Opioid Addiction Treatment and Exercise

Opioid Addiction Treatment & Exercise

Opioid addiction can be treated effectively with medication-assisted treatment and counseling. In addition to professional care, exercise is found to be beneficial in opioid detox and the recovery process.

Opioid addiction causes havoc with the chemical balance in the brain. As a result, a person who has abused opiates has destroyed the body and brain’s production of “feel good” chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins. Because exercise will increase naturally the level of dopamine and endorphins in the body, exercise can be used during opioid detox and recovery to reduce withdrawal symptoms, cravings, help prevent relapse, and help provide a way to cope with triggers and reduce stress.

Exercise helps in the fight against opioid abuse in other ways.  It gives a natural high, improves sleep patterns, and promotes healthy living and confidence. Exercise requires discipline and is a source of encouragement of being in control of one’s body. Many types of exercise generate a support group of its own, giving opportunities to meet others of similar interests, thus encouraging healthy relationships. Routine exercise also helps fill the void of addiction and gives a focus not centered on drug use.

Exercise Activities

Below are just a few of the more popular addiction therapy exercises. Before starting any exercise activity, consult with your doctor about exercising during detox or the recovery process. Based on your health history and duration of substance abuse, the doctor will discuss with you the best exercise activities for you.


Yoga doesn’t require expensive equipment and can be practiced by anyone. It is designed to bring mind and body closer together with the use of exercise, meditation, and breathing. The use of yoga will increase physical stamina and strength,  and it can also improve stress, anxiety levels and overall emotional healing. When starting yoga, it is helpful to find an introductory class or find a trained yoga instructor.


Walking is a good exercise for all ages and levels of fitness. Going on a walk is a good way to help with withdrawal symptoms, cravings, or to relieve stress. Obviously make sure your walking route does not take you to areas where previous drug use occurred or where drugs are easily available. For those who love being outdoors and exploring, hiking gives a fresh perspective to any day.


Running is a good source of exercise for those more physically fit as increases stamina and strengthens the heart and respiratory system.  Mental health benefits include:

            Positive feelings known as a runner’s high

            Reduced every day depression common with opioid addiction 

            Feelings of being in control, giving greater hope for the future

            Clearer thinking

Weight Training

Weight bearing activity builds dopamine levels and releases endorphins. Lifting weights improves strength and as a result,  confidence. Many begin to feel good and “amped up” with quick results. This reduces feelings of helplessness that are common with those struggling with opioid addiction. Of course, start small, and find a weight training expert to help you with your program.

AMC will provide individual treatment plans that treat the whole person: mind, body, and soul. Our caring and experienced staff wants our patients to have the physical and emotional healing necessary for a healthy, productive life. Contact A.M.C. of Nashville today. Your call is confidential.

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