Our lives are entirely complex, filled with thousands of thoughts, feelings, moments and more. All of these impact us not only on a daily basis, but also in the long-run – in the grand scheme of our lives. True health and well-being is based in three primary areas that tend to cover nearly every aspect of living: mind, body and spirit. Part of addiction recovery is working on emphasizing these three areas of life – because addiction in and of itself can take away from these areas more than we realize.
How Addiction Affects the Mind, Body and Spiri
When we’re actively involved in substance abuse, our brain becomes flooded with dopamine, a “feel good” chemical that causes us to crave more and more. Many friends and family members find that their loved one behaves quite different when addiction is involved – for example, individuals may suddenly lie, steal, or act defensive/mean when substances are involved, even if they were never do such things sober. Harvard Health likens an addiction to a “hijacking” of the brain: “The brain adapts in a way that actually makes the sought-after substance or activity less pleasurable.”
This is one of the most commonly discussed areas of addiction, and that’s because it’s the easiest to see; addiction can significantly affect the body in not only the way the brain functions, but also in the way the body functions. A clear indicator of this is when someone becomes intoxicated – they’re no longer able to think clearly, and they may struggle with making rational decisions. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that long-term addiction can lead to a number of physical health problems such as: a weakened immune system, damaged kidneys, liver or lungs, heart problems, rotted teeth, skin infections and more.
The least discussed by society – but one of the most important aspects to discuss in treatment – is how addiction affects the spirit. Substances can take over nearly every aspect of a person’s life, and this can cause them to lose important relationships with friends and family, their career progression, meaningful hobbies and more. Over time, a person’s life can become centered by only substances and less with things that contribute to happiness, health and fulfillment.
Regaining Solidarity in Recovery
Treatment is about not only treating the addiction, but also helping a person regain balance in mind, body and spirit. Everyone is on different paths and have different needs, so obviously customized treatment is a necessity – without it, certain needs may not be met, and a person may become more prone to reverting back to the addiction lifestyle. There are many ways that the mind, body and spirit can be replenished in treatment:
Tools for the Mind
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help individuals reduce old, negative thought patterns that are keeping them down and replace them with newer, more productive ones to uplift their happiness and health
- Group therapy can provide valuable lessons and experiences along with moments of connection to build social support
- Nutrition management may be covered, which can have direct positive implications on the mind
- Other forms of treatment, such as dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), can provide incredibly useful tools for everyday life
- And more
Tools for the Body
- Exercise is a crucial component of healing and growth in recovery, as it reduces stress, improves serotonin levels, and sets us up to think more clearly
- Nutrition not only affects the brain, but the body too – and with healthier eating habits, we’re likely to suffer less with mental illness and despair
- Proper rest can help the body heal itself from the damages of addiction – which is greatly needed for a person’s full recovery
- Activities such as rock climbing and playing sports not only gives people a chance to connect to others, but it also yields positive physical benefits such as: greater flexibility and strength, enhanced blood circulation, and others.
- And more
Tools for the Spirit
- Mindfulness can help us regain a sense of balance amidst the chaos; the American Psychological Association (APA) explains that mindfulness can help reduce rumination and stress while boosting working memory, focus, less emotional reactivity, greater meta-cognitive flexibility, relationship satisfaction and so much more.
- Activities such as yoga can not only aid the body and mind, but the spirit, too – with a greater sense of grounding, we can make decisions that are more proactive for our health
- Social support is crucial for a happy, healthy life, and treatment can aid in building our connection to others through a variety of sobriety-related activities
- Therapy can help us address some much needed areas for concern, and this can help us achieve forgiveness, strength, hope, faith, love and more
- And others
Holistic Recovery: What It Means and Why It’s Important
The Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) explains that holistic recovery, “…Encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit and community. The array of services and supports available should be integrated and coordinated.”
By covering all aspects of living, we’re more capable of achieving a well-rounded recovery – and are thus less likely to revert to old patterns of behavior. If you’re ready to pursue a personalized treatment program in an environment where people truly care about you, speak with a professional from Avalon Malibu today.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 844-857-5992 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you – it’s never too late to begin taking steps towards a happier, healthier life.