Is Rehab Physically Demanding?

Posted in: Treatment

December 2, 2015

A stick figure sitting on stairs

Every person’s addiction rehabilitation process is different, but for many people, at least a small part of their drug rehabilitation will be physical. While rehabilitation often does involve strengthening and healing the body in many ways, the majority of treatment centers offer rehabilitation that is completely manageable for most people.

Physical Demands of Drug Detoxification

Drug rehabilitation can take many forms, but all treatment processes begin with some type of detoxification. In detoxification, the person’s body rids itself of the drug and its effects. Sherrie McGregor describes the withdrawal process as negatively affecting the nervous and hormonal systems, which are both significantly altered while under the influence of drugs. The most common symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Considerable rise in or instability of blood pressure
  • Heavy sweating
  • Nausea
  • Physical pain
  • Tremors

This withdrawal process can be uncomfortable and occasionally life threatening, so as the National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, many rehabilitation programs attempt to manage these withdrawal symptoms with medications. Specifically, medications are used in treating withdrawal from the following substances:

  • Alcohol
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Nicotine
  • Opioids

Medically assisted detoxification is often an important first step in the drug rehabilitation process, but it isn’t the only part. After the person’s body has flushed out the drug, he will be able to begin the rest of his rehabilitation program. While the rest of rehabilitation will not be as physically taxing as the detoxification process, it will likely incorporate both therapy and educational classes that will help the person learn how to manage his drug abuse or addiction in a productive and healthy way.

Physical Demands of Addiction Therapy

Group therapy is often a crucial part of rehabilitation, and SAMHSA’s Treatment Improvement Protocol No. 41 lists several focuses that group therapy might have. Many types of both individual and group therapy involve the body physically in some way, but the following types of group therapy focus specifically on the physical body:

  • Skills-building groups
  • Expressive therapy
  • Relaxation training
  • Life skills training
  • Health and wellness
  • Adventure-based therapy

Related to the health and wellness therapy, some treatment programs, especially residential ones, encourage their patients to begin exercising regularly. Different forms of exercise may be emphasized, and often include one or more of the following:

  • Yoga
  • Running
  • Walking
  • Team sports
  • Swimming
  • Weight-lifting
  • Dancing

Combined with a healthy diet, physical exercise can be one of the best ways for the person to maintain his recovery after he completes rehabilitation. Many treatment centers therefore encourage their patients to develop these habits while they are still receiving treatment. These healthy activities can change the person’s focus away from harmful substances and towards more beneficial practices. Additionally, they can improve the person’s overall physical and mental health, which can in turn help him manage his addiction more successfully.

The purpose of drug rehabilitation is to help the person safely complete the withdrawal process, provide him with counseling in order to address any physical or mental health problems that may be occurring, and to teach him ways to live a healthy and productive life without drugs. Each of these rehabilitation steps engages the person’s body in some way, but success in each stage is completely possible with the help of the program’s healthcare professionals.

Learn More about the Physical Demands of Drug Rehabilitation

If you are considering drug rehabilitation, but are worried about its physical demands, please call us at 615-490-9376. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to talk more with you about what exactly the drug rehabilitation process looks like and get you the help you or a loved one may need.

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