Getting Healthy in Recovery: Why, and How

Getting Healthy in Recovery: Why, and How

Most people who come to recovery are usually exhausted when they enter detox and begin the process of getting clean and sober. Your body has taken a lot and so has your mind. Whether you hit bottom after bottom or got sober when you realized addiction had taken control, you’re not healthy when you first get sober. Getting healthy comes once you’ve been sober a while and started to want to enjoy your life without substances.

Physical health is intricately connected with mental health. In fact, there are even some health problems such as thyroid disorders that can mimic mental health disorders. Some people who have high blood pressure may experience more anxiety than people without.

Getting treated for any health issues and taking care of your body as well as your mind can help you live a better quality of life.

Healthy Ways to Cope With Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms

When you first got sober, you probably went through some intense withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are gone after a week or so, but you may still feel uncomfortable or have trouble sleeping. You may sometimes feel anxious or angry without any apparent reason.

It takes a while for your body and mind to detox completely. Most people even go through something called post-acute withdrawal, which can cause mood changes, headaches, and changes in sleep for up to 18 months. The symptoms are nowhere near as intense as the initial withdrawal people face. However, they may be enough to sour your mood for a few hours.

These changes may feel emotional or mental, but they are also physical reactions that occur over the long-term after you cease using substances. Taking care of your physical health can help you cope with these symptoms and help your body heal from the months or years of substance abuse you put it through.

Taking Care of Your Mental Health

Mental health and physical health are connected in many ways. Many people in recovery have mental health disorders they need to treat as well as their addiction. You may feel not only emotionally better but physically better when you start to treat your mental health. You might also notice this phenomenon if you start taking medication for a mental health disorder. (But if you are on medication and you stop, your mood and your health can backslide.)

Mental health disorders such as depression make it difficult for most people to get out of bed and start their day. Yet exercise is shown to help with depressive symptoms. Endorphins, a natural “feel good” chemical, give a calming boost to your brain when you exercise.

According to the National Institutes of Health, “Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function.”

Healthy Habits for People in Recovery

Being new to recovery can be an exciting time. It’s also a great time to fill your life with healthier habits. After all, you have more time on your hands. Treatment centers will usually help you establish a schedule, which will help you focus. Once you’re finished with treatment, your daily schedule is your own responsibility.

Here are some great habits to try to incorporate no matter what stage of recovery you’re in:

  • Go to yearly checkups. Be honest with your medical providers. Sometimes it can be scary to go to the doctor if you’re afraid something is wrong, but if you’re having pain or uncomfortable symptoms, he or she is there to help. If you’re anxious about a medical appointment, ask somebody in your support network to go with you and wait in the reception area.
  • Pay attention to your feelings. Sometimes emotions are a reaction to a situation, and sometimes they’re a symptom of a bigger problem. If you’re overwhelmed with anxiety or have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, seek help from a mental health professional. You deserve to feel hopeful and experience the benefits of recovery.
  • Get regular exercise. As mentioned before, exercise helps regulate your mood. It also helps keep your blood pressure in check, stimulate your metabolism, and feel more energetic if you exercise regularly.
  • Learn to meditate. Meditation helps people with mental health disorders learn to cope with anxiety. It can also help people with physical health disorders overcome pain and cope with other symptoms.
  • Eat well-rounded meals. Cooking from scratch is the best way to get the nutrition you need, but this isn’t always possible. Try to eat a salad every day and fruit as well. Avoid eating fast food as much as possible.
  • Get up at the same time every day and try to go to bed at the same time as well. Your body has a “clock” that becomes accustomed to your schedule. This can help you get to sleep every night if you have insomnia.
  • Take vitamins. A doctor may recommend vitamins or supplements, but if you’re healthy you can simply take a multivitamin every day.

Getting healthy is a journey, just like recovery. It’s an important part of recovery because when you were using, you probably didn’t take care of yourself. You now have an opportunity to heal and feel good about yourself. Take it slowly if you’re intimidated. After all, you’re learning to live your life a day at a time.

Getting Help for Addiction

Addiction can be a lonely and painful struggle. You’re not alone! There is hope waiting for you. No matter who you are, what you’ve used, or what you have done in life, we are here to help you start a healing journey to recovery. Give us a call at 1-800-970-8774 to learn more about how we can help.

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