There is no denying that addiction recovery is possibly one of the hardest things people will have to deal with in their lives. Still, it’s not impossible with the proper support and determination. Sadly, however, only around 19% of people who need treatment for addiction support receive it, and even fewer people who do get the treatment they need think they need it.
Focussing on your physical and mental health as you navigate addiction recovery can help you build better foundations to support your recovery and work on improving your lifestyle without relying on substances to get you through the day.
These two aspects of wellness have often been overlooked when discussing recovery from substance abuse. We tend to focus almost exclusively on the adverse effects that drugs or alcohol have had on an individual’s life rather than the positive impact that leaving those vices behind can have on their future. The reality is that a person cannot just flip a switch and expect all of their issues to go away overnight. Furthermore, an addict cannot just stop using one substance without addressing other potential roadblocks in their life that may lead them back towards drug use as a coping mechanism again.
What Is Mental Health?
The World Health Organization defines mental health as “a state of emotional and psychological wellbeing.” The WHO states, “Good mental health helps individuals deal effectively with life’s challenges and achieve their full potential.” Good mental health can be achieved through meditation, therapeutic activities like art or exercise, self-reflection, and spending time with friends and loved ones. Mental health plays a role in addiction recovery because it provides balance.
What Is Physical Health?
Physical health is the physical state of an individual. It is composed of many different factors, including weight and activity levels. Physical health is essential because it affects how someone feels mentally and emotionally. Mental health and physical health are closely linked, so maintaining a healthy weight and staying active can help a person feel better overall. Being physically active also reduces stress levels, which helps with mental health. A key component of addiction recovery is learning to cope with stressors healthily. Accessing appropriate medical care for any conditions can strengthen your physical health and mental wellness.
Why Is Supporting Mental And Physical Health Important?
It is essential to support both mental and physical health during addiction recovery. The mental aspect of wellbeing is often overlooked, leading to a relapse. And the physical part is often ignored, resulting in poor health. The truth about drug and alcohol abuse is that it’s not just about what the substance does to you physically; it’s also about how it affects your entire life mentally. Most addicts don’t become addicted because they want to; they do so because they are running from something else in their life that has caused them pain or discomfort. In order for an addict to recover from alcoholism or drug addiction, it’s essential to address these underlying issues with professional help from a therapist and doctor who specialize in addiction recovery. They can help you learn more about what caused your addiction in the first place and develop coping mechanisms outside of drugs or alcohol that will serve as a backup plan if you find yourself struggling again later on down the road.
How To Support Your Mental Health During Addiction Recovery
It is essential to acknowledge that addiction does not only affect the individual in question. Their family and friends are also impacted, whether through their loved one’s actions or by living in a household with an active addict. Mental health is crucial to recovery, as it can drastically alter a person’s long-term outlook on life. A positive mental health state will provide you with the drive and motivation necessary to stay away from addiction. With a little bit of initial investment, you can eliminate any negative emotions that may lead to drug use down the line.
Supporting your mental health during recovery means finding something that helps you work through your issues and gives you something to look forward to every day.
Many people find using journals or gratitude diaries helpful for getting negative or complex thoughts out of their heads to make better sense of them.
Talking to an addiction specialist or finding a treatment plan from a faith based program can help you support your recovery and your faith at the same time. Getting the proper support is crucial via an in-patient treatment center that offers mental health support or finding a 12-step program that works for you and helps you work through your issues for improved mental health.
Practicing mindfulness and meditation can take practice, but studies are showing they can be beneficial in improving mental health for additional recovery and allow you to focus on being in the moment and facing your issues more consciously.
It can also be beneficial to change your thinking and how you feel about yourself. Stop using words to attack who you are and your choices. Instead, focus on appreciating the changes and effort you are putting in to change your life and give yourself support and praise for everything you are doing to get your life back on track. Supporting your mental health isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon, and you need to be focussing on it at all times for maximum support. Take it one day or even one hour at a time.
Another great option is to help other people. Volunteering can give you a sense of purpose and direction to support your own recovery while facilitating your rehabilitation into society. Not only will you get a mental health boost from supporting people who need help, such as those in a similar position to yourself, but you can also do some good in another person’s life. If you don’t want to volunteer, then taking up a new hobby can be effective to help you fill up your time and discover something new about yourself too.
How To Support Your Physical Health During Addiction Recovery
When you’re recovering from addiction, it is possible that your physical health could decline. This is because the drugs or alcohol you abuse (possibly for years) can be detrimental to your body in various ways. As a result, it’s essential to pay attention to your physical health during addiction recovery. You need to be taking care of yourself so that you don’t have any negative side effects from the withdrawal process.
One way to help improve your physical health is by maintaining a healthy diet and getting plenty of sleep. Those two things will ensure that your body stays strong and healthy throughout recovery. Another way you can maintain a healthy lifestyle during a drug or alcohol addiction recovery process is by exercising regularly. At a minimum, try doing some light cardio exercises every day like walking, biking, swimming, etc.
Yoga and pilates are exercises that can work to support your physical and mental health. Especially yoga. The calming movements and slow and steady pace coupled with a focus on your breathing and control can help you find balance both physically and mentally. They can be a massive support during a time when you need extra assistance getting your life back together.
Exercise will help with weight loss and muscle tone and decrease stress levels, likely high after quitting an addictive substance. Another thing to consider during addiction recovery is socialization with other people who are going through the same struggle as you are and can support you along the way.
Another thing to consider is that exercise can help flush out toxins from your body from substance abuse. When you introduce harmful chemicals to your body, some can linger long past when you stop taking them, such as alcohol. Exercise can help you rid your body of any toxins leftover and give you that much-needed dopamine and serotonin boost to provide you with a natural high and energy boost.
Spending time with others who know what you’re going through and won’t judge you for being in this position is crucial because it’s hard enough trying to live without drugs or alcohol; it’s even more complicated when others don’t understand why you’re making these choices in life and turn their back on you for them.
Recovering from drug or alcohol abuse is hard work, but you can get through it. Ensuring you have the correct support whether you get professional treatment or tackle your addiction yourself. But also need to make sure you are looking at the bigger picture and doing so to support your recovery. This means paying particular attention to your physical and mental health during this time.
Once you have overcome the issues that lead to your addiction in the first place, you can start to rebuild a healthier, happier life that maintains your newfound sobriety and reinforces the changes you have made to sustain your chosen lifestyle.
Remember,you can do this, and while addiction recovery isn’t easy, the benefits will be worth it as you learn to relive your life in a new, more fulfilling way.