Drug and alcohol abuse has deep roots in stress. Recreational therapy, such as an exercise therapy program, provides a method for dealing with this tension. When it’s part of evidence-based treatment, it significantly boosts healing. Here’s how it works.
Without Recreational Therapy, Stress Builds
Stress is little more than a feeling of pressure that you might experience at work or home. Typically, it’s a temporary, psychological strain. For example, there’s a big presentation at work that you have to put together in a time crunch. Maybe you have to help your child with a science fair project at the last minute.
These types of stress have an endpoint. However, there are other forms of pressure, too. These are ongoing and don’t end. This type of stress creates an emotional strain that keeps on going.
It can result in feelings of depression or anxiety. Moreover, this stress can make you physically and emotionally ill. You can’t sleep. You feel like you’re in a trap with no way out.
How Do Stress and Addiction Connect?
Eventually, you reach a breaking point. You self-medicate to make the stress go away for a little while. An opioid or alcohol takes the edge off. Stimulants help you deal with depression.
When you self-medicate for an extended period, you eventually develop an addiction. Usually, substance abuse problems have physiological and psychological components. You realize that it’s time to get help when you’re powerless to stop. Maybe the withdrawal symptoms got your attention.
Rehab Introduces You to Recreational Therapy
It’s never too late to incorporate recreational therapy into your treatment. In fact, exercise therapy has multiple healing properties. For starters, it’s the antithesis to talk therapy. Rather than spending your time sitting, you’re moving around.
This movement results in fitness. Next, getting fit stimulates the brain to release dopamine, which is the body’s feel-good neurotransmitter. When you’re overcoming addiction, you might still be in the slump when natural dopamine release isn’t quite up to par. Exercise could be the boost you need.
However, there’s another reason why integrating this form of exercise into your treatment makes sense. Getting fitter builds self-esteem. Drug abuse erodes it. So, what does fitness therapy look like?
Getting fit doesn’t mean that you’ll be running a mile. Instead, it incorporates multiple modalities into a therapeutic approach to recovery. Examples include:
- Group yoga sessions that consist of social functioning and coping skills applications alongside exercise
- Relapse prevention training through the discovery of new activities and hobbies
- Stress management via physical activities
- Preparation for aftercare by building self-esteem that motivates you to take better care of yourself
- Experiential therapy that encourages both socialization and introspection
Fitness Therapy Becomes Part of a Therapeutic Approach
Of course, recreational therapy can’t stand alone. It needs to be part of evidence-based treatments that help you heal psychologically as well. Examples of such approaches include:
- Addiction education that enables you to understand how drugs affect your mind and body
- Individual talk therapy for a personalized session that meets your unique needs
- Cognitive behavioral therapy as a means of uncovering dysfunction
- Dialectical behavior therapy, which empowers you to control strong emotions
- Dual diagnosis treatment for underlying psychiatric disorders
It’s interesting to note that fitness therapy is a bit of a sticking point for many women. They don’t feel comfortable working out in a co-ed environment. Body image issues and memories of past sexual abuse can create additional stressors. In these situations, it’s better to attend a women ’s-only only facility.
There, you don’t interact with men. Sure, you’ll eventually have to build coping skills that let you work or learn alongside them. But until you get there, a single-sex environment is your best bet. It provides you with the nurturing, safe atmosphere that lets you participate comfortably in modalities such as exercise.
This structure’s precisely the kind of care you find at Soledad House. Here, you undergo evidence-based modalities and recreational therapy. Caring addiction treatment specialists work with you to customize your healing experience. Call 866.314.3222 today to start overcoming drug abuse.