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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Healing Your Brain During Addiction Recovery

healing your brain during addiction recoveryWhile practitioners are divided on whether or not addiction is an actual “brain disease,” it is undisputed that drug and alcohol abuse takes a neurological toll. Drugs wreak havoc on your brain’s natural chemicals and neurotransmitters, sending your mind and body false pleasure signals that prompt you to continue getting high. Street drugs, prescription drugs, and alcohol also alter the way your brain processes, sends and receives information. When you decide to stop using, healing requires the creation of new neural pathways and the healthy balancing of natural chemicals.

How to Reprogram Your Brain 
Your brain adapts to environmental stimuli, and this “plasticity” allows it to adjust to sobriety in the same way it adjusted to addiction. Brain healing will happen, but you need to be patient with the process. The brain’s healing timeline is largely based on your chemical/s of choice, the length of time you have used, and the quantity of drugs you’ve taken.

Chances are you’ve built a tolerance to the drug or drink you enjoy, so you have increased the quantity over time to get the same reward. Retraining your brain not only requires detoxing from substances and abstaining from future use, but it also hinges on retraining through healthy eating, exercise, sleep, meditation, social connection, and proper levels of non-drug stimulation.

Healing Habits for the Brain
Engaging in meditation, group therapy, social activities, and holistic therapies are important for post-addiction restoration. Other healing habits for the brain include:

• Getting proper levels of quality sleep. This is one of the most critical parts of recovery since your brain repairs itself while your body is resting. During sleep, your brain processes information, cements and transfers memories to storage, makes creative connections and cleans out toxins. Proper sleep also energizes you for the next day, improves mental performance, and allows for the release of hormones that control essential body function.

• Eating clean. Up to 25% of the nutrients you consume are required for brain function, but you were probably malnourished while you were using. During rehab, it is critical to avoid junk food and empty calories and, instead, provide your body with the nutrients it needs for physical and mental healing. Healthy fats like fish, nuts, and seeds are building blocks for the brain. Your body also requires adequate protein intake (to create new neurotransmitters), and fruits and vegetables for their powerful nutrients and antioxidants.

• Committing to an exercise routine. Your addiction has caused a chemical imbalance in the brain: one that can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Exercise has been found to ward off depression and anxiety through the release of natural dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. As a healthy side effect, exercise provides a good diversion to fill your new, sober hours.

• Enjoying daily reading time. Many addicts cannot focus on reading while they are in early recovery since drugs and alcohol have impacted their concentration. During addiction recovery, choose a favorite genre and read every day. Reading “exercises” your brain by forcing it to decode visual cues, process words and images, and store information. Reading has been shown to impact your brain’s recovery by healing your occipital and parietal lobes and rebuilding your memory.

Complete Harmony CA Rehab
At Complete Harmony, our team of practitioners and addiction specialists believe in healing the whole person: mind, body, and spirit. As you purge your body of harmful substances and engage in intentional activities for brain healing, you will begin to think clearly and see your new, sober life in a new light. Dial 866.930.4673 to inquire about California drug and alcohol addiction treatment or speak with a counselor about retraining your brain and restoring your vitality.

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