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Exercise’s Secret Power During Alcohol Addiction Recovery

Exercise’s Secret Power During Alcohol Addiction Recovery

Once you cross the line between occasional drinking and a daily dose of alcohol, an addiction might become an issue in your life. Battling with alcoholism isn’t easy, and the journey towards recovery can be a highly challenging and complex one, so keeping yourself motivated is key here. From going to Alcohol rehab to seeing a therapist long-term and attending AA meetings, there are various actions you will need to pursue if you want your rehabilitation process to truly be a successful one. However, what you might not have exactly known until now is that exercising can have its own powerful role here. Starting to be more active can influence how rapidly and well you transition towards a completely sober lifestyle. Healthy living is the way you can start cutting out harmful habits entirely and patterns, so adopting the right approach here can be essential. There are a few things you should know about exercise during recovery, and the following insights might help you on the subject:

 

Stress reduction

Stress might have been the factor that had triggered your alcohol dependency in the first place. A few drinks might have started to seem the ideal solution to temporarily leave your problems behind and enjoy momentary relief. The stress reduction alcohol seemed to bring you was however allusive, and once you develop an actual alcohol problem, this will in fact be directly linked to increased levels of stress, becoming its main cause. During recovery, knowing how to navigate this issue and keep it under control can influence your entire healing process. Physical activity is suggested by experts as an incredibly effective method of alleviating stress. The chemicals released in your brain during exercise serve as a stress-booster, and it will become much easier for you to manage the entire situation, when you are more relaxed and at-peace.

Read our guide to Stress Management Skills When In Addiction Recovery

Working out can offer structure to your daily schedule

With a clear schedule to follow on a daily basis, finding the time or excuses to drink will become a bit more complicated. One of the aspects that not many people realize is that daily workouts offer a structure to one’s day. Whether you sign up for a yoga or spinning class in the morning, you hit the gym after work or develop a set workout plan, when you have an exercise itinerary in-check, you will be encouraged to keep yourself on track, and reduce the temptation of putting yourself in scenarios where alcohol is involved (attending a party or going out for a drink with friends).

Restful sleep

The cessation of alcohol will have a negative impact on your sleep schedule. Especially during early recovery, you will find yourself dealing with sleepless nights and a constant state of tiredness and fatigue. Difficulties in falling asleep, or constantly waking up at night due to alcohol withdrawal can also increase your cravings and might often determine those in an early healing phase to go through a relapse. Well, once you start prioritizing exercise, and become physically active, you will be able to restore sleep quality. Regardless of what type of workout routine you have, when you engaging in proper and regular exercise, and impressive improvement will be noticed in terms of both sleep quality and duration. When you start resting peacefully at night, tackling challenges when you are awake will naturally become easier, and that of course includes continuing your journey towards a completely sober life.

Boosted energy

Boosted energy and improved mood are two of the major benefits anyone who is physically active enjoys on a daily basis. Considering the difficult time you are going through, and how much your battle against addiction has probably affected all areas in your life, you would have quite a lot to gain out of a boost in the energy and mood departments. The boost in oxygen levels experienced during workouts has the role of increasing your general energy levels.  Dealing with life responsibilities when you are only recently clean can seem overwhelming, so you would need all the extra energy you could get, and physical activity can bring you impressive gains here. Your mood and state of mind (which will seldom be great during initial alcoholism healing) could also be ameliorated.

Reduces alcohol and drug-seeking behavior

Besides all of these benefits that are certainly helpful during rehabilitation, exercise has been directly linked to a reduction in drug-seeking behavior, and that includes alcohol as well. Drug Abuse institutions have carried out studies that indicate how strenuous workouts can reduce cravings, making it far easier for you to stay on track and prevent dealing with a relapse. While not working 100 percent on its own, exercise can certainly have a powerful effect and might heal you reach your healing goals faster.

A healthy view on life

While working out can do wonders, as you have seen in the information above, you need to understand that complete physical, mental, emotional and spiritual recovery demands from you a healthy way of seeing life. If you continue with unbeneficial habits, even if you are pushing yourself into including exercise in your schedule, the entire process will be more difficult and the result not as satisfying. Together with alcohol, you should cut out smoking, binge eating and other patterns that have contributed to a disorganized and unhealthy lifestyle. When you are eating right and you value your health, you’ll be more motivated to reach full recovery and you will completely understand the role of exercise here.

Complete healing and recovery after a long battle with addiction won’t be easy, and your actions on the matter are extremely important. Simply going to a rehabilitation center might not be sufficient, you need to focus on other areas of your life, in order to strengthen the results and keep yourself focused on a sober life. Working out has been pointed out by experts to work incredibly well with alcoholism rehabilitation, and you should use this to your full advantage. If you take into account the suggestion mentioned here and start prioritizing an active lifestyle, the results will certainly impress you.

If you think you are drinking to much then read our guide on How to Stop Drinking Alcohol or Call one of our addiction experts for free on 0203 955 7700 and take the first steps to treat your addiction.

Dipesh Pattni / 26th March 2019/ Posted in: Latest News

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Detoxification (detox) is the medical intervention required for someone who is physically dependent to drugs or alcohol. If required, medical detoxification would be the first step taken in residential rehab. Detox is used to prevent uncomfortable and dangerous (even fatal) withdrawals symptoms resulting in suddenly becoming abstinent from alcohol/certain drugs.

The goal of a medical detox is to aid in the physical healing required following long term addiction and rid the body of all together of substance whilst providing a cushion for unpleasant symptoms of withdrawals. Detox is not considered the whole treatment for drug/alcohol addiction and it is always recommended that a comprehensive rehabilitation program is used along side to help maintain long term abstinence.

Medication is often required for alcohol detox. If you are dependent on alcohol and experiencing withdrawal symptoms it is vitally important to seek medical advice prior to stopping. There is a long list of medications used when treating alcohol addiction and the exact medication given to an individual will depend on their needs/medical history. Some of these include;

  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Diazapam (vailium)


Librium and Valium are the most commonly used detox medication in the UK. All medication used to help with alcohol detox have been proven to help reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms.

There are also a number of drugs recombined by the NHS to help treat alcohol misuse. Some of these include:

  • Naltrexone
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
  • Nalmefene
  • Acamprosate (campral)

Medication is always required for heroin detox. For someone suffering from heroin addiction, the thought of detoxification (detox) can be exceptionally daunting. Withdrawal symptoms from opiates, such as heroin, can be severe and include pain, vomiting, nausea and shaking.

There are different ways that heroin detox can be carried out, most usually either ‘maintenance therapy’ or ‘full medical detox’.

Attempting to switch from heroin to a heroin substitute, usually on a controlled prescription, is known as Maintenance therapy. Subsites used are most often methadone or buprenorphine.

A full medical detox from heroin will always be carried out in a residential rehab setting and will allow the individual to switch form heroin to a substitute and slowly withdraw completing treatment free of all substances. Someone using a heroin substitute can choose to have a full medical detox at any time, however detoxing substances such a methadone can often add to the length of detox required. Drugs most commonly used to fully detox from heroin are, Subutex, Suboxone and Methadone. Much like alcohol, the exact drugs used will be dependent on the individuals needs/medical history.

Once detoxed from heroin the risk of overdose is much higher following relapse due to tolerance following withdrawal.

The length of treatment in a residential rehab depends on a number of elements. Some substances require longer periods of detox than others.

Private paying patients will also often choose a length of stay that suites their therapeutic and financial needs. As a rule, a full treatment program in a rehab is considered to be 28 days (often referred to as a month), however, treatment is offered in several different ways and lengths starting at 7 days.

Treating alcohol addiction will always require a minimum of 7-10 days, this would be considered the detoxification (detox) faze. The length required for treating drug addiction can vary drastically depending on the substance being used. Detox for Heroin addiction is generally around 14 days minimum, with more time required if substances such a methadone are being used. Treating prescription drug addiction can often take the longest. The time required for treating gambling addiction, eating disorders and sex addiction will be based on the individuals needs.

Rehab programs can be as long as an individual requires but primary treatment is normally caped at 12 weeks, with the offering for further secondary and tertiary treatment thereafter.

*based on average rehab stays, everyone will vary dependant on needs and medical requirement/history.

There is no need for your employer to know that you are seeking help for trauma and addiction unless you choose to involve them with the process. All employers should have a policy that explains what you do if you cannot come to work due to illness – illness to include treating alcohol addiction/treating drug addiction.

If your work absence extends over 7 days your employer is likely to require an official statement of fitness to work which would be obtained from your GP. This would need to supply evidence of your illness as well as any adjustments required for returning to work, fazed return or reduced hours, but does not need to specify in detail the reason why you have been absent.

If you are absent from work for 7 days of less, for example entering rehab for a detoxification (detox) on a Saturday for 7-10 days taking a full week away from work, you can self-certify your illness by letting your employer work you will not be attending work for that period of time. Exactly how an individual would do this would be dependent on a specific companies’ policies on taking sick leave.

Any time longer than 7 days it is likely an employer will require a note from the individuals GP certifying their sickness and a fit note on return. Most companies have a clearly outlined policy on sickness and receiving sick pay so the exact requirement can vary. A rehab will always be willing to advise on time off work.

How much does rehab cost is a very frequently asked question. The cost of treatment can range from £1,000 per week upwards depending on the place, with luxury rehab being the most expensive.

There are free options available on the NHS but the waitlist of those looking for free treatment is longer than that for privately paying patients. Some private health insurance policies will cover treatment in some rehabs around the country.

Choosing the right rehab centre will often be based on priced but it is important to follow guidance on the most suitable treatment centre for an individual’s needs which our expert team of advisers are on hand to offer.

There are certainly pro’s for both treatment near by and traveling for treatment with one of the most asked question being should I get rehab near me? There are rehabs all over the UK and around the world that all offer expert programs, let’s look at how to choose a rehab.

Local treatment

Being close to home gives certainly has benefits. Visitors are normally permitted in rehab following the first 7 days stay, therefore if an individual is in treatment for a length of time longer than that being local will make it easier for loved ones to visit.

Most rehab centres will also provide a full aftercare plan for someone following treatment, this will include ongoing aftercare in the specific treatment centre. Living close by can make it easy to take full advantage of ongoing aftercare. There can also often be the option for ongoing care with an individual therapist, again being close by will allow that treatment to be carried out face to face.

Some individuals wish to be local but are willing to look broader, for instance the greater city of residence (London, Manchester, Liverpool, etc)

Treatment Away

Getting treatment away from home can be very appealing to some. Being out of the local area makes it a lot harder to just walk out of treatment as resources locally are unknown. Some also take comfort in knowing that they are not near home and focus more on treatment.

As the price for treatment can vary so much from one residential treatment centre to another, private paying patients often would rather travel to keep the cost down. Those using private health insurance may also have to travel to find a treatment centre covered in their policy.

When opting for treatment away from home this can be anywhere in the UK and also abroad. Aftercare can still be carried out and very successful using tools such as The Online Rehab.

There is no right or wrong when choosing where to go to residential rehab, but our expert advisors are always on hand to help provide information on all possible options.

Whilst millions of people in the UK have taken recreational drugs (amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, crack, crystal meth, GHB, heron, ketamine, methadone, and prescription drugs) and drank alcohol not all become ‘addicted’. Most recent reports show that 279,793 individuals were in contact with drug and alcohol misuse services in the last year with over half of that being from opiate addiction and a quarter for alcohol.

There are several risk factors invoiced in addiction and those using drugs and alcohol socially, simply take the risk. These risks are as follows;

Tolerance – basically, if a substance is used repeatedly an individual’s tolerance to it will build. This will result in more of the same substance being required to get the same effect. In the long run this can easily lead to addiction and physical dependencies.

Environmental risks – these can include influences such a peer pressure and stress as well as physical or mental abuse of an individual (particularly as a child). Overall, those who live with frequent pressures and stress are more likely to reach for a substance to cope and are therefore at higher risk of becoming addicted.

Drug type – it is very well known that certain drugs are simply more addictive than others. Using substances such as heroin increases the risk of becoming addicted for need to ‘chase’ a high as well as physical dependency.

Drug administration – how a drug is administered can affect its addictive qualities. A drug injected rather than smoked or snorted will release a quicker and more intense high thus making it psychologically (and in many cases physically) more addictive.

Biological factors – it is now widely reported that being an addict is not only psychological but also biological. This includes your genetic makeup, mental health, sex and age. It is also reported to be 8 times more likely for the child of an addict to become an addict themselves.

Its believed that addiction is approximately half genetics and therefore some are 50% more likely to become addicted than others.

How do you help a loved one trapped in addiction?

The first step is to help and encourage the individual to become willing to accept help. They do not need to be shouting this off the rooftops, but they do need to be willing to go into treatment. There are ways to help someone become willing to get treatment for alcohol or treatment for drugs.

Set boundaries – set boundaries and stick to them. Once you have laid them out follow through with whatever consequences you have set however hard it is.

Stop finances – if you are financially supporting someone stopping these finances can be the quickest way for the addict needing to ask for help. With no money to acquire a substance an addict’s options become very limited.

Intervention – getting together with other family members/friends/colleagues and staging an intervention is often very successful in the fist stage of acceptance and gaining an admission to residential rehab.

You can’t make them quit, this can lead to dangerous withdrawal. Boundaries are very important in helping someone become willing to get help. Unfortunately you cannot do someone’s recovery for them and without self-motivation it is very hard to make it work.

The next step is to call our highly trained advisers 0203 955 7700.

There is a huge range of rehab options available and where to start can be completely over whelming so let us help.