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Exercising Into Addiction Recovery

The benefit of physical activity on someone’s health cannot be understated. However, these benefits extend beyond preventing obesity, diabetes, or heart disease. Over the past couple of years, medical researchers have found a significant link between exercising and addiction recovery. According to these researchers, exercise is greatly beneficial to patients who have a substance use disorder (SUD) — proving that physical activity can keep both heart disease and addictive behaviors at bay.

As addiction rates steadily increase in the United States, these studies are met with much relief. Using exercise as a form of addiction therapy complements sit-down talk therapy. When both are used together, they often bring about the best results.

The Structure of the Addicted Brain

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the brain is the most complex organ in the entire body. How it works is very mechanical.

“The brain is often likened to an incredibly complex and intricate computer. Instead of electrical circuits on the silicon chips that control our electronic devices, the brain consists of billions of cells, called neurons, which are organized into circuits and networks.

“Each neuron acts as a switch controlling the flow of information. If a neuron receives enough signals from other neurons that it is connected to, it fires, sending its own signal on to other neurons in the circuit.”

These signals result in normal brain functions such as talking, walking, self-control and almost every emotion. However, when your brain is on drugs, it changes the way your brain operates.

“Drugs interfere with the way neurons send, receive and process signals via neurotransmitters. Some drugs, such as marijuana and heroin, can activate neurons because their chemical structure mimics that of a natural neurotransmitter in the body. This allows the drugs to attach onto and activate the neurons. Although these drugs mimic the brain’s own chemicals, they don’t activate neurons in the same way as a natural neurotransmitter, and they lead to abnormal messages being sent through the network.

“Other drugs, such as amphetamine or cocaine, can cause the neurons to release abnormally large amounts of natural neurotransmitters or prevent the normal recycling of these brain chemicals by interfering with transporters. This too amplifies or disrupts the normal communication between neurons.”

Often, the result of drug use can change brain chemistry when it becomes dependent on a certain substance. Addiction affects nearly every part of the brain’s function, displaying increased effects in some areas.

Areas Most Affected by Drug Abuse

The area’s most at risk when someone is abusing drugs or alcohol are the basal ganglia, the extended amygdala and the prefrontal cortex.

Basal Ganglia: This part of the brain can influence motivation as well as other pleasurable brain activities. The basal ganglia is responsible for our enjoyment of sex, socializing and eating. It motivates in conducting these pleasurable activities. It is also responsible for helping a person set a routine or habit. Ultimately, it is known as the “pleasure circuit.”

According to the NIDA, “Drugs over-activate this circuit, producing the euphoria of the drug high. But with repeated exposure, the circuit adapts to the presence of the drug, diminishing its sensitivity and making it hard to feel pleasure from anything besides the drug.”

Extended Amygdala: This part of the brain is noted for its role in making us feel uneasy, stressed or anxious. When someone is going through withdrawal, this part of the brain can go into overdrive.

“This circuit becomes increasingly sensitive with increased drug use. Over time, a person with substance use disorder uses drugs to get temporary relief from this discomfort rather than to get high.”

Unfortunately, this leads to the user wanting to seek out drugs more and more often.

Prefrontal Cortex: Known as the problem-solving part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex allows someone to think critically and make good decisions.

“Shifting balance between this circuit and the circuits of the basal ganglia and extended amygdala make a person with a substance use disorder seek the drug compulsively with reduced impulse control.”

This is also the last part of the brain to fully mature.

Rewiring the Brain

The process of rewiring the brain takes time, effort and consistency. It is not a very pleasant experience and will require great diligence, but it can be done. But research has seen promising results. According to research published in Frontiers in Psychiatry, a psychiatric medical journal, these findings can add to the process of recovery.

“Physical exercise has been proposed as a complementary therapy for individuals with SUD undergoing treatment at different stages of addiction rehabilitation.”

In this study, the application of physical activity in therapy is presented in the form of a psychobiological model. In other words, while studying the subjects exercising, they considered the cognitive and physiological cues of every subject. They monitored the subject’s perceived exertion and self-talk, as well as their temperature and cardiovascular states while they jogged. Noting every detail as the study moved forward, they sought to determine whether the link even exists. They found something astonishing. As a result of this study, they recorded an active improvement in the part of the brain that controls addictive behaviors.

“. . . in the same way that physical exercise is advised for treating other diseases, the neuroplasticity promoted by aerobic exercise may indicate its usefulness as a potential additional treatment for individuals with SUD. Specifically, these benefits may be seen in brain areas related to executive control, such as those areas involved in inhibition of drug-seeking behavior and impulsivity, as well as in decision-making regarding drug consumption.”

To the benefit of those medical providers fighting drug misuse, as well as those with an addiction, the use of exercise along with talk therapy has many hoping for a better future. Most people can agree that running for an hour a day is far better than being caught in an addiction. Coupling talk therapy with aerobic activity may provide the key to a lasting recovery. Overall, the findings change the way addiction and substance use disorder is viewed in the medical field. The question is how to apply this to real life.

Managing Addiction with A Running Program

In a separate study found in the journal of Substances Abuse: Research and Treatment, researchers decided to implement a running program for subjects with addictions. They monitored to see how well the subjects would progress in their recovery while running an average of 60 minutes every week for three-and-a-half months. At the end of the last week, the subjects had the choice to run a final race. The results proved substantial.

“The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of participants in a supervised group exercise program for people with SUD. This program was 14 weeks in length and 61 (30 females, 31 males) out of 109 participants ultimately chose to participate in, and completed, the race at the close of the program.”

These findings indicate that when exercising was involved with therapy, subjects were much more likely to stick with the addiction recovery program. Further analysis showed more findings from this program.

“After analyzing interview data about participants’ perceptions of participating in the walking/running training program on their recovery, the researchers identified three main themes: (1) pushed forward recovery through running, (2) gained a sense of accomplishment by crossing the finish line, and (3) experienced a sense of belonging in the program. Findings suggested that participation of walking/running seemed to be beneficial for improving recovery experiences in this population.”

These themes prove to be key in any addiction recovery program. Although the research is new, the concepts of these studies are already being used today. In an effort to make these findings apply to the average person struggling with addiction, a gym and medical institute teamed up to try to solve Oregon’s drug problems.

Gym Offering Recovery Through Exercise

For those who have an addiction, they know the isolation that comes with the recovery process. Having a support system available is always needed if an individual seeks to recover fully. Fortunately, there are establishments that exist to support individuals in exercising and addiction recovery.

In Portland, Oregon, the National Institutes of Health and Science Research Consortium provide The Recovery Gym. This project, led by its founder Brent Canode, provides those recovering from substance misuse and mental illness a place for exercising and addiction recovery.

“(What) we want is someone to come in and feel understood, to feel like they belong,” Canode says. “We have contracts with five different treatment centers, we actually go pick clients up while they’re in in-patient treatment and start to develop those kinds of healthy habits. And then they’re allowed to come free of charge once they leave treatment.”

Each day in this gym, many once heavy-drug users gather to break a sweat. They do so out of dedication to their recovery and to support others along the way.

This gym, along with many other addiction support resources, offers a chance for those in recovery to stay sober. Along with this, empathy and compassion in the field of substance misuse are being seen as never before.

Moving Forward

Addiction medical providers and researchers continue to discover more about the nature of substance use disorder. Although many areas of the brain are negatively affected by drug abuse, there is a way to train the brain into being what it was before addiction. Exercising during addiction recovery provides new hope for those not finding success in their recovery.

Applying an aerobic=exercise routine to therapy and other recovery services aids in rewiring the brain by improving self-control and other executive functions. This rewiring may take a lot of time and exercise of self-control. Still, there is hope for those who need an extra boost. Physical activity can also provide those in recovery with a sense of togetherness in developing a support network.

The use of this information is already being seen in recovery centers across the country. Treatment programs, services and other resources are currently being made to better serve every patient.

The Contributing Risk Factors of Addiction

You may think you know what addiction is-  many individuals have different opinions about addiction and the addiction risk factors that contribute to dependency. Here are a few myths you may have heard:

Getting over an addiction to drugs is a simple matter of choice. In order for treatment to work, the individual needs to arrive in a desperate dilemma. People have to choose to get treatment substance addiction or it won’t be viable, for example, when a judge sends a person to a treatment facility rather than jail, nothing will change. The truth is that addiction is a complex mental illness that researchers are still trying to figure out. For instance, some people use drugs recreationally and never develop any dependency, while others try drugs and can develop a dependency. Addiction risk factors can determine a person’s liklihood of developing a substance dependency and being aware can guide those away from substance use. Whether addiction occurs or how rapidly addiction takes hold in people depends on many risk factors, including:


One factor that makes it easier to develop a dependency might be genetic. For example, someone may feel debilitated from a drug that makes other people feel great.  Heredity is also a factor for addiction. In fact, researchers evaluate that 40 to 60 percent of a person’s risk for addiction is focused on genetics, which is called epigenetics. In families where there is dependence present, kids are significantly more prone to have addiction issues as grown-ups. This is particularly true if they see a parent’s addiction on a day-to-day basis.

Unfortunately, an individual with an “addictive personality” may be at danger for an extensive variety of addictions. For instance, an individual with an alcoholic parent may choose not to drink, yet could get to be dependent on smoking or gambling. However, someone’s genetic makeup will not guarantee that they will inevitably turn to be an addict.


Environmental factors can also potentially pose dangers to someone at risk of addiction. For teens, a lack of parental presence can lead to risk-taking or experimentation with alcohol and drugs. Additionally, teenagers who experience abuse or neglect from parents may begin to use drugs or alcohol to adapt their feelings.

Peer pressure is also a risk factor for addiction. The pressure from friends to fit in or be accepted can create a breeding ground for addiction to take root.  Environmental factors can be so influential that an addict in recovery typically needs to avoid certain circumstances or people that can trigger a relapse.

Age at First Use

The age at which the use or behavior begins is another contributing risk factor for addiction. Research has shown that the younger the user is, the more likely he or she is to end up dependent. Addictive behavior in younger years can also have effects on brain development, making young people more inclined to mental disorders as the addiction continues into their later years.

Despite all of these risk factors, many individuals in Tulsa, OK have the capacity to handle addiction. Risk factors do not guarantee that someone will get addicted, but the chances may be greater. At the point when risk factors are present, restraint or abstinence may be the best solution. Hope Recovery Addiction Center is here to help those who wish to manage and change their addiction.

The Risks of Heavy Alcohol Consumption During the COVID-19 Lockdown

There has been a dramatic rise in the sale of alcohol since the initial COVID-19 lockdown in March. According to the Associated Press, the sale of alcohol has increased 55 percent compared to March and April of this year. It’s unclear if the surge in sales is due to stress-related alcohol consumption or people stocking up on supplies due to the uncertainty associated with the pandemic.

The lockdown has changed people’s perspective on drinking in many ways. With drinking trending more than ever on social media outlets, it’s more acceptable to drink at home. This new standard, coupled with prolonged exposure to pandemic stress, may cause people to turn to alcohol to cope. That is why experts are beginning to worry about the effects this increased consumption could cause in the future.

With alcohol consumption increasing, it has become essential to find new coping methods. Whether that means meeting with friends or scheduling that overdue appointment with a therapist, now more than ever seeking help is the best thing people can do.

Concerns Around Increased Alcohol Consumption

According to an article in the Philly Voice, David H. Jernigan, professor of Health Law, Policy & Management at Boston University, stated that increased drinking affects people’s immune systems. As a result, people who have increased their alcohol consumption are more susceptible to catching COVID-19. However, it’s become apparent that lowered immunity and a higher risk of COVID-19 isn’t the only concern experts have about the rise in alcohol use.

Prolonged exposure to stress due to the pandemic may cause people to turn to alcohol to cope. Along with immune deficiencies, increased alcohol use can result in a poor mental state. That is why experts are beginning to worry about the effects this increased consumption could cause over time.

“Social isolation, limited interaction and financial distress are causing excessive stress, which has direct correlations with alcohol consumption,” stated Md Zahir Ahmed, a co-author of a study published in the Asian Journal of Psychiatry.

Attempts to self-medicate and keep anxiety in check with alcohol can lead to excessive consumption and unwanted side effects, said Wendy McClary, a licensed marriage and family therapist, practicing in Vermont and Massachusetts , in an interview with NBC News.

Increased consumption can lead to negative feelings, which can prove to be a challenge for people under lockdown. Those negative emotions have contributed to more domestic disputes and made homes less safe than before the pandemic. With many of the activities people once used to suppress those negative feelings still on hiatus, a clear need for healthy alternatives is needed.

Check your Drinking

Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones, at the University of Utah School of Medicine, advised counting the number of drinks you have per day and per week and then ask yourself why you are drinking. If you find you’re drinking due to feelings of depression, boredom, or anxiety, it’s best to seek help.

Samantha Cassetty, a New York City-based registered dietitian, told NBC News that there are a few ways people can keep their alcohol consumption in check. Choosing drinks that have lower alcohol content is a safer alternative. However, if you find it difficult not to drink, try removing yourself from situations where drinking is prevalent. It is encouraged to focus on yourself by picking up new hobbies.

Moving Forward

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it many troublesome outcomes, including a dramatic rise in alcohol consumption. This has concerned many experts because it’s unclear if the surge in sales of alcohol is due to an increase in stress. Excessive use of alcohol can lead to both physical and mental harm. But by staying connected with others, utilizing online resources, and checking your habits, you can keep your alcohol consumption in check.

For those struggling with controlling their alcohol use during the pandemic, there are ways to get help. Although many in-person support groups have been put on hold due to the pandemic, support is still available through virtual meetings and telemedicine. Reaching out to family, friends or a therapist also can be a needed lifeline in these times.

7 Extinct Illicit Drugs from the Past

Nowadays, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, ecstasy, and bath salts are the most abused drugs in our society. But did you know that there are drugs that were once abused but now are gone? Have you ever wondered what happened to them? Even the most popular illicit drugs will eventually fade from use. Prescription drugs are taken off the market, and recreational drugs drop out of regular use and the number of people who struggle with these types of drug addictions in most recovery centers services decreases. Do you know why? It’s because of their dangerous side effects.

Here are some some historically popular illicit drugs that are extinct these days, but not completely forgotten:

  1. Fen-Phen – This drug combination that was used for weight loss was taken off the public in 1997. It is an appetite suppressant made up of two drugs, fenfluramine and phentermine, but it caused may cases of valvular heart disease and pulmonary hypertension.
  1. Ergot – This was not really taken as a recreational drug, but it grew naturally in rye bread during the middle ages. Ergot poisoned many people and created symptoms such as painful seizures and spasms, diarrhea, tingling, itching, hallucinations, psychosis, headaches, nausea, and vomiting and increases the rate of drug addiction cases in many recovery centers services.
  1. Blue Lotus – This Blue Lotus was widely used with the ancient Egyptians. They would steep a blue lotus flower in tea, which caused ecstasy when consumed. The flowers are not readily available to everyday buyers.
  1. Angel Dust – Angel dust, or PCP, was popular in 1960s and ‘70s, but has gone out of use because of its unpleasant side effects. The side effects of this drug include numbness and paranoia. There are occasional incidents of PCP usage in the US, but for the most part very few partake of this dangerous drug anymore.
  1. Quaaludes – This drug was popular during the last days of the disco era. Hope Recovery Addiction Center says that these prescription sedatives can cause mania, seizures, vomiting, convulsions, and even death, but that didn’t stop users from popping pills until 1985, when it was officially got off the market.
  1. Black Henbane – The seeds of this flower were once used for medical purposes in many recovery centers services in the past. It was also used as a flavoring for beer, and to induce intoxicatingly deep sleep. The poisonous effects of this flower were mentioned in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
  1. Snake Oils – The term “snake oil” refers to many products that were brought to the public as a medical cure. Many of these tonics contained useless liquids like mineral oil, but could also include dangerous and addictive substance like turpentine, heroine, and morphine.

3 Things You Need to Grow Well in Addiction Recovery

Addiction recovery is not an easy task, it requires determination and self-control. Under the best of situations, it’s really hard to make a new life for oneself – new found friends, new outlook and perspective, sometimes new living, a new career and new relationship. Enduring to progress and develop in long-term addiction recovery by taking part in a wide range of aftercare support program is always recommended, however, what does every recovering patient seeking to start over certainly need to thrive or grow well in recovery.

Positive Support System

Many individuals newly out of rehab daily attend 12-step meetings in order to meet others who are also in addiction treatment rehabilitation recovery and interact with an instant group or community. This is one way to discover the kind of positive support that is essential to be strong in sobriety.

Many people join different styles of support groups. But still others start attending family or couple therapy sessions with their treasured ones who want to know how to better work together to achieve long-sobriety away from addiction.

Most people take advantage of different addiction therapy options that emphasize the group. Music and art therapy, sports therapy, outdoors and adventure therapy – these are some addiction therapies that are served to help patients to reduce stress and interact with others.

A Job

Plan to go to a volunteer position or school program. Anything that is positive and healthy can help to provide structure to the regular basis. After addiction treatment rehabilitation recovery, some relapse out of boredom. Discovering something that’s worth doing to dwell in the bulk of one’s time and then filling in the schedule with an aftercare support programs and positive social connections can aid the individual to avert the aimlessness and the isolation that can prompt to a return to a possible addiction relapse.


When you lack hope, there no amount positive relationship goals will be able to save sobriety for someone. Really wanting to avoid addiction relapse and a life defined by the addiction is an essential factor in getting through the difficult days and enjoying long-term recovery and sobriety.

Start at the beginning

When both psychological and physical addictions are present, there’s no amount of dedication and willpower that will magically make someone in Tulsa, OK overcome the addiction disease. Rather, starting the journey with a comprehensive addiction treatment rehabilitation recovery is important to stabilize physically and understand how to put alcohol and drugs in the past in favor of a successful future.

Marijuana Addiction and the Best Treatment

Approximately 9-10% of people who use marijuana daily have marijuana addiction. Marijuana addiction is characterized by the psychological need for weed despite of the negative consequences to a person’s finances, health, work, or home life.

But don’t worry, marijuana addiction is treatable. Are you one of those people in Tulsa, OK who are addicted to marijuana? Before you begin treating your marijuana addiction, you must first accept the actual problem. ur team helps to conduct addiction interventions that helps you to get into the best addiction treatment. There are many users who say that marijuana in not addictive; they often misunderstand it and deny that marijuana can be abused.

Here are list of common signs and symptoms of marijuana addiction, to help you decide if you or a family member is addicted to marijuana and needs help.

  • Craving marijuana when not using it
  • Feeling uncomfortable if not high
  • Hanging out with the people who smoke marijuana
  • Increasing doses over time
  • Losing control of intended use
  • Losing interest in family, school, work
  • Trying to quit smoking weed and failing

Do you or your loved ones have one of this signs? You may consider asking for professional help and a drug addiction center.

How do you treat marijuana addiction? Usually, marijuana addiction therapy occurs in three stages, which includes detox if necessary, psychotherapy or behavioral therapy, and continued support through group and individual work.

Treating marijuana addiction always begins with detox, during which the body rids itself of accumulated THC. If you’re wondering whether you can be physically addicted to marijuana, the answer is yes, which is evident in the manifestation of clinical symptoms during withdrawal. While many withdrawal symptoms are psychological in nature, others are physical.

Some people only experience mild withdrawal symptoms from marijuana that can be treated at home with over the counter medication, but heavy users are advised to seek medical assistance, especially for complications with mood disorders and sleeping problems.

Where can you go to receive treatment for marijuana addiction? There are many professional settings which assess, refer, and manage treatment for marijuana addiction, including:

Addiction Treatment Centers – These centers include inpatient and outpatient clinics, which we usually call, rehab, offering iboth behavioral and pharmacological treatment for addiction, plus follow-up aftercare programs.

Detox clinics – These clinics are specialized to help patients detox from drugs while treating the physical withdrawal symptoms and providing medical assistance when needed.

Clinical Psychologists and Psychiatrist – These specialists are trained to identify and treat drug addiction by means of behavioral treatment or psychotherapy. Seeking help from a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist is highly recommended for heavy users or for those in denial.

Addiction support groups – Spending time talking to people who share your experiences and can offer mutual support and advice is beneficial for those who seek a drug-free life. It is highly recommended that a marijuana addict join a support group to learn the principles of addiction recovery.

Social Workers – You can seek help from a social worker if you wish to be referred to an affordable and suitable treatment program, or if you want to look for financial aid for addiction recovery.

Some tips: when looking for a treatment option, you can consider your own needs and preferences. The best treatment program for you is the one that meets your needs.

Staying Healthy While You’re in Treatment Rehab

Most likely when you enter treatment rehab, you’re probably not feeling very healthy because of drug and alcohol abuse and the damage that the disease does to your health. If you have been using drugs or alcohol for many years, your health may even be in state of emergency.

For most people in Tulsa, OK entering treatment rehab recovery for substance abuse, addiction can be very hard and this is especially true if you have used drug and alcohol for a long time. Upon entering treatment, you may wonder even worry about what you are going to do with your free time now that alcohol and drugs are not your focus in life. For this reason, you will benefit from physical fitness and exercise schedules.

There are many benefits of exercise in addiction recovery. When you first enter recovery rehab, you may feel very out of shape or you may be in poor health. Your health is an important part of the puzzle when it comes to recovery, and without it you cannot succeed.  That is why you need to work with your treatment center staffs to develop a personalized plan to improve your physical and mental health.

Increasing your physical activities can have a striking effect by decreasing your stress levels and increasing your energy levels. There are many physical treatments available in recovery, including yoga therapy. Yoga therapy can promote relaxation and can give you a great outlet to work off some of your stress.

Exercise also encourages someone to become more interested in new and healthy activities. Exercising helps mentally as well by producing endorphins which are responsible for making an individual feel euphoric and happy, which also provides a natural pain reliever.

Many people gain their sense of peace while they’re outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air. During treatment, there will be times that you may feel unable to concentrate or feel that you need a moment for yourself. This is the perfect time for you to take a short walk to clear your mind. Taking a minute to assess your own thoughts can work wonders for your concentration and sense of calmness. Other treatment centers offer meditation classes and acupuncture therapy to help patients relax.

Before leaving recovery treatment rehabilitation recovery, your therapist or counselors will create an aftercare plan for you to help you understand what to do when you are faced with problems at home. Sometimes you’ll feel uncertain and stressed which is completely normal, but you should be aware that after treatment these feelings lead many recovered addicts to relapse. One way to avoid this is to have a solid aftercare plan that also contains exercise programs and activities that will teach you to release nervousness and stress in a healthier way.