Your chances of recovery or relapse depend on a number of different factors; including how well you can cope with stress, which you spend your free time with, how you spend your free time and what your sense of self esteem is like.
Recovering from a physical addiction might be easy to manage once you have completed your detox, but triggers and cravings may persist even years after you have recovered fully. To stay healthy you need to remain patient and honest with yourself, sustain supportive relationships, and stay emotionally and mentally strong. Here are some crucial tips to help you or someone you love through the recovery process.
Understanding The Link Between Stress And Drug Addiction
Statistically, people who experience stress and traumas early on in their lives are more susceptible to drug abuse. Also people who suffer from mental health problems such as anxiety and depression may also be predisposed to drug addiction. Often people who abuse pain prescription medications cite stress as one of the reasons on why they started.
However, becoming addicted to opioids can cause permanent changes to parts of the brain that respond to stress. Opioid users tend to overreact to stress even after their detox is complete.
Acquiring New Habits
Changing habits and rituals is important to overcome addiction. When you are addicted to a substance you change your life to suit your addiction. When you want to overcome addiction you have to make conscious changes to your daily rituals and routines so you can work the addictive tendencies out of your life.
One program, which breaks recovery down into 12 phases, says that new habits are important for stress management:
You may have been using your drug as a reward or to help you deal with stress. As the fourth step of the recovery process, learning new habits should help you deal with stress. You will also need to find new social outlets and, in many cases, new hobbies.
Support Networks And Recovery
For many people who relapse into addictions for pain medication, one of the major triggers is the fact that they cannot sustain intimate relationships. This can be challenging from both sides. Perhaps trust was broken or boundaries were ignored but ultimately the person’s chances of recovery without relapse are very low if they do not have the necessary support structures in place.
By the same token, friends with a negative influence need to be weeded out of your social circle. Anyone whom you associate with drug use should be removed from your environment. People who supported your drug use, or who did not empower you to try and stop it, are not friends. Only you can enforce this rule and ensure it is stuck to.
The Importance Of Support Groups
Some recovery experts believe that support groups can make or break a person’s chances of recovery on their own. And there is no doubt that people who have wider support networks and who attend regular meetings do enjoy greater success rates than those who opt to go it alone. In a group environment people, can give one another peer support and challenge each other. There are support groups for narcotics abuse, alcohol abuse and for groups that support replacement drugs for recovery.
Exercise And Addiction
While no scientific studies have been done to show how exercise can help in the recovery process, it is known that exercise promotes a release of endorphins in the body. Endorphins help us with stress relief and allow us to feel good, which is difficult to achieve when you are recovering from drug abuse.
WebMD tells us of the importance of exercise:
Besides improving overall health, exercise improves mood and builds self-esteem, key areas in drug abuse recovery. Thirty minutes of daily physical activity, like brisk walking, will bring overall health benefits. Exercising with a group will also enhance interpersonal relationships and help develop connections outside the world of addiction.
Recovery And Eating Habits
Not only does the drug you also cause harm to the body directly, it also results in negative lifestyle changes. In most cases, people who abuse drugs eat less food and less frequently resulting in weight loss.
Drug use can also interfere with metabolic and organ function, as well as your psychological well-being. Different drugs have different effects on the body. Opiates, for example, may cause vomiting and nausea as well as diarrhea and constipation. This can all result in poor nutrition and electrolyte imbalance. According to Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia:
Stimulants like methamphetamine, cocaine and crack usually cause loss of appetite, poor nutrition and weight loss. Sleep deprivation is also common, which can also interfere with the body’s metabolic function.
People with substance abuse are more likely to relapse when they have poor eating habits. This is why regular meals are so important. People who are addicted to drugs and alcohol often forget what it’s like to be hungry and instead think of this feeling as a drug craving. They should be encouraged to consider that they may be hungry when cravings become strong.
Never Underestimate The Power Of The Professional
All drugs can be difficult to break away from, but some more so than others. And yes, while a support network of friends and family is important, a professional’s intervention can make a world of difference. National Geographic says:
Addiction cannot be cured, but it can be managed. Getting help from a professional that approaches addiction as a disease is first step to a successful recovery. By following the recommendations of experienced professionals with access to the latest advances in therapy and medicine, individuals will have the best chance at recovery and bright and happy future.
Yes, to a degree, your recovery is your choice. In fact whether you recover or not is completely up to you. But a professional who deals with addictions and different personalities on a daily basis can guide you in the right direction and help you to make informed decisions about your treatment options.