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Running: Exercise’s Place In Addiction Recovery

Many people turn to exercise as a form of stress relief, a way to clear the mind, and a mode to physically challenge the body. When battling addiction and fighting to maintain sobriety, exercise can play a very pivotal role in preventing relapse. Writer David Jones explains that running helped him to continue with his treatment program and that it helped to change something within him. He cites Dr. Stephen Stahl’s book Stahl’s Illustrated: Substance Use and Impulsive Disorders  as a source of clarity and help for him.

Drugs are addictive because of the brain’s reward system and its reaction to neurochemicals. Addictive drugs and alcohol activate a release of dopamine, and as addiction endures, less and less dopamine is produced, requiring more of the substance in question to produce a similar high. Jones explains that running helped to replace his addiction by producing dopamine in a healthy way. Running — or other forms of exercise — increase production of dopamine and other neurochemicals naturally. Becoming dependent on any one behavior can still prove difficult, but Jones’s points regarding exercise are important to keep in mind. True recovery requires a holistic approach for mind, body and spirit.

Click here to read the full article by David Jones for Mind Body Green.