holistic addiction recovery

Can These Brain Scans Pinpoint Relapse Risk?

Penn State ResearchersIn his landmark report issued late last year, Dr. Vivek Murthy, the United States Surgeon General, made it clear that addiction should be treated like any other clinical, chronic condition. In his 400-page report, Facing Addiction in America, Murthy urged the American public to view the disease of addiction with more compassionate optics. “Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain and it’s one that we have to treat the way we would any other chronic illness: with skill, with compassion and with urgency.”

Taking that same clinical approach, researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine are working to develop a new test that may possibly help doctors predict individuals who are most at risk of relapse.

For the past few years, Scott Bunce has been studying the brain activity of those in recovery from an addiction to heroin and prescription painkillers. To conduct the study, Bunce and his team showed images of drugs and drug paraphernalia to the study participants.

His team then asked the research to participants to state if the images induced cravings for the drug or triggered positive feelings or emotions as a result.

Bunce and his team found that those who reported feeling no temptation as a result of seeing the images yet also exhibited increased brain activity as a result were more likely to experience a relapse.

While additional research still needs to be conducted, the scientists hypothesize that this provides further support that addiction is truly a disease of the brain. Individuals may not intentionally express a desire to use and abuse drugs though their brain chemistry may be prompting them to do just that.

“It’s very important that people understand this is a brain disease,” said Sue Grigson, a professor at Penn State College of Medicine who is involved in the research.

One positive takeaway is that while the brain is indeed altered by the exposure to drugs, it can still recover and heal over time and with the right addiction treatment therapies.

Holistic Drug Rehab in South Florida

At Synergy Group Services, our team of addiction recovery team specializes in helping individuals with a chemical dependency on prescription opioids and heroin. We firmly believe in the power of holistic medicine and leverage a variety of healing therapies including acupuncture, biofeedback and individual counseling. If you are working through a challenging period of your life and want to finally address your addiction to drugs or alcohol, please let us help you. We are standing by at (888) 267-8070 and your call is confidential.

Woman stretching before a run

A Beginner’s Guide to Running During Recovery


Newly sober? If you’ve started a journey to addiction recovery, now might be a good time to fuel your recovery by working up a sweat. Running is one of the best forms of exercise and it delivers a staggering number of health benefits. Studies have shown that running drastically reduces your risk of heart disease, lowers blood pressure and can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Running is also especially helpful for those working on their sobriety. It’s a powerful stress reliever and natural mood booster that can combat cravings and the symptoms of withdrawal. Plus, it can help counteract the trauma that your body has endured during years of substance abuse – healing and restoring your physical and mental health.

Ready to get started? Here are a few strategies to help you hit the ground running!

(1) Ease your way into it.

When you’re adopting a new habit, it’s important to set yourself up for success. Give yourself small, reasonable (and specific) goals that are attainable. For example, instead of training for a marathon right away, commit to running a few minutes every day for the next four weeks. That way, you’ll be able to look back on your success, recalibrate your goals and continue pushing yourself forward.

(2) Track your progress.

Keep a journal of your running routes and the distance you cover. It can help keep you more accountable to your goals. And, there are plenty of free running apps you can use on your smartphone to record all of that for you. Some of the best include RunKeeper, iMapMyRun and SmartRunner.

(3) Fuel up beforehand.

Most experts recommend that you a small snack (200 to 400 calories) about an hour and a half before going out for a run. This gives your body enough time to digest it and make it available for your body to use as energy. Keep this rule of thumb in mind when you’re putting together a running plan. If you already get up early for work, it might make more sense to run in the evening.

Tip: As with any exercise regimen, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor in advance.

Holistic Addiction Treatment in Florida

At Synergy Group Services, our holistic approach can help you heal your body, mind, and spirit from the damage of addiction. We offer our clients a variety of holistic therapies, including physical fitness coaching, acupuncture, massage therapy, art therapy and biofeedback. We have been helping people recover for many years and if you are concerned about your own use or that of a loved one, don’t wait; call today: (888) 267-8070.

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