The Psychological Effects of Addiction Recovery

Psychological Effects of Addiction Recovery. There are many ways to recover from addiction. For instance, there are 12-Step programs, residential rehab centers, general outpatient programs, and harm reduction groups. Ultimately, no one choice is necessarily better than the others. The reason for this is because recovery is an individual process, and no one knows what will work best for someone else. However, one component that is part of all effective addiction treatments is fostering a change in personal psychology. So, is part of addiction recovery psychological? Yes, a big part of it is.

Is Recovery Psychological? Understanding Addiction as a Disease

Most people in the addiction recovery industry and clinical community agree that addiction is a disease. Relative to how long people have been struggling with addiction, this is still a relatively new concept. 

For most of history, addiction was believed to be either a personal choice, a moral failing, or an environmental inevitability. However, this is no longer the case. It is now understood that personal failing or preference has nothing to do with whether an individual will struggle with addiction or not. However, while addiction is not a personal choice, addiction recovery certainly has a personal component.

Understanding the Personal Component of Addiction Recovery

Understanding How Long-Term Recovery Changes You

Ultimately, no one can persuade someone into recovery. The truth is that recovery is a personal choice, one that requires a personal commitment to sobriety. Yes, there are people that can help show others how they recovered. In addition, there are professionals who have the tools and techniques to help individuals understand what they need to do to recover. Moreover, there are recovery centers that create safe spaces for people to start (or restart) their recovery journey.

Still, these peers, professionals, and institutions will only work if the individual needing treatment is also willing to put in the work. As many people say in 12-Step recovery, “It works if you work it.” 

Now, to do this work successfully, it takes a certain shift in psychology. That shift is one from despair and hopelessness to one of hope and positivity.

How Is Recovery Psychological? The Psychological Effects of Addiction Recovery

Can Someone Be More Prone to Addiction?

Psychological health includes two primary components: Emotions and behaviors. Thus, it only makes sense that negative emotions and behaviors are not the building blocks for a successful recovery. The best way to work on these psychological components is to work with addiction professionals and specialists, as well as others that have also gone through both active addiction and active recovery.

Addiction and mental health specialists can help individuals understand the steps that they need to take to create positive psychological shifts. This may come from therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), or interpersonal therapy. It could also come from holistic treatments such as yoga, breathwork, and meditation. There are even experiential treatments that have been shown to help with this shift, such as art, movement, and nature therapy.

Now, peers who have gone through the same situations can also be crucial for recovery. These individuals can offer support through their shared experience of active addiction. They can also offer hope by showing what they did to achieve recovery. Lastly, they can offer a level of accountability that is often required to maintain connected to an addiction recovery plan.

Keeping It Simple in Addiction Recovery

Another important aspect of addiction recovery is not overthinking things. While there are psychological components to addiction recovery, these components often fall into place by merely doing the work. After all, it is the therapist’s job to focus on the psychological, and it is the individual’s job to do the work.

One effective way of keeping a positive psychological outlook is by helping others in recovery. Being of service to other individuals who are struggling is a very important part of many people’s recovery journeys.

In fact, helping others was a big part of the founding of the first 12-Step program (Alcoholics Anonymous). The co-founders of AA, Bill Willson and Dr. Bob Holbrook Smith, determined that only two things were going to keep them recovered: First, the belief in a Higher Power, and second, working with other people who were struggling. Now, while these parts of recovery may not be for everyone, those that utilize them tend to experience a much-needed psychological shift.