Physical Therapy – A Treatment Option for Recovering Addicts
Posted Jun 04 2012 9:59am
The following is a guest post by Matt Liu, currently a senior and a full time student at the University of Texas at Dallas pursuing both a M.S. in Information Technology Management and a Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences in Dallas, Texas. With a passion for the human mind, people, and technology, he enjoys reading and writing about both the mental and physiological aspects of the human psychology. Matt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Physical Therapy – A Treatment Option for Recovering Addicts by Matt Liu
When thinking about recovering from drug addiction, rehab centers are at the top of most people’s minds. Treatments typically include residential treatment, local support groups, behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, and medicine. But, what people usually don’t think of is physical therapy, even though it can be extremely effective. Recovering from drug addiction isn’t as simple as discontinuing the use of drugs. It’s more than just changing behavior. It’s about creating a new lifestyle for recovering addicts. How, you ask? One option is to utilize physical therapy.
Abuse of alcohol and drugs can seriously damage the body, leaving it weak and susceptible to disease. Short term programs can help with the initial detoxification of the body followed by a 12 step program to get the addict started on their road to recovery. Afterwards, extended care programs are used to eliminate drugs and alcohol from the life of an addict in order to change their habits and behavior for a healthier life. However, despite receiving extensive care, many addicts still relapse because they have a weak body.
Imagine a time in someone’s life when they were the sickest. They felt sluggish, they had no energy, and their overall poor physical condition rendered them incapable of being productive and happy in general. The same goes for recovering addicts who, most times, feel much worse. Physical therapy provides positive stimulation and a healthy lifestyle, which are two of the most important and crucial factors in making a full recovery and preventing relapse.
Through physical therapy and exercise, addicts not only receive positive stimulation biochemically from endorphins, but they also improve mentally from seeing themselves improve physically. Naturally, after years of substance abuse, their bodies have regressed. With physical therapy and exercise, recovering addicts not only feel stronger, they actually are stronger. Giving recovering addicts a strong body helps create a mentality that instills a sense of independence and confidence. Being healthy and exercising is no longer a task, but a way of life. In this regard, physical therapy and exercise help fill the void that addicts have after being separated from their dependency on drugs.
Physical therapy can be a very effective way of helping recovering addicts in making a big and positive change in their life. Unfortunately, physical therapy is one of the least practiced fields out of all of the medical professions. Luckily, physical therapy is expected to see growth in the coming years as a result of aging baby boomers. This growth will provide the opportunity to promote physical therapy and push it out from under the shadow of other medical practices.