Addiction is not uncommon among athletes, but it is consistently detrimental to their lives. Athletes are supposed to be the physical pinnacle of their sport in order to remain desirable as athletes. The most damaging thing that addiction can do to an athlete is affect their health. Substance abuse addictions affect an athlete’s health in obvious ways, but even addictions that are not substance related will have an effect on a person’s physical body, even if for no other reason than addiction heavily interferes with a person’s passions and goals, making what used to be important to them go by the wayside. A professional athlete, who needs to train daily to remain competitive, cannot afford this kind of distraction. The other commitments in their life, such as personal relationships, cannot survive addiction either. The best thing a professional athlete can do for themselves, their careers and their loved ones is seek addiction treatment.
Professional athletes should know that there are addiction treatment programs created specifically for them. The pressures that athletes face are unique, and mental health professionals and addiction specialists know that addiction treatment for a professional athlete has to be created specifically for them. In fact, many of the staff members of addiction treatment programs for athletes are former athletes themselves, and know very well the challenges and hardships that fall on professional athletes. In addiction treatment, or a rehabilitation program, athletes will go through a complete detox, if it was a substance they were addicted to, followed by an in-depth treatment that can last anywhere from 30 to 90 days, or longer. In treatment, the athlete will learn the underlying causes for their addiction and how to manage them. They will work diligently through workbook exercises, readings, therapy sessions and group meetings to reach a point where they can maintain their recovery. These treatment methods will be designed to address the competitive, passionate nature of a professional athlete. If necessary, the individual will take up residence in an on-site sober living facility once treatment is done in order to gradually reintroduce themselves to the outside world. The treatment schedule is often worked around the practices and meetings the athlete needs to attend.