When you battle addiction, drugs and alcohol become your primary coping mechanism. Masking painful and uncomfortable thoughts and feelings with psychoactive substances means that an important part of recovery is learning healthy stress management techniques.
Stress is an unfortunate part of life. While some types of stress are beneficial and can help motivate you to meet your goals, other types of stress can cause a wave of negative emotions. Even though everyone encounters stress in their life, some people are better at coping with it than others. Learning how to cope with stress in a healthy way is an important part of life. But for those who struggle with addiction, alcoholism, or substance abuse disorders, stress can be especially damaging.
Addiction and Stress
Addiction is a deadly and progressive disease that doesn’t discriminate. Anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, or background, can develop a substance abuse disorder. While certain factors, like having a close family member with an addiction history or having an underlying mental health disorder, can increase your risk of developing an addiction, the exact cause of addiction remains unknown.
Addiction is also a complex disease because it changes and alters your brain chemistry, changes your thought process and impairs your judgment and logical reasoning. Since drugs and alcohol are neurotransmitter inhibitors, they cause your brain to release a rush of pleasurable chemicals every time you use it. For example, alcohol forces your brain to release more GABA than it should. GABA is a neurotransmitter that induces calming and relaxing thoughts and feelings.
Because drugs and alcohol can temporarily relieve emotions like anxiety, substances can become an unhealthy coping mechanism to deal with things like stress. Unfortunately, coping with stress by drinking or using drugs can ultimately worsen your emotional health because addiction causes major neurotransmitter imbalances. These imbalances can alter your mood and behavior, which can make you more sensitive to stress.
Substance abuse disorders can also destabilize your mental health, so having a co-occurring disorder can make addiction especially dangerous. Since addiction requires time to recover from, treatment is almost always necessary in order to fully recover. During treatment, you’ll learn how to utilize stress management techniques and other healthy coping skills so you can better manage your recovery.
Healthy Stress Management Techniques
Dealing with negative emotions is a central part of recovery. Stress management techniques help you not only recover from addiction, but they also help you better manage your day-to-day life. Stress management techniques make it easier to handle conflicts at work and at home. Thus, it can improve your overall quality of life. Healthy stress management techniques can include things like:
- Working out, taking walks, or practicing yoga
- Practicing meditation and deep breathing
- Talking with friends or family members about your thoughts and feelings
- Listening to music, drawing, or journaling
Substance abuse treatment utilizes effective evidence-based and holistic therapies to help you develop healthy stress management techniques and coping skills. Identifying your major triggers is another part of your treatment. Understanding behaviors, emotions, and life-events that cause you to stress or trigger cravings make it easier to prepare for sobriety. Another reason stress management techniques are so beneficial during substance abuse treatment and recovery is that they can be utilized almost anywhere.
Reach Out to Right Step Houston
If you are battling a substance abuse disorder, addiction, or alcoholism, your life can feel out of control. Trying to balance your addiction with your personal life, relationships, and career can lead to chaos and instability. Finding ways to implement healthy and effective stress management techniques supports your recovery. To find out more about addiction, recovery, and treatment options, call Right Step Houston today at 1.844.768.0169.