Insomnia Is a Persistent Risk: Problems in Early Addiction Recovery

A proper amount of rest each night is one of the greatest natural methods our body uses to repair and replenish itself. Sleep increases health restoration, both mentally and physically, among people who have suffered some sort of sickness or trauma. When a full night’s rest is continually achieved, our immune systems increase exponentially in their ability to fight invading bacteria or viruses. Other physical ailments, whether it is muscular problems or an injury, also benefit from a person getting their required nightly rest. Taking all of these factors out of the equation, sickness, injury, etc., the body just functions better overall when it gets the rest it needs. This fact also holds true for people who are recovering from an addiction; whereas good sleep can help the person fight their addiction, a lack of sleep is a dangerous thing for those just starting their recovery. Research has shown that insomnia is a persistent risk in relapse for early addiction recovery.

A study, out of the University of San Francisco, claims that “treating sleep disturbances in early recovery may have [a] considerable impact on maintenance of sobriety and quality of life.” The researchers compiled evidence showing that insomnia is a persistent risk for these individuals, especially those recovering from alcoholism. In fact, recovering addicts are five times more likely to encounter prolonged insomnia than the general public. This means that the recovery can feed the insomnia, which in turn can threaten the recovery’s success. There is evidence that treating the sleep disturbances in these patients helps in their recovery. However, the treating physician must be careful. Treating the sleep disturbances in a holistic manner, one that takes into account patient behavior, is more effective than relying only on pharmacological treatment. Finding what activities or nuances keeps the person awake each night, and dealing with these, can help one get better sleep. This is especially important with addicts, as trying to make a recovering addict sleep with medicine can lead to abuse. Indeed, it could mirror or replace the recovering patient’s past bad habits.