Addressing Emotional Problems
It is vital for clients to understand the signs and symptoms of mental illness and address worry, stress, anger, anxiety, depression, and many other emotional concerns. In most treatment settings, clients are challenged to grow in problem-solving ability and psychological strength. Habits and routines that support drug and alcohol abuse and compromise mental health functioning must be identified. These mental and emotional components must be addressed to assure lasting recovery.
There are many emotional factors that add to addiction. People may use drugs and alcohol simply to enjoy themselves or feel a sense of relief and euphoria. Many substance abusers use alcohol and drugs to sooth painful and negative emotions. Stress can also add to the desire to distract oneself or seek release. Psychiatric and psychological treatment may be necessary to reduce the mental health symptoms and prevent relapse. Emotional regulation skills training is also a helpful intervention to bring overall stability.
Additionally, too many people want to eliminate their addiction yet fail to deal with the difficult emotions and situations as they arise. Avoiding painful situations or comforting oneself with alcohol does not eliminate the pain. It just kicks the can a little farther down the road. In addition to eventually needing to deal with the pain, it is most often made worse by avoidance and delay.
Managing Emotional Pressures
Consider the following strategies:
· Live in, and appreciate, the present moment
· Identify and label your emotional experiences
· Talk through difficult emotions as they arise
· Avoid emotional extremes
· Manage stress levels with exercise, sleep, and fun
· Challenge your negative self-talk
· Distract yourself and ride out the urge to comfort yourself with drugs and alcohol
Because emotion drives substance use, managing emotions becomes a top priority. Take care in identifying your feelings and become a master at handling them.
Recovery is a Journey. Enjoy the Ride!