It starts with a simple curiosity, an innocent experiment, a momentary escape or relief, or even the fear of missing out. But that initial taste of satisfaction or pleasure may quickly snowball into a habit after yet another “just-this-once” speech to oneself. We’re talking about addiction, that uncontrolled and intense urge to do something repeatedly regardless of its harmful effects. The more common forms of addiction are drugs, alcohol, gambling, and smoking. But typically benign activities can also become highly addicting, such as exercising, eating, and shopping. And when addictive behavior sets in, it can potentially destroy lives.
As many as 36 million people worldwide suffered from drug use disorders in 2021 alone, leading to painful consequences. In addition to damaging relationships and careers, certain addictions are linked to significant health issues such as lung and cardiovascular diseases, neurological conditions, mental disorders, and cancer. So all one has to do is quit cold turkey, right? Not quite. Addiction is far more complex than just dropping a habit.
Fortunately, no one has to go through this disease alone. We’re here to help you literally throw some light on it. In this post, we’ll discuss how infrared sauna detox can provide a natural, safe, and powerful way out of addiction.
How can you tell if you have an addiction?
Although addiction may look similar to a habit, there is a thin line between the two. When you have a habit, you still control it; however, addiction enslaves you. Another tell-tale sign is when your behavior is already taking a toll on your physical and mental health. Addiction will also adversely affect your relationships, work, or school. Finally, all addictions are harmful, whereas habits can be either destructive or beneficial. These six criteria can help indicate that someone is struggling with addiction.
- The activity dominates the person’s life.
- The activity produces euphoria in the person.
- There is increased tolerance of the activity over time.
- Stopping the activity will result in withdrawal symptoms, such as adverse emotional and physical effects.
- The activity results in experiencing conflict with oneself and others.
- After attempts to quit, the person relapses and resumes the activity with the same zeal despite the negative life consequences.
How does a person become addicted?
When we see ourselves or people we love powerless to control or end an addiction, we may easily blame it on weakness in moral character or volition. However, studies show that addiction is not as easy as “willing oneself” out of it or taking a seminar on GMRC (Good Manners and Right Conduct). While those activities are helpful, it may take more than these to get out of an addictive rut.
An addiction is mind-altering—that is, it has the power to change your brain’s structure and function. This is why many cases of substance use disorder (like alcohol, pain relievers, and narcotics) are classified as mental diseases. Neuroimaging technologies also demonstrate that physical changes happen to the brain when experiencing pleasurable activities such as internet surfing, shopping, and gambling.
It begins with that “aha” moment, when the brain recognizes something as a source of gratification. When this happens, the brain’s pleasure center responsible for reward and motivation is activated. This triggers a surge in the substance dopamine. Now, this chemical doesn’t just give a pleasurable high but also plays an essential role in learning and memory.
With the flood of dopamine, the hippocampus, or the learning and memory structure in the brain, preserves memories of satisfying experiences. Then, the amygdala, almond-shaped clusters of cells at the base of the brain, sets up a conditioned response to the addictive stimuli. The addiction will depend on how fast and how much dopamine is released and the consistency of the releases.
Over time, the brain receptors (proteins that regulate the brain’s signals) of a person who is addicted can become so overwhelmed with the intoxicating levels of dopamine. As a result, the brain adjusts by producing less of the chemical in response to the same stimulus or getting rid of dopamine receptors.
However, the memory of the pleasurable activity or substance persists. Compulsion then takes over. Someone who is addicted will push for the same kind of high by indulging in more of the same addictive substance or activity.
Common addiction recovery treatments
Addiction recovery strategies are usually focused on taking meds or behavioral therapies. For instance, Selective Serotonin Uptake Inhibitor or SSRI therapy involves the use of antidepressants. Other treatments, such as Cognitive Behavior therapy, help individuals recognize unhealthy behavior patterns or negative thoughts and aim to help people develop coping skills.
Although these types of treatments have shown positive results, there have also been negative findings. For instance, researchers at the University of Copenhagen discovered that SSRIs might actually make depressed patients sicker. Some studies also reveal such side effects as insomnia and headaches and dangerous interactions with some prescription and OTC meds. In children and young adults, SSRI therapy may even trigger suicidal thoughts. Cognitive Behavior therapy also has some disadvantages, such as being too structured and therefore unsuitable for those with more advanced mental health issues.
Thus, to find the addiction recovery treatment that best meets your health needs or that of a loved one, it’s best to seek immediate help and work with your mental health care professional. They may recommend one or a combination of the therapies above. However, you may want to ask your doctor about one potent cutting-edge treatment making waves in medical circles today: infrared sauna detox.
Infrared sauna detox: A light-bulb moment for addiction recovery
With infrared sauna detox for addiction recovery treatment, mental health care practitioners are seeing the light—that is, infrared light.
The electromagnetic spectrum is made up of different kinds of light, from microwaves to ultraviolet light and gamma-rays. Each one carries varying levels of energy and wavelengths. Although light is generally associated with healing, ultraviolet light at the short end of the spectrum emits excessive radiation and poses health risks, such as cataracts and skin cancer.
On the other side of the spectrum lies infrared light. Its low-level energy makes it safe to be used in various therapies. In addition, its long wavelengths ensure that its healing properties penetrate deep into the skin to reach the cellular level. Here, infrared light can deliver potent yet safe doses of radiation to the mitochondria, the power generators of cells that convert oxygen and nutrients into chemical energy. Our bodies use this energy for all sorts of metabolic functions, including tissue repair and regeneration.
Research has repeatedly proven that infrared light can be a powerful adjunct or alternative to established therapies. Today, the technology is used for a plethora of purposes, such as relieving pain and inflammation, enhancing blood circulation, repairing injured muscles, and perhaps, a potential cure for cancer. In recent years, the viability of infrared light therapy for addiction recovery treatment has also been uncovered.
One study looked into the effects of a painless and non-invasive medical procedure called unilateral transcranial photobiomodulation (tPBM) that uses near-infrared light. Preliminary findings show its positive impact on the psychological condition of patients with a history of opiate dependency. There was increased cerebral blood flow, growth in biomolecules that support the health of nerve cells, and reduced opioid cravings.
Another study also shows that photobiomodulation, a form of light therapy that typically uses red light or near-infrared light, can be highly effective in treating various brain disorders, including dementia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and addiction.
The Right Kind of High with HigherDOSE Infrared Sauna Detox
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