Learning to Let Go: Facing Cravings in Treatment

Learning to let go - dealing with cravings after treatment

Making the choice to quit using substances and start addiction treatment is one of the best possible decisions you can make for your life. It is completely natural to feel nervous about going to addiction treatment, but know that the difficulty of the process pales in comparison to taking that initial step to get sober.

Withdrawal is a common aspect of treatment, it varies in intensity and duration but comprises everyone’s path to recovery. Many of the physical symptoms of withdrawal typically subside within the ‘detox’ period of treatment, however, the cravings often continue and some even suffer from Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) up to months after quitting the substance. No matter how you experience cravings, we at Florida House have tried and tested programs to ease the journey and make it less painful. Beyond our medical and clinical interventions, there are things you can do in your personal life to deal with withdrawal. Many people have gone through withdrawal before and made it through, and you can as well.

Tips for Craving Management In Addiction Treatment

1. Engage in yoga, meditation, and stretching. Some of the physical symptoms of withdrawal are dizziness, headaches, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. To overcome negative reactions, you need to stimulate circulation and blood flow, lessen pain, and minimize tension. Yoga, meditation, and stretching are easy methods everyone can use to accomplish this. They make you more aware of your body and how to control emotional reactions to certain parts of the body being unbalanced. Meditation is also imperative to fighting cravings because it keeps you mindful of what your hopes are for treatment. Knowing what your goals are for the future and for recovery is key to being able to survive the pain and discomfort of cravings. Meditation keeps you rooted in why you are seeking addiction treatment, where you are in the process, and where you want to be. It also aids in mitigating feelings of anxiety, pain, and depression, all of which are side effects of withdrawal.

Dealing with craving tips: learning to focus on your goals

2. Keep physically active. Exercise triggers the release of endorphins in the brain. Promoting the firing of neurotransmitters naturally is healthy and will dull cravings since the drug is not needed to produce the same euphoria exercise generates. It restores chemical balance to the brain and increases consumption of water, makes the individual sleep easier, and encourages him or her to eat healthier. As a result, cravings are reduced as all of these other needs are being met. Diversify your physical activity daily so exercise does not lose excitement. Find partners make it feel more enjoyable and social. This is a great way to make friends and keep your mind off of drugs during recovery. Sweat also rids the body of toxins from drug and alcohol.

3. Stay healthy with nutritious foods. Eating and drinking are both major aspects of treatment. Hunger and thirst are sometimes mistaken for cravings and can cause people to relapse. Many have preferences for what they like, so regulating nutrition is a rather inexpensive way to deal with that almost anyone can utilize. Certain foods and drinks stir up positive memories strong enough to mask and replace the negative or fleeting ones associated with drugs use. Having a well-planned diet will restore a sense of order to your life that addiction may have deprived you of. Foods high in vitamins and proteins also improve cognitive functioning, allowing your brain to resume normal activity independent of the influence of drugs. Using supplements also weakens cravings. Studies show that many dealing with addiction are deficient in vitamins or iron or vitamins. While an individual may think the drugs are what they need, supplements are better at filling that void. When your body is unbalanced, withdrawal symptoms can be more painful and cravings increasingly harder to resist. Drugs and alcohol deplete the body of what it needs to run and so you must replace those nutrients during withdrawal to expedite healing. Stay away from caffeine, refined sugars, processed foods, oils, and fats as they depress the body, heightening feelings of withdrawal.

4. Get more sleep. More sleep betters the functioning of the brain. Having the proper amount of rest on a fixed schedule every night will help to manage the mood swings and drug cravings characteristic of withdrawal. Some people are in addiction treatment because they began medicating themselves to deal with restlessness and insomnia. As many as 20% of Americans use alcohol to induce sleep as it causes drowsiness. Thus, self-regulating your sleep will make those substances useless to you as your ability to rest is not dependent on them.

Avoiding cravings - Using exercise to focus

5. Find a supportive community. Support groups like the 12-Step program at Alcoholics Anonymous are a great way to bring you around people struggling with the same issues you are. Being in the company of your peers, hearing their stories and sharing your own, offers a distraction from cravings. In fact, you can learn how others dealt with addiction treatment and cravings, compare it with your own experiences, and make any adaptations that you think will also suit you. Even if you reach a particularly low point in withdrawal where your body is yearning for that high, you have the motivation from those within the group to fight through and not relapse. They are all invested in your recovery and you all have the same end goal.

6. Use alternative forms of treatment. The use and promotion of holistic care are generally discouraged by medical professionals as their healing effects remain unproven. However, many in addiction treatment who fear cravings are apprehensive about using medication as a way to treat their cravings since it may become another addiction. So, there are other, non-medical options to make cravings an easier undertaking. Massage therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care have all been shown to mitigate withdrawal symptoms and minimize signs of cravings. Massage therapy and chiropractic care utilize touch to isolate certain muscles and alleviate tension in the body, which is a great way to relieve pain and stress. The practice of acupuncture places needles at points in the body to increase blood flow, promote circulation, and re-balance since homeostasis is often thrown off with withdrawal.

7. Maintain channels of communication. Keeping an open and honest dialogue with family members, friends, loved ones, counselors, and therapists is a major component of addiction treatment. Speaking your mind will prevent you from having to bottle up the thoughts and feelings that could make cravings even more difficult to overcome. We highly encourage our patients to associate themselves with a 12-step program where they can find a mentor who can be there in times when cravings flare up. They can guide someone new to recovery through the common pitfalls and provide a sounding-board for ideas. Speaking to others is a creative way to acquire coping mechanisms that can curb cravings and prevent relapse. It is important to not speak to people that enable your addiction. There are people who may have introduced you to substances or done them with you. In these cases, such persons are likely to trigger horrible abuse-related memories that make withdrawal far more difficult to survive. Do not continue to associate with those people as they lead you down a path to relapsing, especially not in early recovery. 

Get Help Today

FHE Health boasts a wide array of addiction treatment methods that are all nationally accredited. There are detox facilities, residential treatment, outpatient services, and sober living residences are designed to facilitate your path to sobriety. Each method is catered to your particular needs and will aid in reducing your cravings and the intensity of the withdrawal process that everyone experiences differently.

The programs in addiction treatment at Florida House grant access to 24/7 medical care and support services purposed to make recovery smoother and prevent future relapse. You can pair our techniques with simple practices like exercise and nutritious eating to produce the best possible outcome. If you or someone you know is struggling with facing cravings during their addiction treatment, please contact us at 844-299-0618 for assistance.

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