By Batista Gremaud
Mental health conditions can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, or ethnicity. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which aims to de-stigmatize mental health issues and promote a safe and supportive environment. It is a time to talk, listen, and take action to ensure everyone has access to mental health resources and support.
Common mental health conditions include anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (P.T.S.D.). Suicidal thoughts and behaviors are commonly associated with various mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
People with mental health issues often develop harmful coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse. Scientific evidence supports the idea that drug and alcohol addiction is a brain disease that develops over time, changes brain chemistry, and profoundly impacts a person's physical and psychological wellbeing and their families.
An Innocent Start
The initial decision to take drugs or alcohol is ordinarily voluntary. But continuous use and abuse can impair a person's capacity to exercise self-control.
Brain imaging analyses of individuals with addiction demonstrate physical changes in brain areas vital to judgment, decision-making, learning, memory, and behavior control. These side effects prevail long after the person has quit abusing the substances.
Depression and addiction often occur together because nearly all drugs affect the brain's reward system by flooding it with dopamine. However, the brain gradually adapts to the flooding of dopamine by producing less, which can lead to an addictive cycle as people need higher doses to get the same pleasurable feelings they had initially felt from taking the drug. This can lead to alcoholism, drug dependencies, and even overdoses.
A Healthier Brain for a Healthier You
Dopamine is a naturally occurring chemical messenger in the brain that plays a role in stabilizing mood behavior, regulating movement, emotion, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. Exercise naturally stimulates the brain's reward pathway. Healthy, active individuals produce more dopamine in the brain, which has been linked to better overall health.
Regular exercise also increases serotonin levels, which can help regulate impulsive-compulsive behaviors and improve the odds of a long-lasting recovery.
These findings open the door to scientific proof that incorporating exercise in a recovery action plan would assist those suffering from addictive behavior toward happiness and fulfilling sobriety while potentially repairing brain cell damage. Furthermore, fewer relapses would result in an increased success rate, which is now at an alarmingly low rate, between 3% to 5%.
A Powerful Stress Management Tool
The compulsive addictive person's response to stress is first to feel, immediately overreact and think about consequences later. Strength training strengthens the nervous system, providing a powerful coping mechanism and stress management tool.
A healthy mind grounded in a more robust nervous system uses clear thinking:
Feels the emotion
Thinks first of how to respond and evaluate possible outcomes
Takes appropriate action
Such an approach can lead to a complete lifestyle change through habit modification. For example: substituting good rather than unhealthy food could affect mood behavior because of allergic reactions to the foods eaten, avoiding getting too hungry, angry, lonely, and tired, as referred to by the acronym H.A.L.T.
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Stay in Control With Strength Training
Strength training strengthens the nervous system, enabling you to get stronger, feel better, and stay in control.
One characteristic of the addict mind is the pursuit of instant gratification. Strength training provides a way to get fast and measurable results, giving you an immediate feeling of wellbeing. As a result, exercise becomes a desired fun activity rather than one more thing on the to-do list.
A Fulfilled Life In Recovery with Strength Training
Strength training helps to rebuild the alcoholic brain by strengthening the nervous system and boosting neurogenesis, enabling a recovering addict to become more physically and emotionally balanced. It also stimulates the release of endorphins and neurotransmitters that help relieve stress and fight against depression. Additionally, it helps control impulsive/compulsive behaviors by increasing the production of serotonin.
Strength training can become a meditation that takes the mind off stress factors. It is a safe sport that enables anyone to go at their own pace and level of athleticism while providing fast and measurable results.
Dare to say no and strengthen your recovery against relapse with strength training.
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Batista Gremaud is the CEO and president of Dr Fitness International, an International Body Designer, Strength Training Expert, No1 Best Selling author of Feminine Body Design, Empowering Fitness For A Pain-Free Life, co-creator of the Feminine Body Design online strength training mentoring system, co-host of the Esoteric Principles of Bodybuilding, Recipient of the most outstanding fitness program 2019 by The Winners Circle, Mastermind at Sea. and producer of Dr Fitness USA’s THE SHOW.
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