Why There Is More to Recovery than Sobriety

Why There Is More to Recovery than Sobriety

The physical aspects of addiction are insignificant compared to the psychological power of the disease

Addiction is a powerful and complicated mental and physical disorder that requires comprehensive ongoing treatment to overcome. Sobriety is just the first step in the process of recovering from this devastating disease.

Lasting Recovery from Psychological Addiction

The physical symptoms of addiction are very serious – and may even be life threatening. With careful medical supervision, however, the process of overcoming physical addiction to drugs and alcohol tends to run its course in a matter of days. The following withdrawal symptoms are common during the first days of sobriety:

  • Shakes, tremors and muscle spasms
  • Sleep disorders (nightmares, insomnia, etc)
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms
  • Panic attacks or persistent anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Severe pain throughout the muscles, joints and bones
  • Headache
  • Hallucinations

Whether a person endures these symptoms alone at home or with the medical supervision and relief offered by addiction recovery staff, the worst of the symptoms will end in as few as four or as many as seven days.

Once they successfully emerge from withdrawal many addicts mistakenly believe that they have beaten the disease. A sort of euphoria can overtake a recently sober addict. One of the side effects of that euphoria is unrealistic optimism about ongoing sobriety.

The truth is, however, that the physical aspects of addiction are of little significance compared to the psychological power of the disease. Drug and alcohol abuse causes the brain to create new neural pathways in the central nervous system. These pathways drive behavior much more powerfully than rational thought or choice. Getting drunk or high provides immediate short-term relief of the following underlying psychological disorders:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Personality disorders
  • Trauma
  • Behavioral addictions

The brain recognizes the relief experienced by these substances and then craves that relief. While physical cravings tend to fade in a matter of days, psychological cravings can remain a problem for months or even years. The highest likelihood of lasting recovery comes by way of comprehensive psychological rehabilitation, not just abstinence.

Ongoing Recovery Support

The most successful addiction recovery programs offer treatment plans that are customized for each patient. Some of the most common and productive therapeutic tools California addicts may want to utilize include the following:

  • Individual counseling
  • Support groups
  • Diagnosis and treatment of underlying mental disorders
  • Education
  • Coping skill technique development

Most residential recovery programs last for up to thirty days, though some can continue for a year or longer. One of the most important elements of treatment, however, is the ability of any given program to give recovering addicts adequate preparation for life after rehab. Many recovering addicts wisely take advantage of the following ongoing recovery resources for months, years or even decades after primary treatment ends:

  • 12-Step meetings
  • Ongoing personal counseling or therapy
  • Service projects
  • Journaling
  • Adventure projects
  • Artistic expression projects
  • Reading helpful books or blogs

Important relationships are created within the context of recovery. Regularly meeting with fellow addicts can be an incredible source of encouragement and support.

24-Hour Recovery Helpline

In recovery circles the term “sober drunk” refers to people who are staying clean through sheer willpower without addressing the underlying factors of their disease. Others call this “white-knuckling.” Unfortunately these people rarely manage to stay sober for very long. Lasting recovery requires deep healing and that only comes over time.

If you would like more information about addiction recovery please call our toll-free helpline today. Our staff members will answer all of your questions and can connect you with the most effective and comprehensive recovery programs available. Call now.

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