Staying healthy after addiction recovery is like maintaining any chronic disease – keep it simple by maintaining a workable routine.
Changing Memories Associated With Addiction
Addiction is a disease that affects both the mind and the body. For some individuals, the path toward complete abstinence takes several cycles of recovery and relapse. Scientists continue to study effective ways to treat long-term addiction. One study conducted in China saw success by changing the mental associations former heroin addicts had to seeing needles and people using heroin. Published in the April 13 issue of Science, the study showed that some participants reported reduced cravings when seeing drug paraphernalia after undergoing a memory extinction session.
Treating Addiction as a Disease
Other addiction research shows the importance of supportive people and rewards in a recovering person’s life. Individuals who suffer from addiction experience changes in their brains that compel them to repeat behaviors in order to feel a certain pleasurable sensation. Scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) note that individuals in recovery benefit the most from short-term rewards (daily or weekly incentives) that keep them motivated to stay abstinent. At the conclusion of regular individual or group therapy sessions, individuals who maintain sobriety are offered incentives such as music players or movie tickets.
Preventing Addiction Relapse
Many people benefit from a supportive community of people who encourage positive routines and interactions. Talk therapy in a group or individual setting is one of the best evidence-based treatments for addiction. Individuals who attend regular meetings learn day-to-day strategies for avoiding tempting situations.
There are several warning signs that indicate a person may be headed for a relapse, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):
- Begins to believe something irrational
- Irrational thoughts lead to painful feelings
- Participates in compulsive, self-defeating behaviors to mask the feelings
- Looks for opportunities to be around people using alcohol or drugs
- Feels more pain, thinks less rationally and behaves irresponsibly
- Turns toward drug or alcohol use as a way to avoid painful feelings
Individuals who learn techniques to avoid self-defeating beliefs and maintain positive, healthy relationships stand the best chance of avoiding a cycle of relapse.
Need Help Finding Treatment for Addiction?
If you are looking for a treatment that offers long-term strategies for avoiding relapse, call us today for advice. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Begin the road toward recovery now. Call our toll-free helpline and get started on a fulfilling and enriching life.