Effects of Substances On The Body & Mind

Drugs and alcohol can impact the body and brain in many ways. Substances like Fentanyl activate neurons in the brain by bonding too neurotransmitters and imitating naturally occurring chemicals in the brain including dopamine. Dopamine contributes to the pleasure center of the brain, memory and learning. After continued substance use, neurons will produce less dopamine, making it more difficult to achieve pleasure. When someone starts to pursue their original high, they transition from liking something to becoming an addict.

Physically active individuals typically report an overall decrease in activity over time as their addiction persists. Regardless of whether or not physical activity was a priority to someone before becoming addicted, physical activity usually takes a back seat to one life.


Exercise In Early Recovery

One of the best aspects of exercise is it provides a positive routine in one’s life that can replace damaging habits. In a study by the NCBI, drug dependent participants who did a moderately-intense 12 week workout program in conjunction with therapy showed a much greater likelihood of abstaining from drugs and alcohol by the end of their treatment. 

Exercise can play a huge role in one’s early recovery from drugs and alcohol. Similar to drugs and alcohol, physical exercise releases dopamine in the brain. Unlike addiction to drugs and alcohol, exercise can have great effects on the brain and body, such as:

  • Increased self esteem
  • Reduction in stress, tension, depression, anxiety and cravings
  • Increased optimism
  • Improved cardiovascular system
  • Supporting sleep routine
  • Increased immune response and energy level


At Ascent Clinical Services, we combine traditional therapeutic approaches with outdoor physical activity. The mountains in Colorado provide the perfect natural environment to hike, walk, and ski. If you are interested in learning about new outdoor activities, our team can help teach you. For people who already know what activities they enjoy, our team will do everything we can to support you in those efforts. 

If you or a loved one wants to learn how we combine physical exercise into a holistic approach to addiction recovery and mental health support, please contact us today.