Alcohol addiction belongs to the moderate to severe category on the AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder) spectrum.
Addiction is characterised by the inability to control the quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption despite adverse effects on personal, social, and professional life.
It is a treatable medical condition, but the process of recovery has its own challenges (such as withdrawal symptoms, relapse triggers, stigma, and discrimination).
People struggling with severe addiction should avoid embarking on the recovery journey on their own. The cold turkey approach (ceasing alcohol consumption abruptly) can cause severe complications and may even lead to death.
For alcohol addiction treatment, I think it is best to consult and take the help of professional experts. Help is easily available and accessible. It is important to admit and accept the issue and seek out help, guidance, and support from the right source.
Along with established medical treatment, other therapies and modalities can prove beneficial to the process of alcohol addiction recovery. These include support groups, pet therapy, and exercise therapy.
Read on to find out how regular exercise can support alcohol addiction treatment.
Alcohol addiction (and associated long-term alcohol consumption) harms the human body in multiple ways. It weakens the immune system of the addicted person and increases the risk of chronic diseases.
On the other hand, exercise strengthens the immune system and lowers the risk of diseases. I think exercise can and should be used to counteract the effects of alcohol.
1. Exercise routines bring structure to life
I find that exercise routines bring structure to life. This can prove beneficial to recovery.
It will distract the person from alcohol-related thoughts and prevent boredom (which is a common relapse trigger). It will provide a sense of purpose and boost motivation.
2. Exercise can boost body image and self-esteem
Due to improved feelings of self-worth, the person is more likely to stick to the fitness plan and to the treatment process.
3. Exercise helps the brain release endorphins
This leads to a buzzing, glowing feeling which motivates me to exercise again the next day.
Because of this buzz, instead of seeking the next drink, the individual undergoing recovery might look forward to the next workout.
Alcohol and depression often go hand-in-hand. Negative thoughts increase the tendency of a person to turn to alcohol.
Exercise can infuse a person with energy, positivity, and happy feelings.
4. Working out also helps improve mental clarity
Even the simplest form of exercise, walking, can help clear the mind and improve thought processes. Due to exercise, the person is more likely to make better lifestyle choices.
5. Increases the chances of meeting more people
Such people are likely to have set goals for themselves and often encourage others to set, pursue, and achieve goals.
Having such supportive and encouraging friends around aids the recovery process and keeps one accountable.
Alcohol leads to the lowering of inhibitions, the likelihood of engaging in risky behaviours, and chaos.
It is often destructive to relationships. Exercising with existing friends and family can help repair and nurture strained relationships.
Due to its various benefits, I think exercise can prove immensely beneficial to the alcohol addiction treatment process. It is important to start small and increase the intensity of workouts gradually as strength increases.
In the initial stages of alcohol addiction treatment, strenuous workout programs should be avoided. Allow the body to heal at its own pace.