Alcohol is a chemical compound that impacts thoughts, feelings and behaviors. When deeply rooted in an individual’s way of life, it can take a great deal of effort to change its course. Even after doing so, removing the constant burden of craving and withdrawal can also leave a great void. Finding a new source of purpose can help fill this gap, but a recovering addict can also easily dig a deeper hole into addiction if not given the appropriate guidance or resources, such as options for residential treatment in California.
A 2012 report from CNN paints a new picture of the current situation. The National Institute on Drug Abuse details how the consequences of illicit drug and alcohol use is largely responsible for over 100,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. On top of that, the rate of relapse ranges between a dominant 60 and 90 percent during the initial year of getting clean. In response to these alarming trends, the institute donated $4 million to exercise-based addiction recovery research in 2008. Since then, a number of studies have found significant findings:
- The results of “Aerobic exercise decreases the positive-reinforcing effects of cocaine” from Davidson College showed that lab rats given access to an exercise wheel were linked to a lower likelihood to use an equally available source of cocaine.
- In 2009, researchers reproduced the methodology in “Treadmill exercise reduces self-administration of morphine in male rats.” When given the choice between self-administered morphine or saline, rats who had exercised before the decision predominantly chose saline.
- In the 2011 study, “May Exercise Prevent Addiction?” researcher Carlos Fontes-Ribeiro and colleagues observed that rats trained with physical exercise were more likely to spend time in an area with available saline injections instead of the area with receivable amphetamine injections.
Although academic investigations are lacking, there is a number of other productive activities that can also replace drinking, such as an enjoyable hobby or home projects around the house that can distract and occupy the mind. The biggest pitfall a person can succumb to is substituting alcohol consumption with another manipulative substance. The point of replacing alcohol is to instead choose a new behavior that requires active participation to achieve a sense of reward. As supported in the Harvard Mental Health Letter in 2009, “In nature, rewards usually come only with effort and after a delay. Addictive drugs provide a shortcut.”
When a person’s alcohol consumption transforms from a recreational activity to an insatiable need, it takes a great amount of courage, intelligence and will power to cease one’s previous ways. If you, a friend or family member is having trouble coping with substance abuse or any additional conditions it may have caused, contact the California Dual Diagnosis Helpline online or call 855-980-1736 to learn about what the dual diagnosis treatment centers California has to offer.