alternatives-to-medicine-dara

Medication Alternatives for Breaking Bad Habits

Articles, Australia, International, Understanding Addiction

Medication is a great crutch when it comes to dealing with health and well-being issues. We have a slight headache and outcomes paracetamol. We rely on medicine for nearly all ailments these days, we have been led to believe that all it takes is just a quick pill or jab and we are good to go. Most opiate addicts will no doubt interject, that reliance on medication is what got them in their addiction troubles, to begin with. As it stands, United States have a veritable epidemic of people getting addicted to painkillers and other prescription or over-the-counter medication. It’s time to step back and re-evaluate the way we approach medicine and look at alternatives that could aid our well-being without flooding our bodies with chemicals.

So what can a recovering addict do instead of using addiction suppressing medicine? There are some cases of addiction treatment can not forego some medicinal intervention, for the simple reason being that their bodies and brain chemistry balance has gone too far to simply go “cold turkey”, as they say. Severe alcoholism and heroin addictions are just a few of these cases. Without proper care and medical attention the addict can suffer such harsh withdrawal symptoms that they can die from heart attack or respiratory shock. That said, there is very little incentive and need to remain on invasive medicine courses after you have gone through your detox period.

Meditation

For years you might have focused your mind entirely on your drug of choice. Where to get money for it, where to get the drug, where to use it. Having that mindset, it’s not easy to put that behind once you are on the path of recovery. Changing an opinion is easy, changing entire mindset is not only hard, it’s a very long process. Changing one’s outlook does not happen overnight. Meditation will allow you to focus on what matters. It has helped countless recovering addicts to change the way they think about stress, problems, anger and most important of all – cravings.

Counselling

Most people who are looking for alternatives to the medicinal approach of addiction recovery are usually fresh out of a rehabilitation center. It should come as no surprise then that most are eager to return to their daily lives without supervision or being told what to do and what not to do. Most recovering addicts at this stage have no desire to find a therapist or a counselor who can give them guidance since they just finished doing that in the rehab. Yet, a continuation of your out-of-rehab recovery with a professional to talk with is incredibly beneficial and will aid you in dealing with urges and pent up stress. Never underestimate advice of a professional.

Physical Activities

Most people find it hard to believe when they are told that exhausting yourself in various forms of exercise will make you feel better. It seems counter-intuitive but it is very true. Physical exertion releases a wide array of hormones that affect the way you think. Endorphins flowing, dopamine pumping and serotonin streaming through your brain will not only help your mood improve, it will also help in a much more straightforward way – make you physically fit and healthy. And all that without a pill or a shot in sight.

Support Group

When you are met with your inner demons and all those cravings come bubbling to the surface, it’s not always easy to stay strong. Just as detrimental it can be to keep company that still uses drugs, it’s as beneficial to stay in a circle of people who have gone through the same hardships as you have. People who think in a similar way, don’t judge, understand and probably most importantly, actually listen. Abandoning a support group is probably the biggest mistake a recovering addict could possibly do. If you feel tempted, lonely, misunderstood and frustrated a group of people who feel the same and understand your state of mind can be invaluable on your path to recovery.

Hobby

As the proverb goes, idle hands are the devil’s playthings. A lack of things to do with one’s hands may not be the most apt comparison to a depressed and tempted mind of an addict, but it is rather appropriate in the idea it conveys. Idling in boredom and addict is locked in its own mind. A mind that is filled with traps and potholes of anxiety and self-pity. Saying “just think about something else” to a conflicted addict is borderline criminal, yet occupying the mind with things he enjoys and finds interesting can do a world of good. Learn how to write code, go fishing, break out a painting set or look up local paintball fields. Find a distraction you enjoy, whatever it may be, and devote your free time to it. Every minute spent measuring the size of a birdhouse you are building is a minute away from cravings and temptations.

 

There are a number of approaches to beat an addiction without placing yourself in a medicated stupor. Experiment, research, learn and apply. Pretty soon the bad thoughts will leave you and allow you to live a fulfilling life.

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Anne -

Anne Lazarakis joined the DARA Rehab team from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health on a global, local and community level. She also relays personal accounts of substance abuse and recovery through the stories of our clients, their families and our own team members.
If you, or someone you care about, needs help for a drug or alcohol addiction, contact one of our therapists today.
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