By Isabella Lovett
Around 19.7 million American adults (12 years and older) battled a substance use disorder in 2018, with 74% of adults struggling with alcohol abuse and 38% with an illicit drug disorder. The side effects of a substance or alcohol disorder are many one of which is sexual dysfunction. Going through rehabilitation to get rid of the drug dependency is vital to deal with the addiction reasons, comfortably detox from the substances you’re hooked to, and recover overall health including sexual health. Like anything in recovery, going through rehab demands commitment to ensure that you are on the right path so that your sexual health returns to normal and you can function well — all without the use of drugs.
Sexual Health Is Part of Recovery
Drug use impacts the ability to enjoy or have sexual intercourse. Heroin, taken by an estimated 9.2 million people globally, not only leads to liver, kidney, and heart diseases, it can also cause depression, diminished sexual drives, infertility in women and erectile dysfunction and the inability to regain sexual interest on a long-term basis in men according to the American Addiction Centers. Cocaine users, on the other hand, may experience pleasure and stamina, but the effects often wear off easily and have negative implications on sexual function. Limited research has shown the link between amphetamine use and erectile dysfunction.
Your sexual health and satisfaction is dependent as well on your mental condition. Hence, if you are not feeling well or do not feel good about yourself, this prevents you from having sex or even achieving satisfaction. Indeed, sexual health is an intrinsic part of your recovery from addiction, abuse, or any type of disorder. Overlooking the importance of sexual health in the recovery process can even become a contributing factor to a relapse. Because of the diminished sexual capacity and the dissatisfaction that arises from performing the activity to failure to give pleasure to a partner, people with addiction problems may resort to using alcohol or drugs again as a coping mechanism.
Counseling and Support
During recovery, you need counseling and support so that you are able to move forward without relying on substances as you used to in the past. If you are in a pre-existing relationship, ask your partner if they would like to go to counseling with you. When you are supporting each other, the road to recovery and improvement of sexual health is not as insurmountable as it seems.
When attending these sessions, honesty with your feelings and sincerity in overcoming your substance addiction are crucial. If you are in a new relationship, you might want to discuss your recovery so that your partner understands the hurdles you are facing. For example, erectile dysfunction may become an issue in your intimate relationship. In addition to medical therapy and treatment, talking about the problem with your partner will enable the two of you to find solutions to improve your sexual health and wellness. A loving and supportive relationship is critical in achieving sexual health during an addiction recovery.
Build and Sustain Personal Health
Another effective way to achieve better sexual health is to address your personal health. Be mindful of healthy habits so that your body is able to sustain sexual wellness. Exercise, for example, not only promotes health benefits such as weight management and reduction of risks of diseases, it also boosts sexual health and improves mood and confidence.
In the same way, you need to eat and sleep well to nourish your body and nurse it back to a healthy state. Getting the proper nutrients and having adequate sleep will assist in restoring your physical and mental condition. An improved well-being also provides the energy to focus on relationships and your intimate life. When you are able sustain relationships without drugs or alcohol, you also improve your mood and self-confidence providing a positive outlook in life.
Substance addiction is challenging and the road to recovery is fraught obstacles. However, by working with an outpatient addiction treatment like Continuum Recovery Center in Phoenix, you can restore your physical and mental well-being through exercise, proper nutrition, counseling and support.<,