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May 24, 2022

The Role Of Nature And Green Surroundings In Drug Addiction And Recovery

The positive impact on the environment is something that people most often only understand at a very basic, fundamental level. If you give it a thought, you will understand how anyone’s environment is responsible for their personality, habits, and even attitudes. This is also precisely how environments take a lead in shaping an individual’s relationship with alcohol and drugs. 

Research points out that while developing any kind of addiction is nearly 50% genetic, 50% of it is also environmental. 

Naturally, the same environmental factors become essential during addiction recovery. The company, the environment, and even the dynamics around a recovering addict are all responsible for maintaining the individual’s sobriety.

Let’s find out how a clean environment can help recovering addicts. 

The Environment’s Impact On Recovery: A Two-Way Street

The relationship between environment and recovery is a two-way street. A depressing, anxious, and even isolated environment can only push an addict to the brink whereas a greener and cleaner environment can improve things for the better. 

So without wasting any further time, let’s find out which environmental factors influence drug addiction. Scroll down to find out more on the same.

Unresolved Childhood Trauma:

Did you know that all those unresolved childhood issues can play a major role in your addiction woes? Experts even point out that anything, from dysfunctional families to neglect or abuse of any kind can be defined as ACE or adverse childhood experiences. Naturally, when these issues start building up over a prolonged period, it greatly impacts your child’s behavior. 

The worst part is these adverse experiences can stunt growth and development in certain areas of your child’s brain. This, in turn, influences your child to depend on toxic coping mechanisms, inclusive of alcohol and drug use. While it’s not possible to transform the environment you grew up in, you can consider the change if you are in recovery. 

Family Dynamics Intensifies Stress:

Dysfunctional families can make things difficult for children. It might seem like everything’s great on the surface, but that’s not true. If there’s one thing that American television got right then it’s how teens in the United States depend on drugs for coping with all the negative family dynamics. 

In these cases, teens usually feel like they do not have anyone they can trust, specifically any adult. The only people they do trust are their friends who are probably going through the same problems. In some cases, kids can also turn to their dealers for emotional support and some much-needed pills. 

Social Dynamics Are Crucial:

Famous sociologist, MacIver once said, “Man is a social animal” which is perhaps the most essential truth about human beings and society. As a result, it can be deduced that societal dynamics play a better role in shaping relationships. If you observe closely, you will notice how addicts almost always have friend circles where addiction is a way of life. 

Just like a good company can help an addict in the best possible way, a negative company can only make things worse for the same addict. A recovering addict can also end up relapsing in the presence of a negative company. So being a little careful about the dynamics can go a long way in helping potential or recovering addicts, positively. 

The Effects Of Physical Environment: 

The physical environment around you is perhaps the most important factor when it comes to alcohol and drug addiction. Just like a toxic physical environment can trigger addiction habits, a green environment can help recovery while curbing relapse. For instance, an empty, bare environment can make it difficult for you to connect or even feel secure. 

Similarly, a cluttered or dirty environment can make things harsh mentally, making it difficult to think through cravings. The physical environment can trigger addiction. For instance, if you are recovering and you live in an environment where drugs are easily accessible, you might just relapse. 

A Green Environment And Recovery: A Lasting Bond

The University of Plymouth conducted research a few years ago, according to which when people are exposed to nature, or just ‘green spaces’, cravings for unhealthy food, alcohol, and cigarettes witness a massive reduction. If that’s not good news then we don’t know what is! It was discovered that regardless of any physical activity, exposure to nature can reduce cravings. 

In this context, the head of the research, Dr. Leanne Martin commented, 

It has been known for some time that being outdoors in nature is linked to a person’s wellbeing. But for there to be a similar association with cravings from simply being able to see green spaces adds a new dimension to previous research. This is the first study to explore this idea, and it could have a range of implications for both public health and environmental protection programs in the future.”

Most centers for recovery and therapy are perhaps built keeping nature in mind, with rehabs almost attending a luxury status like resorts. 

For instance, Japan is one country working towards protecting any forest and even green areas. This is because the country is known for highly stressful work conditions with high rates of suicides. As a result, the Japanese Forestry Agency sponsors therapeutic programs known as forest bathing or shinrin-yoku, while addressing the mental health stigma in the country. 

Nature’s Gift To Recovering Addicts: All Clean And Green

A breath of fresh air can go a long way in helping recovering addicts stay clean. Think about it. Whenever things go all awry mentally or spiritually, do not doctor almost always recommend a trip to somewhere beautiful and green? You don’t need science to figure out that fresh air is good for anyone’s health. 

So if clean air and a green environment can prove to be so great for normal people with normal health problems, imagine the amount of good that the same will do to anyone trying to recover from their addiction habits. Don’t forget to let us know your thoughts on the same in the comments below!

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