Neuroplasticity is a term that refers to the changeability and adaptability of the brain throughout one’s life. It’s a word that’s getting a lot of attention lately, and for good reason. Researches consistently discover new and exciting information about how the brain operates, changes, and adapts. This is where the term “plasticity” comes from, which refers to the innate ability of the brain to mold to its environment and adjust accordingly. Neuroplasticity is a fascinating and hopeful concept in terms of addiction recovery, as it shows us that we can harness the brain’s natural potential for change and healing in our own recoveries. You are probably already using the power of neuroplasticity, even if you’re not aware of it. Here, we’ll discuss some of the ways to harness the brain’s plasticity during recovery.
What Is Neuroplasticity?
Prior to discovering the brain’s moldability, scientists believed that the brain stopped growing and changing at a certain point and that it was hardwired towards certain behaviors. However, this is not the case at all. In fact, even into old age, our brains are constantly growing, changing, and adapting to our behaviors. When we’re in active addiction, our brain adapts to that behavior, creating grooves of habit that become hard to break. In recovery, we learn to replace those habitual grooves with new, more beneficial coping mechanisms and activities. Bottom line: When we learn new thoughts and skills, we literally carve our new neural pathways in our brains. This is tremendously hopeful for those of us in recovery. We can, in fact, change our brains.
New Neural Connections
The primary way that neuroplasticity aids in recovery is through finding new neural pathways and destroying the old connections that were causing us to engage in destructive and addictive behaviors. In recovery, we reset and rewire our brains to create new coping mechanisms and behavioral patterns. Therapy, meditation, mindfulness practices, yoga, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are just a few of the many available tools at our disposal. These, along with many other traditional and complementary therapies, help our brains to form new neural pathways, repair and grow.
Tree House Recovery of Portland, Oregon uses cutting-edge techniques in individualized programs to help men achieve freedom from addiction. Taking a holistic, sustainable approach to the inner and outer effects of addiction ensures you or your loved one will emerge with the confidence and skills to manage your addiction independently. No one is beyond help- our Admissions Counselors are available 24/7 at (503) 850-2474