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Destressing – Essential Holistic Elements of Addiction Treatment and Recovery

stacked rocks on beachDestressing is an essential element of any holistic addiction treatment. And, it is a practice that continues into recovery efforts after rehab in order to sustain gains made in treatment. Stress is a pervasive consequence of prolonged substance use, and of all the attendant consequences of addiction. In many ways, having an addiction is a traumatic experience. The body and brain are exposed to toxicity over a prolonged period, and for many people, that level of toxicity is profound, even causing organ damage, or reaching life-threatening proportions.

Also, the many natural consequences of an addiction are each and every one a stressor in itself. When things begin to go wrong in life because substance use has made life unmanageable, there is a domino-effect of negative events that can’t be stopped. One is left to experience the dismantling of daily life until measures are taken to recover and reclaim control. Each effect of an out of control life toxifies the body as well. The naturally produced stress chemicals permeate the system.

Addiction Detox and Destressing

Detox in addiction treatment is initially geared toward abstinence from an addictive substance. Use of addictive chemicals has to stop to allow the body to detoxify at this level before further healing can occur. As the intake of addictive substances is stopped, and the body is able to rinse out the residuals of chronic dosing, the body destresses profoundly.

Nervous system activity can return to a more normal internal environment. The organs are relieved from overwork to process a continuous flow of toxicity, and the mind and emotions begin to shift. Essentially, a foundational destressing begins with physical detox and continues throughout the other stages of treatment and recovery.

Taking Charge of The Body, Mind, and Spirit

Further destressing occurs as treatment moves into addiction’s footholds in the mind and spirit. Holistic treatment centers recognize that the whole person is affected by the addictive illness and that there are stressful and self-sabotaging thought patterns that must be addressed. In effect, particular thought patterns are toxic, triggering the release of stress hormones, and the activation of prolonged negative internal states.

Additionally, when the body and mind are preoccupied with toxicity on various levels, one’s spiritual well-being is naturally compromised. Addressing spiritual concerns, finding a good, orderly direction for daily life, and maintaining daily practices in alignment with one’s own ethics and values helps. When we live out of accordance with our deeply held values and beliefs, we experience another layer of chronic and toxifying stress.

Putting a comprehensive plan of action into motion, engaging the body, mind, and spirit, accelerates healing and the recovery process. We are whole individuals and cannot arbitrarily be fragmented into parts. Working simultaneously to heal the body, mind, and spirit is an integrated and comprehensive method with much-proven success.