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Advice for Athletes Struggling with Addiction 2023

Advice for Athletes Struggling with Addiction 2022

Advice for Athletes Struggling with Addiction 2023

Athletes must have an innate drive to succeed in a different way than most individuals; not only do they push their personal boundaries of mental and physical toughness, but they also face a lot of pressure from society and the consumer market to perform well. This pressure cooker environment can be a breeding ground for addiction, as athletes often turn to substances or behaviors to cope with the stressors of competition and life. This is why so many professional athletes have struggled with addiction historically.

If you are an athlete struggling with addiction, there is hope and you are not alone. Many other athletes have faced and overcome their addictions. Here are some tips that may help you get started on your road to recovery:

You cannot perform to the best of your abilities until you take care of yourself.

You may feel as though your drug use does not impact your overall performance. You may even feel that it improves it. This is a dangerous mindset, as your addiction will only progress and become more difficult to defeat. Take care of yourself by sleeping well, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, taking time away from the pressures of competition, and most of all finding ways to curb your addiction. Once you have taken these steps for yourself it may be easier to step back and examine your overall situation with honesty and objectivity.

Remove yourself from the environment that contributed to your addiction.

If you are struggling with an addiction to alcohol, for example, it is best to remove yourself from social situations where alcohol is present. If you are addicted to performance-enhancing drugs, it may be necessary to keep a safe distance from the people, organizations, and other environments in which that form of drug use is common. You cannot expect to remove yourself from the temptation if you are surrounded by it every single day.

Look for or ask for help.

Asking for help is a sign of strength, not one of weakness. If you feel like your addiction is affecting your performance and overall well-being, consider asking for help from a close friend or family member. You can also ask to speak with an addictions counselor; some professional athletes have done so anonymously in order to get the assistance they needed without impacting their public image.

Reflect on what motivates you.

When you are in the throes of addiction, it can be difficult to see anything else but your drug of choice. It is important to take some time for self-reflection and ask yourself what drove you to use drugs or alcohol in the first place. Were you seeking escape from a stressful situation? Was it peer pressure? Once you have identified your personal motivations, you can begin to find healthier ways to cope with stress and temptation.

Find support through others who have walked in your shoes.

There is power in numbers; find other athletes who share your struggles with addiction and lean on them for encouragement during this difficult time. Surrounding yourself with healthy, supportive people will only benefit you in the long run.

Athletes often see themselves as invincible individuals, but this is far from reality. We are all human beings with our own personal flaws and struggles. It may feel like a letdown to admit that we cannot perform to the best of our abilities without assistance or support, but it can be a huge relief when we do, as this is the first step towards rehabilitation.

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You may have to take time away from your sport to heal.

Especially if your addiction is more serious, you may need to check yourself into rehab or another kind of treatment facility. This involves taking a step back from your sport and the lifestyle that comes with it. It can be difficult to do but know that you are doing this for yourself so that you can one day return to competition as a healthier, stronger individual.

Are you an athlete struggling with addiction? If so, don’t wait another day to get the help you deserve. There is no time like today to begin your recovery and discover a better path forward. Find rehab near me today.

Advice for Athletes Struggling with Addiction 2023

Advice for Athletes Struggling with Addiction

Manziel was linked to the party and constantly published through social networks and tabloids. The 22-year-old player appeared surrounded by bottles of high-priced alcohol in Las Vegas, images that reached Cleveland. The Olympic medalist Michael Phelps received his second arrest for driving under alcohol in September 2014; he was suspended for the second time by the United States Swimming body after being punished for being caught in 2009 inhaling a marijuana pipe.

“The main obstacle is the competitive mentality of the athletes,” said Dr. Louis Baxter for, who serves as Director of the American Board of Addiction Medicine and Executive Director of the New Jersey Professional Assistance Program and substance abuse consultant for the NFL and NBA.

Advice for Athletes Struggling with Addiction 2023

“First of all, they don’t want to admit that they have a problem, they don’t want to lose their fame or their position, they can hide injuries and the difficulties they are having with substances.”
On the other hand, Sally Greer, a former professional tennis player who is now emerging as a counselor with addiction-related problems, mentions,

“It is challenging for an athlete to admit to themselves, the number one, that they have a problem, but that happens to everyone,” he said, “What is difficult for athletes is to make them understand that it is not a weakness of character, but something that has to be treated like a disease.”

Even when an athlete completes their treatment, their environment’s obstacles remain. Due to his fame, it can be difficult for a player to eliminate who he is and is not supportive of his new lifestyle.

How to Tell If Your Child Is Using Drugs

No parent wants to think that their child is using drugs. However, the earlier you recognize the signs of drug abuse, the better the outcome. Substance abuse affects athletes of all ages, and there is hope for young athletes with the help of a strong support system and proper treatment.

Teens and young adult athletes are particularly vulnerable to drug abuse, perhaps because their peers and role models easily influence them. For example, about one in five males between the ages of 18 and 25 think performance-enhancing drugs are the only way to become a professional athlete.

Substance abuse also has an impact on adolescent athletes. Three to 12 per cent of teenage males and one to two per cent of adolescent females claim they used anabolic steroids at some point. Four out of 10 teens say professional athletes inspired them to take steroids.

Your child athlete might be experimenting with other drugs because of peer pressure or to cope with stress, depression, or other factors. Sometimes, children are unaware of the dangers of drug use, and it’s the responsibility of teachers and parents to educate them.

Nevertheless, the first step in helping your child is to learn what to look out for. In general, here are the signs of drug use in teens:

  1. Change in friends
  2. A decline in academic or athletic performance
  3. Change in eating or sleeping habits
  4. Relationship issues with friends and family
  5. Lying or stealing
  6. Carelessness with appearance
  7. Skipping school
  8. Loss of interest in favourite activities
  9. Secretive behaviour

Some children and teens might be especially impressionable when it comes to doping. If your child is an athlete and displays any of the following doping risk factors, do not be afraid to voice your concerns and speak honestly with your child, and make sure to reach out to a professional for help:

  1. Low self-esteem
  2. Pressure to be perfect
  3. Involved in weight, endurance or speed sports
  4. Bends the rules
  5. Admires athletes who doped
  6. Does not think doping is harmful
  7. Driven to achieve results
  8. Concerned about body image and weight
  9. Impatient with obtaining results
  10. Believes others are doping
  11. A family history of drug abuse

Your child athletes may be more vulnerable to doping under the following circumstances:

  1. After an injury
  2. Recent failure
  3. Overtraining
  4. A stressful life event or transition
  5. Lack of resources or knowledge about the consequences of doping
  6. Change in environment or level
  7. Pressure to perform
  8. Relationship issues with parents, peers or others
  9. Upcoming events like important competitions

How to Stop Using Performance-Enhancing Drugs

For some athletes, the first step to discontinuing drug use is overcoming the fear of asking for help. One study found that 56 per cent of steroid users never told their doctor about their service.

The recommended treatment for steroid use addresses the underlying cause and usually includes the following:

  1. Therapy and possibly medication for muscle dysmorphia
  2. Endocrine therapies
  3. Antidepressants

Some individuals find behavioural therapy helpful, and those who have a severe addiction may obtain relief from withdrawal symptoms with antidepressants and medications used to help restore hormonal balance. Speak with a health professional to learn the best option for your situation.

As we discussed in an earlier chapter, some individuals use stimulants to enhance performance. It might include anything from energy drinks to cocaine. Athletes with a stimulant addiction can expect treatment to include the following aspects:

  1. Behavioural counselling
  2. Treatment for co-occurring disorders
  3. Long-term follow-up
  4. Medication
  5. Group support

Intervention Strategies for Athletes

Sometimes, an intervention is needed to make an impact on a loved one who is struggling with addiction. You might want to hold an intervention for a loved one if they previously have refused to get help or continue to use drugs despite efforts to make them stop. It might also be the best way to show a loved one that you believe in them and that there is hope, even if they’ve tried to stop drug use in the past.

An intervention is carefully planned by friends, family and a doctor or other health professional. For an intervention to be effective, all the details must be considered first. Here are tips to keep in mind for an effective intervention:

  1. Plan the intervention with those you wish to have involved.
  2. Do not tell the addicted individual about your plan.
  3. Prepare for the intervention by making notes of specific examples of destructive behaviour.
  4. Decide the consequences you will present if the addicted loved one chooses not to get treatment.
  5. Make sure you can follow through with the results.
  6. Hold the intervention when the loved one is not on the drug or busy with other plans.
  7. Make sure to consult a professional for help.

Advice for Athletes Struggling with Addiction 2023

“They’re in an environment where they can easily access anything they want. With that attitude and availability, then it’s very, very difficult for them to step down and admit they have a problem,” Greer added.

The founders of Athlete’s Recovery, a facility outside of Houston dedicated to treating athletes, agree on some of the problems they face. Kenny Greene, a former NFL cornerback, and college football coach, adds that athletes need to be in an environment with other athletes.

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Advice for Athletes Struggling with Addiction 2023

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