Can CrossFit Help Treat Addiction?

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Can CrossFit Help Treat Addiction?
To put it simply, whether you are addicted to drugs, alcohol, shopping, sex, or something out of the ordinary, the answer to the above question is “yes.” It’s all a matter of replacing an unhealthy high with a more natural high.

The (Basic) Science

[I]f you can’t sleep knowing you didn’t do enough reps or push-ups that day, then you have to take a step back and recognize that your problem is back — the addiction just has a different focus.
Scientists have done multiple experiments using humans and mice to determine the relationships between drug addictions and exercise. Whether it was drugs or shopping, when participating in their addicting habits, those in recovery were introduced to endorphins that gave them a “high” feeling. As most of us have learned in health class or by watching Legally Blonde, exercise also gives you endorphins, which, in turn, also make you happier on average. By replacing the endorphins released from the addicting substance with endorphins from exercise, addicts have less of a desire to return to their addictions.

Introducing CrossFit to Your Rehab

In a 2012 study, researchers monitored humans, canines, and ferrets to determine the impact of running on neurobiological rewards. While the results matched experiments done by scientists in the past, running is not for everyone. Because the same impact on fighting addiction can be seen from any form of exercise, CrossFit exercises are a popular alternative to repetitive and monotonous exercises, such as basic running. Like running, CrossFit provides recovering addicts with the possibility of performing exercises everywhere, whether they are home, traveling, or in a rehabilitation center like 12 Keys Rehabilitation for example. In fact, many rehabilitation centers across the country are introducing mandatory exercise sessions for recovering addicts.

Another positive aspect of CrossFit is that it allows addicts to strive towards a healthy goal.
Events, games, and invitationals are hosted across the country for athletes who have trained with CrossFit. In fact, the CrossFit Games is almost like an exercise version of the Olympics. What better reward for a recovering addict than winning an award for working hard to beat their addiction? Not only will they be in better health and in better shape, they will have a physical reminder to look at everyday which tells them they did what they needed to do… and are better physically and mentally for it.

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