Surprising Ways to Help a Loved One During Methadone Treatment
Addiction develops from the compulsion to use a substance even when you are aware that it is having a negative impact on your life and you want to stop. That compulsion is developed through brain chemistry.
Users feel pleasure from the drug use and a chemical called dopamine is released; it is a pleasure chemical. Once the brain associates pleasure with the drug, the brain develops a desire for more. This is a pleasure cycle and the brain will keep trying to get to more drugs to keep the pleasure going.
A person who is in methadone treatment is trying to break that cycle and they need all the help they can get. If you are looking for more ways to support someone in recovery, contact MethadoneClinic.com 800-891-9360(Who Answers?) and speak with someone who can provide resources.
When an addiction takes over, healthy time in the sun diminishes. Sunlight is an aid during detox, treatment, and recovery; during all of these is can relax sore muscles and increase both serotonin and vitamin D.
Serotonin is a neuro-transmitter, which means that it moves signals along and between the body’s nerves. It is believed to be particularly active in tightening muscles, communicating impulses between nerve cells, and impacting wellbeing and contentment. Because of its role in mood maintenance, a deficit of serotonin is associated with depression. Therefore, the last thing someone struggling with recovery needs is to also grapple with low levels of serotonin. Time in the sun can fix that.
In addition, sunlight adds to the body’s daily production of vitamin D. Vitamin D actually refers to a couple different forms of the vitamin. Human benefit from 2 of them: vitamin in D2 is made by plants and D3 is made by human skin when it is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption, maintaining strong bones, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing depression. Strong links between vitamin D deficiency and depression have been identified and the National Institutes of Health’s vitamin D fact sheet states “Approximately five-to-30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen” is enough exposure to prevent deficiency.
How You Can Help
As your loved one copes with the transition from treatment to recovery, encourage them to get out in the sun. Propose hikes, neighborhood walks, window shopping, a game of Frisbee, an afternoon swimming, or any other enjoyable activity that will get them out in the fresh air and soaking up the rays.
Remember to remain hydrated, to wear sun screen, and to be mindful of how long you remain in the sun. No one wants to deal with dehydration, sun burn, or heat stroke.
Most people are familiar with the term “runner’s high” and the idea that exercise releases endorphins, which can improve happiness and well-being. An article in Sports Medicine points out the name “endorphin” is a combination of the words “endogenous” and “morphine.” Essentially, endorphins are a morphine-like substances that get made in the body. Like morphine, they help reduce pain and increase positive feelings.
Endorphins, released from the pituitary gland during strenuous exercise, orgasm, pain, and emotional stress, trigger the brain’s reward center. The amount released will vary from person to person. During recovery it is important that addicts continue developing sober ways to feel pleasure.
Regular exercise can:
- Relieve and reduce stress
- Positively alter brain chemistry
- Provide the clarity of meditation
- Improve outlook
- Increase self-esteem
- Reduce depression
- Reinforce the goal of continued sobriety
- Improve sleep
How You Can Help
To support your loved one in getting plenty of exercise plan times to get active together, join a gym together, sponsor their gym membership, give the gift of exercise videos, invite them on long walks or runs. There are plenty of easy, cheap ways to join the recovering addict in your life for some active time together.
It is important to remember that endorphin rush can become something that people crave and this can lead to “exercise addiction.” Unfortunately, over exertion does not increase endorphin output, so people who attempt to push themselves for increased endorphin release will be disappointed. Most people, however, are able to exercise normally and enjoy endorphins.
There are easy ways to help your loved one’s body trigger chemical euphoria without drugs. The body is set up to do it naturally and safely. If you would like more tips to help support someone during methadone treatment, contact MethadoneClinic.com 800-891-9360(Who Answers?).