relapse, get healthier, and feel better. It can also help with the repair of the neurological damage that addictive substance use causes.
Nevertheless, exercise on its own might not help a person understand the reason they became an addict in the first place. It might also not help them recognize triggers and learn the best ways to manage emotions. However, exercising in itself might help with emotional state improvement. It might also enhance the effectiveness of other addiction treatment therapies.
Additionally, there are some levels of risk that a person is exposed to if they exercise excessively. Exercising for too long can lead to exercise addiction. Therefore, before developing and engaging in an exercise regime, it’s wise to talk to a doctor.
The Bottom Line
Talking to a person that’s recovering from drug addiction or alcoholism helps with their emotional and mental aspect of the problem. However, talk therapy or counseling might not be enough. Some individuals need physical exercise to go through the withdrawal phase of the addiction recovery process. That’s where sports or exercise comes in. research has shown that exercise can help individuals that are going through withdrawal from substance use addiction in many ways. As such, incorporating exercise in rehab for couples on drugs can help with their recovery process. Nevertheless, exercise as a complementary therapy has limits. That’s why it should not be used alone to treat addiction.