Withdrawal Relaxation Techniques
How withdrawal relaxation techniques can help to soften the stress of early recovery
Withdrawal relaxation techniques are an important part of any alcoholism or other addiction recovery program. Practicing proper relaxation methods to supplement other addiction recovery programs can work wonders on the body, especially during times of increased distress. Recovering addicts understand the stress on the body caused by withdrawal symptoms, which affects the body both emotionally and physically. By practicing simple relaxation methods, sufferers of addiction can help to lower their blood pressure, reducing the activity of stress hormones, while increasing their concentration and overall mood. Withdrawal relaxation techniques for early withdrawal symptoms can be easily taught and encouraged by addiction specialists.
According to Harvard Medical Center, deep breathing exercises and techniques have been proven to assist those in addiction treatment and withdrawal sufferers by trading outgoing carbon dioxide for incoming oxygen, stabilizing blood pressure and reducing heart rate. Focused breathing has been proven to help addicts through the harmful thoughts and distractions associated with often-agonizing withdrawal symptoms. Concentrated breathing is the foundation for the following simple relaxation methods that can be introduced as part of existing addiction therapy treatments. Learn how your potential rehab incorporates relaxation techniques for withdrawal symptoms.
Meditation is an excellent relaxation technique for withdrawal. Practicing meditation has been clinically proven to increase energy levels, improve the immune system, decrease pain caused by tension, and lower blood lactate levels, which vastly reduces the risk of anxiety attacks. Meditation also helps to improve emotional stability and awareness, a key element in addiction recovery. Like other treatments and programs, meditation takes a commitment in order for it to work – this is not a one-on, one-off practice.
Getting started in a meditation practice is easy. Aditi Nerurkar, a primary care doctor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, who recommends Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction – a yoga-based mediation that incorporates whole-body awareness for 20-minutes per day, told the Wall Street Journal that the practice is simply “sitting in a quiet posture that’s comfortable, closing your eyes, and watching your breath.”
Studies through the years have shown that a regular regimen of exercise can help to significantly reduce anxiety and depression, meaning that it could be the saving grace for many sufferers of addiction. Years of substance abuse can create what experts refer to as “endorphin distortion,” which is the dulling of the feel-good receptors in the brain. Simple exercise causes the release of galanin, a natural chemical released by the brain during exercise, reducing the mental and physical stress of withdrawal symptoms. An exercise regimen doesn’t have involve a crowded gym. By simply taking a 15-minute walk, the brain can release the vital endorphins that enable the body to fight the stress of withdrawal and addiction. As a withdrawal relaxation technique, exercise is hard to beat.
In the book Principles of Addiction Medicine (2009), James Prochaska reported that 60-minutes a week of physical activity can help recovering addicts manage their withdrawal symptoms, including bodily distress, mood, and mental stress. “Exercise thus should be prescribed to all sedentary patients with addiction,” Dr. Prochaska concluded.
3. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
Developed by physical Edmund Jacobson in the 1920’s, progressive muscle relation techniques, or PMR, is the process of monitoring and controlling muscular tension. It’s a simple relaxation technique that involves the deliberate tension of specific muscle groups, and then releasing the tension, focusing on the contrast between tension and relaxation. In time, PMR is an excellent relaxation technique to that help sufferers of addiction identify their own symptoms of tension and stress and proactively remedy them. It’s safe to say that many sufferers of addiction have neglected their bodies, and at first it can be difficult to re-learn the mechanics of their own body, and to listen to the important messages it sends.
Many treatment centers have been incorporating yoga into traditional 12-step programs and substance abuse counseling as a way for recovering addicts to deal with the discomfort and stress of withdrawal symptoms due to the practices proven regulation of adrenaline and cortisol, the body’s stress hormones. In an article written for Yoga Journal, Sat Bir Khalsa, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School stated that a dedicated yoga practice is a “positive way to generate a change in consciousness,” noting that instead of creating an escape, as with drug and alcohol use, it “empowers people with the ability to access a peaceful, restorative inner state that integrates the mind, body, and spirit.”
There are many options for beginning a healthy yoga practice as part of the addiction recovery process. While some people prefer a class-like setting, where the basics are taught and nurtured through scheduled practice, there are some who choose to go solo, reading books and practicing in private as part of their own journey in recovery. There are yoga courses for beginners online and throughout most communities, and at many addiction treatment centers.
5. Proper Rest
Most people in general do not get enough rest, with the recommended 7 – 9 hours of sleep alluding many of us, most notably those in addiction recovery. When an addict chooses to abstain from drugs or alcohol, the body is mentally and physically fighting an epic battle of wills, and proper rest plays a key role in rehabilitation from substance abuse. The healing capabilities of rest and relaxation cannot be understated and it’s important to set aside the time for this while the body adapts to the new and healthy changes. Proper rest is an important part of any program of withdrawal relaxation techniques.
Other ways to relax in addiction recovery
Other withdrawal relaxation techniques for addiction recovery include music and art therapy, watching a non-violent, uplifting or spiritually based movie, spending time with supportive family and friends who are aware of your journey of recovery, or anything else that you may enjoy that helps contribute to your sobriety and new way of living.
As noted earlier, the principles of any relaxation technique begin with deep and mindful breathing. The addiction specialists at Serenity Vista can help to guide you through these simple relaxation techniques, and more through their comprehensive treatment programs, from essential substance abuse counseling to learning new life to tools, recovering addicts will find adventure and support in a nurturing and relaxing environment. Serenity Vista is a private-pay, affordable, holistic drug rehab addiction treatment retreat located in tropical Panama. Just drinking the excellent Boquete coffee and enjoying the beautiful tropical nature are wonderful relaxation techniques for withdrawal from a life of alcohol, nicotine or other drugs.
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