Religion and Addiction Recovery | LGW-Health

Religion and Addiction Recovery

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There has been a lot of question as to whether incorporating religion is effective for recovery from addiction to alcohol or drugs or both. It is known that what works for one person may not work for another. So far, it has been shown that those who are willing to incorporate religion into their treatment were less likely to relapse. This was confirmed by a study published in the Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly.


On the one hand, incorporating religion into addiction recovery has been known to give some an ultimate incentive to recover. Those who struggle with addiction to drugs and alcohol are often ignorant of healthier ways of coping with things like stress or trauma. Religion is one of those healthier ways. Some really do benefit by the idea of relying on a Higher Power to help them heal from addiction. Others, however, tend to see it as forced or dictatorial and are likely to relapse if given this kind of treatment.


Even worse, some who incorporate religion often see those who relapse as a failures instead of the treatment simply not working for their individual needs. More often than not, this leads to the patient feeling even more embarrassed and ashamed of themselves. The solution, instead, should be to have individuals reach out when they are tempted to relapse and to work with them through the recovery.


Also, those who identify as atheists in the first place are not likely to recovery if religion is incorporated. Also, those who follow a spirituality different than the traditional model of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) might not be able to cope well with it, either.


Those that incorporate religion have also not been found to be very effective for those who have dual diagnoses or major mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. It is possible for them to recover from those, too, if they are willing. However, many people with the above-mentioned disorders often have a lot of difficulties being able to distinguish from their delusion systems and the way that the world actually is. Some of them use drugs or drink just to feel alive or just to feel centered. Also, incorporating religion works best for those who are more easily influenced and those with major mental illnesses are not.


Also, some simply respond better to clinically-based solutions. If so, this needs to be respected and solutions need to be sought accordingly. Otherwise, that particular patient will probably not have very much hope of ever recovering and could easily overdose.

While religion and addiction recovery can be effective for some people, caution needs to be greatly exercised. The patient’s first priority needs to be to find every motive that they can to recover and make their lives better for themselves and everyone around them. If religion has never been a motivator for him or her before, addiction recovery is not the time for him or her to try something that radically new to him- or herself.

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