Addiction, also known as substance use disorder (SUD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a complex neurological disorder. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines addiction as “a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence.” In treatment for substance abuse and/ or addiction, the terms abstinence and sobriety are often inaccurately used synonymously. Abstinence refers to a voluntary restraint from engaging or indulging in activities or substances. On the other hand, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines sobriety as “the condition of not having any measurable levels or effects from alcohol or drugs.” Abstinence primarily focuses on a drug-free lifestyle without factoring in other aspects of life such as addressing behaviors, emotions, mental health, etc., whereas sobriety focuses on a drug-free lifestyle while also taking into consideration other aspects of life.
A variety of sources illuminate the wide-ranging benefits of sobriety, some of which include the following:
- Lower health risks: Living a completely sober life, lowers your risk for cancers, hepatitis, cirrhosis, heart disease, stroke, and mental health disorders.
- Increased energy levels: Long-term sobriety is commonly linked to an increase in energy levels.
- Healthier skin and complexion: Sobriety can help your skin appear sufficiently hydrated, less swollen, and more even toned.
- Improved sleep: For example, alcohol abuse is disruptive to sleeping patterns because it suppresses sleep, not permitting a restorative, good night’s rest. When you are sober you will sleep better and achieve more meaningful rest.
- Enhanced nutrition: Substance abuse can deplete your body of vital nutrients and can interfere with the digestion, storage, utilization, and excretion of nutrients. By living a sober lifestyle your body can begin to properly absorb the nutrients needed to function optimally.
- Improved mental clarity: Sobriety can enhance mental focus, critical thinking, and memory.
- Optimal health level: Without drugs or alcohol, your body can operate from its naturally balanced biochemical state.
- Enriched relationships: One of the major benefits of sobriety is that you will regain the patience, time, and emotional bandwidth needed to mend fractured relationships and build long-lasting relationships. People with strong social connections are generally healthier than those who lack a support network.
As is evident through the examples above, embracing sobriety is associated with many health and emotional benefits that can improve your quality of life in a multitude of ways.
For Information and Support
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at email@example.com.