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Why Volunteering is Good For Your Health in Drug Addiction Treatment

Giving back is such an important aspect of being part of your community. Doing service work, whether that’s volunteering at a local soup kitchen, volunteering your time at an animal shelter, or just helping your neighbor bring their grocery bags inside— volunteering has benefits for everyone, including you! At Royal Life Centers, we provide our guests with many opportunities to get involved with the community. Our community involvement is important to us, because we like to give back to the communities that we call home.

What is Health?

According to the World Health Organization, health is defined as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease of infirmity” (World Health Organization).

Why is Volunteering So Good For Us?

Besides doing something nice, volunteering allows you to feel like an active and productive member of the community. Volunteering for those in drug addiction treatment allows for recovering addicts and alcoholics to have a sense of gratitude for their fortune. Often times in recovery, addicts and alcoholics will tend to focus on all of the things they’ve missed out on or lost in their active addiction— while volunteering boosts their personal sense of gratitude for what they do have and how they can change now. Volunteering also boosts self-esteem because doing service is an esteem-able act that is completely other-centered and motivated by willingness to make a change.

Who Volunteers?

About 27% of adult Americans volunteer, many citing their reason to volunteer as giving back to the community, supporting an organization or charity that once supported them, or to increase work experience and make new social connections.

Evidence Behind Volunteering and Health

Everyone knows that volunteering is a good thing to do, and even makes you feel good about yourself, but is there any evidence that supports the statement that volunteering improves your health? Actually, there is. Researchers, who published their findings in the BMC Public Health journal, took a look at forty resources to draw the conclusion that people who volunteer have lower levels of depression, increased life satisfaction, and an improved sense of well-being. Also, researchers found that those who volunteer have a 20% decreased risk of death. Why? We’re not sure, but we’ll take it.
In other studies done, volunteering showed improved social interaction, healthy behaviors, and one’s ability to cope. Health benefits are not just for those volunteering, but also the people those volunteers are serving! Doing service and having an impact made on others from a good deed you have done is invaluable. The effect that your volunteer work has on those you are serving includes: increased self-esteem, disease management and acceptance, parenting skills, healthy behaviors, mental health, survival time, and improved relationships with health professionals (Casiday).Those who volunteer will enjoy physical health benefits like a lower blood pressure, in addition to the mental health benefits volunteering gives.

Why Volunteer Work is Good for Your Health in Drug Addiction Treatment

In drug or alcohol addiction treatment, day to day intensive therapy can be healing, but emotionally exhausting at times. Volunteering your time is another way to heal, and give back to the community while you are doing so. Behavioral therapies can be put to practice within volunteer opportunities, and volunteering is actually proven to give you the benefit of coping better too. Volunteering in your community will reduce stress and bring a sense of gratitude and serving others that group therapy in a treatment center just can’t do. Addiction recovery is all about learning a new way to live, and replacing bad habits with healthy ones.
Treating your alcohol or substance use disorder doesn’t always have to look like intensive therapy within an addiction center setting, you can heal and achieve recovery in ways that are outside of a treatment setting and outside of yourself. Substance abuse and drug abuse has a massive impact on health, which is why strengthening your overall well-being is extremely beneficial for everyone, but especially addicts and alcoholics.

Our Treatment

At Royal Life Centers, we offer programs that treat addiction in every stage of the recovery process. Royal Life Centers offers treatment options including: medical detox, a residential inpatient program, a partial hospitalization program (PHP), an intensive outpatient program (IOP), an outpatient program (OP), sober living and graduate housing. In all of our short term and long term treatment programs, Royal Life Centers offers volunteer opportunities for our guests to get involved in the community. We believe in the power of being active members of a community, and giving back to it. Doing service work has a multitude of benefits for both you and those you are serving. Volunteering regularly can even bring about a sense of accountability from the social connections you make, which can help to prevent relapse. Royal Life Centers stands firm in our belief that there is no better way to get involved in the community than participating in community service at any level you can. For more about Royal Life Center’s community involvement, click here.
References:
Casiday, Rachel. (2019). Volunteering and Health: What Impact Does It Really Have?.
Preidt, Robert. “Volunteering May Make People Happier, Study Finds – WebMD.” WebMD, WebMD, 23AD, www.webmd.com/balance/news/20130823/volunteering-may-make-people-happier-study-finds.
Watson, Stephanie. “Volunteering May Be Good for Body and Mind.” Harvard Health Blog, Harvard Medical School, 29 October 2015, www.health.harvard.edu/blog/volunteering-may-be-good-for-body-and-mind-201306266428.
World Health Organization (1946). Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference. New York, NY.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an alcohol or substance use disorder, please reach out to our knowledgeable addiction specialists at (877)-RECOVERY or (877)-732-6837. Our team is available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Because We Care.

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