Overcoming drug addiction is never a simple or easy task. It takes lots of work, discipline and commitment. The threat of relapse is always around the corner and it is easy to give in when you are feeling weak, stressed, or things simply are not going your way. Recovery from drug addiction usually does not occur overnight. It is typically a long journey, and the journey can be arduous at times. But, with the right resources and support group drug addiction can be overcome. Drug addiction takes its toll on the body and spirit. It leaves you feeling emotionally and physically devastated. Drug use causes lots of damage to the body and mental health. The good news is the right support group, nutrition and exercise programs can help repair your body and get your life back.
How Drug Use Damages Your Body
Focusing on rehab and sobriety requires commitment, work and energy. People who have struggled with addiction and substance abuse know the toll it takes on their physical and emotional health. You can feel it and see it when you look in the mirror or when you look at old photos. Rehab provides an opportunity to begin repairing the damage. What kind of damage are we talking about? Different drugs cause different sorts of damage. For example:
Marijuana – Damages include chronic cough and recurring bronchitis. It can impair short-term memory, judgment, coordination and balance. It may be a causal factor for individuals with a predisposition to schizophrenia. It is also associated with depression and anxiety.
Withdrawal symptoms include irritability, difficulty sleeping, nightmares and anxiety.
Cocaine – Cocaine abuse can cause damage to nasal passages, difficulty swallowing and gastrointestinal problems. It can also lead to insomnia. Long-term use can leas to anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks and mood disturbances.
Withdrawal symptoms include depression, fatigue, increased appetite, psychomotor retardation or agitation and hyper-insomnia.
Methamphetamine – Causes damage to essential organs such as the heart, lungs and liver. It can also lead to dental problems, insomnia and hepatitis. Other long-term damage includes memory loss, weight loss, impaired cognition, insomnia, paranoia and hallucinations.
Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, fatigue, and an increased craving for the drug
Heroin – Damages include collapsed veins, heart infections, abscesses, arthritis, hepatitis C and HIV.
Withdrawal symptoms include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, goose bumps and leg movements.
Repairing the Body with Nutrition
Any type of drug addiction may lead to nutritional deficiencies. Someone immersed in the powers of addiction usually puts eating and dietary needs low on the list of priorities. Poor nutrition is the leading cause of many types of illnesses and disease.
Healing the body has to take place gradually. Begin with small steps so that you do not freak your body out with big changes. Doing too much too fast may be too overwhelming for a body damaged from drug addiction. Taking baby steps will have more staying power in the long run as well.
A good rule of thumb is to eat foods low in fat. Include a diet of lean protein to help rebuild your muscles. Also include plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Recovering addicts are not all the same. It is best to work closely in sync with your doctor and nutritionist and find the best nutrition program that suits your needs.
Repairing Your Body With Exercise
Exercise is the other part of the equation. A healthy diet and regular exercise is essential for a healthy lifestyle in general, but it is particularly important for a recovering addict to rebuild her physical and emotional health. As with nutrition, it is important to start out gradually and take baby steps with exercise. One of the best types of exercise is a daily walk. Do what you can without tiring yourself out. The goal is to shoot for 20 to 30 minutes four to five days a week. Start slow and gradually increase the length of your walks
Once you feel your health beginning to rebound, consider going to the gym and working with a trainer. A professional trainer will create a physical training exercise suited to your needs and abilities. A good routine will include exercises cardiovascular exercises and strength building exercises for your muscles.
The body and mind are intimately related. Rebuilding your body through physical exercise will also help to rebuild your emotional and mental health. Feeling better physically and emotionally reduces the risk of relapsing. Good physical and mental health is the best foundation for maintaining a healthy drug-free lifestyle.