Does Exercise Help Drug Addiction Treatment?

An article on the Huffington Post website suggests that working out can enhance drug recovery treatment. One reason for this is that exercise boosts the endorphins, which submit messages to the brain through neurotransmitters that keep the mood stable. When a person is trying to stop using drugs, the endorphins are missing the stimulus that was needed to produce the “high” feeling that comes from abusing substances. Working out can boost the mood safely, which takes away the need to engage in drug use. Endorphins also help to boost confidence, and when a person feels more secure, he/she is more likely to continue on the recovery journey, even on difficult days.

Dr. Nora Volkow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse also asserts that exercise can reduce stress and alleviate depression, which are two of the main reasons why people turn to drug use. Working out also occupies a significant portion of time. Recovering addicts need to be as busy as possible with positive and constructive activity. Too much idle time can cause the addict to start thinking discouraging thoughts about becoming completely sober, and are likely to start using again.

Dr. Volkow also suggests that addicts exercise in a social setting. This encourages more interaction with people who will not influence them to use drugs, and is a great way to make new friends. Joining a gym and participating in a water aerobics or spin class serves as great motivation for a recovering addict to continue exercising regularly.

Noticing a change in one’s body is another reason that exercise is helpful for drug addicts. When a person starts to see that he/she is losing weight, has clearer skin, and toned muscles, this helps to establish a positive self image. Taking pride in one’s appearance and health is a great way to ensure that drug use isn’t a problem again.



2 Responses to “Does Exercise Help Drug Addiction Treatment?”

  1. Tom Charles | August 17, 2012 at 12:35 am #

    It may not be a cure, but aerobic activity could help strengthen the effects of treatment for addiction.

  2. Anna Lind | August 17, 2012 at 12:55 am #

    Exercise can help reduce drug cravings. But is exercise itself a kind of drug?

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