The Brain-Body Connection During Rehabilitation


When your body deals with a detoxification program, it is not unusual to experience nausea, weakness, fatigue, and other side effects depending on your former habits and situation.

You may also experience wide-ranging mood swings that you may not have expected. Some people in detox experience mood swings associated with removing the harmful substances that your body has depended on for a long time.

Mind-Body Connection

The medical profession now realizes the physical body can have a significant impact on the mind. For example, disturbances in your gut can harm your moods.  These negative impacts can include depression and other mental health challenges. When going through traditional withdrawal, the gut or abdominal area may be affected by nausea and other symptoms. 

It is now generally accepted that acid-producing imbalances in our gut can affect our moods. It is also understood that lower levels of vitamins such as zinc and vitamin D also impact depression and mood swings. 

Your Health

Headed into your detox program, It is essential to be honest with your physician or another medical professional about your dietary and substance use habits. This will build an overall picture of your current health.  A blood test may be done to check for vitamin or mineral deficiencies.  

Broadly speaking, when your life has focused on your addiction, you probably have not been concerned with following a healthy diet. it is not unusual to be deficient in some vitamins and minerals. 

Getting Ahead

Understanding how your body may respond to your treatment and its effect on your mind can give you a jumpstart to discuss the mind-body connection with your medical specialist. If part of your rehabilitation program involves relearning healthy eating habits, take part in this activity. Learning to restore essential nutrients into the body will prepare you to take care of yourself following your treatment program. If you feel good about your health, you may be less likely to want to put harmful substances into your body and risk ruining the wellness you have worked hard to establish.

Cognitive Processes 

If we accept that food can make or break how we feel, it becomes easier to imagine its effect on our cognitive processes. The cognitive process refers to how we think and process the world around us and everything happening to us within our environment. How we view ourselves often dictates or influences how we respond to events, both good and bad. It is widely agreed that our childhood or early upbringing has a significant influence on our cognitive processing. For example, if, as a child, you faced changes that were threatening to you or felt unsafe, this may manifest itself as disliking surprises of any kind, including birthday parties!

Handling Changes

The good news is our cognitive processing is not fixed in our biology. This empowers us to control our thoughts or responses to our ideas. It allows flexible thinking patterns and gives us the ability to remove blanket statements and the dread of everything going wrong.

Working with your counselor, you will want to discuss how you feel and how you react to changes in your habits and your diet. Our brains can be resistant to change; therefore, developing the appropriate coping skills and new thought patterns ahead of challenges is critical.

The primitive brain loves stability. In fact, it is never happier than when things stay the same; it requires less energy and guarantees that food will arrive on time and that we will have a place to sleep. When you embarked on your journey to move away from substance dependency, your initial enthusiasm and determination may have given way to worry or concern about the unknown.  

Growth Versus Fixed Mindset

Even as you deal with the uncertainty, feelings of guilt, or shame that can lead to depression and mood swings, you are working toward a growth mindset during your rehabilitation. 

A growth mindset allows for change.  It gives us permission to change our behaviors and change our thought patterns as the positive consequences, and the resilience we gain from changes, override fixed thinking. 

A fixed mindset, on the other hand, argues that we are not capable of changing. A fixed mindset means that we think that who we are today will be who we are tomorrow, that if we believe we are a failure or weak today, that that thought will be true tomorrow also.

This, of course, is not true; you can choose not to listen to negative messaging. Well-meaning family members trying to protect you from disappointment may tell you not to try too hard, to not attempt in case you fail. These beliefs may be rooted in your previous attempts at sobriety, and may not consider that those earlier experiences give you strength and insight to cope this time around.

Being Prepared

Being prepared for challenges such as mood swings and depression is essential. But just as important is understanding the possible causes for the mood swings and depression, enabling you to cycle through the experiences, processing them as a regular part of re-establishing a healthy lifestyle.



During your detox and rehabilitation program, it is not unusual to experience mood swings, even depression.  After all, your body is experiencing a withdrawal of substances and the daily habits that went along with it. Understanding the possible causes of these roller-coaster moments can strengthen your ability to manage these before they start. Understanding you are in control, and you are not alone can make all the difference.  Surrounded by the stunning natural landscape of the Rocky Mountains, the Detox Center of Colorado offers care for both substance abuse and mental health issues.  Our transitional residence program assists you in the development of coping skills that give you a greater sense of accountability and facilitate your recovery.  No matter your recovery history, we look forward to exploring the range of supportive treatment options available to you.  Call the Detox Center of Colorado at (303) 952-5035.  It may be the best thing you do for yourself today.

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