As devastating as drug abuse is, the power of the human body to heal is even more powerful. While the idea of getting sober and staying that way for the rest of your life might seem daunting – or even impossible – the truth is that, when you harness your body’s natural healing process, amazing things can happen. With professional help, you can learn how to get clean and to stay that way.
Physical Recovery from Addiction
Drugs wreak havoc on the body in many ways. The following issues may result when someone abuses narcotics, hallucinogens and psychotropic substances:
- Nerve damage
- Lung tissue destruction
- Sinus cavity and soft tissue damage
- Stomach and gastrointestinal damage
- Brain tissue destruction
- Interruption of proper endocrine function
- Hormonal imbalances
- Immune system compromise
- Circulatory system malfunction
- Heart disease
Many long-term addicts end up dying from physical ailments related to their drug use. Many others live in misery and pain while they assume that they can do nothing about damage that occurs in their bodies. However, this thought is almost never true. The body has incredible functions to rebuild itself—cellular regeneration allows for the healing of almost any body part, and neural plasticity helps the brain rebuild itself after years of chemical abuse. In fact, all the body usually needs to accomplish such amazing healing are the following factors:
With those three aspects, the body can generate new, healthy cells to replace the ones that are damaged by drug and alcohol abuse. By carefully administering specially coordinated medical care; doctors are able to reduce pain and discomfort while the body heals. Although the addict’s damaged brain will continue to tell her that healing is hopeless, that message is simply not true.
Psychological Recovery from Addiction
In most cases, the body recovers its natural chemical balance within a matter of days. This fact means that the worst physical withdrawal symptoms – and many of them are truly miserable – will recede in a week or less. However, the passing of detox symptoms does not mean that healing is complete; depending on the types and amounts of drugs you used along with how long you have been using them, the process of full recovery can take some time. Ergo, once the worst withdrawal symptoms fade, the real work of recovery begins, because the psychological nature of the disease is the most difficult part to overcome.
Addiction changes the neurochemical functioning of the brain. Tiny neural pathways are built in the pleasure center of the brain. These pathways turn behaviors into habits. Any behavior or substance that blocks negative emotional symptoms or that creates positive ones will be noticed by the brain, which means it will eventually become a compulsive behavior. For that reason, most addicts keep returning to drugs even when they desperately want to stay clean, because the neural pathways created by the addiction are more powerful than conscious or rational thought.
Just as the body can build new cells to replace ones damaged by drugs, the brain continues to build new neural pathways. Therefore, the goal in recovery is to find new ways of feeling pleasure. By repeating these healthier acts, the brain builds new neural pathways to drive new behaviors. While some addicts with incomplete treatment move from one addiction to the next, with the proper help you can train yourself to stop finding pleasure in only drugs. You can learn to feel great after exercise, a good conversation and all of the other acts that make life worthwhile. These neural pathways take longer to build, so recovery takes considerable time, and the addicted pathways remain there under the surface. Ergo, counseling, support group meetings and hanging out with other sober people tend to help recovering addicts stay clean for the long haul.
Find the Best Recovery Program
It is both difficult and vital to find the best recovery program for your unique needs. While some traditional programs focus solely on medication and a prison-like loss of freedom, more effective ones identify all of the physical and psychological issues that patients face, and then they customize treatment plans for each client. When you are considering a treatment program, make sure it offers the following services:
- Individual counseling
- Medically supervised detox
- Dual Diagnosis treatment
- Support group meetings
- Educational classes
- Art therapy
- Adventure therapy
- Service projects
- Access to inspirational films and books
- Relaxation exercises
- Moral and spiritual support
- Family counseling services
The goal of treatment is to heal your body and mind. No two addicts are exactly the same, so no two addiction stories are either; ergo, the most effective programs develop unique regimens for each client and make changes as necessary. The work of recovery is all designed to have the body engage its natural healing process. With time, nutrition and rest, you will be amazed at what your body can do.
Help Finding Recovery Resources
If you have questions about how you can harness your body’s natural healing process to support addiction recovery, then please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline now. Our admissions coordinators are standing by with confidential advice, and assistance; they can even connect you with the best recovery programs for your specific needs. Let us help you take a step toward healing by calling now.