5 Science-Backed Approaches That Help With Drug Recovery

Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on March 22, 2021.

Drug recovery is not a one-size-fits-all experience. Every person follows a unique path, ideally supported by a team of compassionate detox and rehabilitation professionals. However, several well-respected treatment approaches are regularly used alone or together as part of a customized treatment plan.

Below are five of the most commonly relied-upon strategies that have helped many people with drug recovery.

1. Peer Support Groups and Group Counseling

As explained in a study co-authored by researchers from the New York University School of Medicine, getting regular support and feedback from peers can help recovering addicts manage their condition. Connecting routinely with peers in a nonclinical environment could lead to a reduction in risky behaviors.

Peer groups can be arranged in several informal and formal settings. When leveraged with other substance use recovery methods, peer groups can help individuals feel supported and understood. Friendships formed through group counseling can also lessen the desire to return to pre-recovery habits.

2. Exercise and Nutrition

Anyone who has met or exceeded personal fitness milestones knows the value of getting physically healthier. As part of a comprehensive, individualized substance abuse treatment program, exercise and thoughtful eating can serve as positive alternatives to drug use.

Danish experiment involving recovering addicts indicated that working out three times weekly for as little as two months resulted in improved self-image and reduced unwanted, unhealthy choices.

3. New Activities

It can be difficult for people to embrace a sober lifestyle if they only feel comfortable doing what they did before entering treatment. Consequently, people in recovery are often encouraged to engage in meaningful new activities, such as learning a hobby or embarking on a different career training path.

This practice can replace unhealthy choices with productive ones. Additionally, diving into previously unknown activities can add purpose to someone's life, especially if one of the activities is charitable or community-minded.

4. Mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness allow individuals in treatment to connect more fully with their psychological and physical needs, including drug use triggers, withdrawal and cravings. Understanding how to make decisions based on mindful practices can even reduce episodes of relapse.

How can recovering addicts apply mindfulness? Some choose to join yoga and other meditative groups aimed specifically at supporting a recovering addict. Others take a more self-directed route supported by their team of preferred detox experts.

5. Residential Treatment

Addiction is complex, and sometimes the best way to start and move through the recovery period is in a residential, caring setting. Residential facilities geared toward supporting recovering addicts promote monitored detoxification and personalized treatments.

Residential solutions are especially helpful in removing an addict from an environment with unhealthy temptations. It's much easier to become accustomed to sobriety in a place devoted solely to prompting recovery and replacing unwanted behaviors.

Helping Someone With Drug Recovery

It can be frustrating and overwhelming to figure out where to turn when you or someone you love is facing addiction. Contact Diamond House Detox for more information about our programs, including in-patient detoxification and the wide range of client therapies we offer. Remember — the first step to any drug recovery approach is asking for help.