Recreational Therapy for Addiction: Types, Benefits, Mental Health & Signs of Drug Addiction
What Is Recreational Therapy for Addiction?
Does the phrase “drug rehab” make you think of sterile, minimalist environments and long, intense therapy sessions? It is true that addiction treatment and therapy require a significant commitment and can be emotionally and physically exhausting. However, the goal of addiction treatment is to restore mental well-being, and that means learning how to enjoy and take care of yourself. Recreational therapy for addiction can show you how to do just that.
So how does recreational therapy for addiction show you how to take care of yourself? What is recreational therapy, and how does it help with addiction treatment?
The recreational therapy definition from the American Therapeutic Recreation Association describes it as a “process that uses recreational activity-based intervention to help people with mental health conditions recover psychological and physical well-being.”
Therapy for Addiction: General Signs of Drug Addiction
Drug addiction often starts with experimental substance use in social settings. While virtually any substance can be abused, some drugs carry a higher risk of dependency and addiction than others. It’s important to identify instances of substance abuse early on, so intervention can occur before addiction takes hold.
There’s no question that substance use and abuse are widespread in the US. Per 2013-2015 data from NIDA’s National Survey of Drug Use and Health, 65.7 percent of individuals 12 and older used alcohol the prior year, 13.5 percent used marijuana or hashish, and 17.8 percent reported using illicit drugs. In their lifetime, 81 percent of those surveyed reported drinking alcohol, 44 percent said they smoked marijuana or hashish, and 48.8 percent had used illicit drugs.
The longer one uses a substance, the harder it is to stop without experiencing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. As a result, recognizing the signs of drug addiction sooner rather than later is important. There are common signs of habitual drug use across all substances as well as signs that are unique to the type of substance abused.
If a person is abusing any drug, there are some general signs to look for. These include:
- Difficulties at school, disinterest in school-related activities, and declining grades
- Poor work performance, being chronically late to work, appearing tired and disinterested in work duties, and receiving poor performance reviews
- Changes in physical appearance, such as wearing inappropriate or dirty clothing and a lack of interest in grooming
- Altered behavior, such as an increased desire for privacy
- Drastic changes in relationships
- A noticeable lack of energy when performing daily activities
- Spending more money than usual or requesting to borrow money
- Issues with financial management, such as not paying bills on time
- Changes in appetite, such as a decreased appetite and associated weight loss
- Bloodshot eyes, poor skin tone, and appearing tired or run down
- Defensiveness when asked about substance use
If you or your loved one are exhibiting signs of addiction but you don’t know where to turn, We Level Up California can help. Our fully licensed team of medical providers and network of credentialed treatment facilities have helped thousands of people get back on their feet and lead a life in recovery. We offer best-in-class care for substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health disorders, treating the whole patient and setting them up for a lifetime of success. Please take the next step by contacting us today.
Types of Recreational Therapy for Addiction
Many types of recreational therapy for addiction are used in the treatment and allow participants to find an activity that interests them. Some recreational therapy activities include:
- Yoga Therapy: Practicing yoga can help someone in recovery learn healthy coping skills to manage stress. Exercise also naturally boosts serotonin levels. Practicing yoga may provide a positive outlet for stress, helping to reduce overall feelings of anxiety.
- Canine Therapy: Canine therapy typically consists of playing with, petting, walking and grooming a dog. Canine therapy can boost someone’s confidence level, improve their mood, ease their feelings of anxiety and build social interaction skills.
- Art Therapy: Art therapy allows people in recovery another way to express emotions that may come up in talk therapy. Painting or drawing, in addition to talk therapy, can allow people to examine the effects of their substance use and recognize how to change those behaviors.
- Music Therapy: Music therapy is intended to help patients learn to manage physical, emotional or cognitive issues. Some benefits of music therapy include:
- Reduction of stress, depression and anxiety
- Promotes self-awareness
- Encourages communication from patients who experienced trauma
- Massage Therapy: Massage therapy typically involves bodywork techniques that calm the mind and relieve tension and stress. Massage therapy can also naturally produce dopamine and serotonin while releasing toxins built up from the patient’s substance misuse.
- Adventure Therapy: Adventure therapy is a hands-on approach to psychotherapy. This kind of outdoor therapy usually includes rope courses, outdoor pursuits, wilderness expeditions and group games.
- Llama Therapy: Go ahead and laugh — the whole point of llama therapy is to encourage laughter and joy. Animal therapy is a great addition to talk therapy for people in recovery. Some treatment centers are now implementing llama therapy for their patients to reduce withdrawal symptoms, chronic pain, depression, anxiety and fatigue. Research data is emerging on the effectiveness of animal therapy.
These different types of therapies allow people in treatment to discover something new or reignite an interest they once had. These activities are something they can continue to participate in after they’ve completed treatment and are in recovery.
Benefits of Recreational Therapy for Addiction
The ultimate goal of recreational therapy for addiction treatment is to increase social interaction, effective communication, problem-solving, and stress management. It also helps people in recovery to discover or reignite a passion for healthy interests and outlets. Recreational therapy for addiction is intended to promote sober fun so people can remain on the path to long-term recovery.
The benefits of recreational therapy for addiction include promoting addiction-free health and enhancing physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. These benefits allow people to navigate their daily lives without returning to substance use. What makes recreational therapy unique is that it can be tailored for each person to fit their long-term lifestyle goals.
The recovery process can be mentally and physically exhausting. Being able to participate in recreational therapy for addiction is usually a welcome break for people in addiction treatment. Some additional benefits of recreational therapy for mental health include:
- Improved social function
- Improved self-esteem
- Decreased loneliness
- Reinforced stress management
- Increased focus
- Increased feelings of control
- Increased community involvement
Recreational Therapy for Addiction and Mental Health Treatment
Therapy in addiction treatment centers often revolves around recreational outlets. Before entering treatment, someone with a substance use disorder may have spent considerable free time obtaining and misusing substances. People in recovery must learn how to spend time effectively while having fun and taking care of their needs.
In group and individual therapy sessions, people in addiction treatment learn that they have to manage their stress without using substances. Using recreational therapy for mental health and addiction treatment is not only a healthy way to relieve stress and anxiety, but also an excellent introduction to activities that someone might enjoy during and after rehab.
Reclaim Your Life With Recreational Therapy for Addiction
Substance abuse disorder is a condition that can cause major health, social, and economic problems that should not be taken lightly. We Level Up California can provide you, or someone you love, Recreational Therapy for Addiction with professional and safe care. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.