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5 Natural Highs That Support Detox and Recovery

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Personal growth is vital for detoxification and long-term recovery from addiction. Part of that growth process is learning how to alleviate negative behaviors and replace them with positive, uplifting acts. And, believe it or not, seeking out "natural highs" is a great place to start.

The Role of Endorphins in Recovery

Studies have shown that natural highs can help maintain long term sobriety by boosting production of the brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, known as endorphins. These brain chemicals serve as the body’s natural opiates, designed to relieve stress and enhance pleasure. When endorphins are released, feelings of happiness and euphoria occur – the same feelings that wash over an addict after taking a drink or consuming drugs. When endorphins are released, feelings of happiness and euphoria occur – the same feelings that wash over an addict after taking a drink or consuming drugs. Since we know that endorphins produce a natural high, why not leave negative drug- and alcohol-related behaviors in the rearview and get "high" naturally? Here's a look at five endorphin-boosting activities to get you started.


Exercising is a quick, effective and long lasting way to increase your production of endorphins. There are literally hundreds of forms of exercise – running, walking, lifting weights and kickboxing are just a few. Marathoners often use the term "runner’s high" after a long, taxing run. The sense of euphoria and accomplishment is directly related to the flood of endorphins brought on by running.

Take a Little Ginseng

Ginseng is an herb that has been shown to balance the body’s stress hormones and support the organs that produce these hormones. It’s also thought to enhance the production of endorphins, making it a great supplement for many addicts in recovery. Some holistic experts and herbalists also claim ginseng delays fatigue by making the exercising muscles use energy more efficiently.

Laugh Until it Hurts

In addition to relieving stress, laughter has many other physical and emotional benefits. The act of laughing stimulates the production of endorphins and helps you feel good instantly. That’s extremely beneficial for recovering addicts, considering the sense of "instant gratification" is what attracts many to drugs and alcohol in the first place. Instead of abusing illicit substances, why not watch a funny movie or share a joke with a friend?

Enjoy Intimacy

Being intimate with someone also releases endorphins that make you feel great. You have the combined feeling of love plus the benefits of physical touch. Research shows that, along with sex, being touched in a romantic way reduces stress, alleviates pain and boosts the body’s healing process.


Meditation is another way to release endorphins and enjoy a state of reflective thought. Sitting in a quiet room or listening to soothing music elicits a sense of deep relaxation, bringing about a positive mood change. Research has shown that meditators are generally happier, more centered and less prone to frustration – qualities that are worth their weight in gold during the detox process. Learn more about drug and alcohol detox treatment options that fit your needs Photo Source: istock