Managing Stress in Recovery from Addiction

Stress is an unavoidable part of daily life. Even the happiest, most care-free individuals deal with stress from time to time.
Everything from work to relationships to finances can cause a person to feel stressed out.

While everyone experiences stress, not everyone deals with it in the same way. Naturally, stress affects people differently, and how someone copes with stress can determine how much it impacts their quality of life.

On its own, stress is shown to negatively impact both mental and physical health. According to the American Institute of Stress, 77% of people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress, and 73% regularly experience psychological symptoms due to stress.

However, people who are in recovery for a drug or alcohol addiction are more likely to experience the harmful side effects and consequences of stress. In fact, addictions often come about when a person is dealing with extreme stress on a frequent basis without a healthy outlet.

The Link Between Stress and Addiction

Stress is an unavoidable part of daily life. Even the happiest, most care-free individuals deal with stress from time to time.

Maybe they have a few drinks or use drugs to take the edge off. In addition to the mental side effects, stress has also been shown to cause a variety of unpleasant physical symptoms, like low energy, headaches, and insomnia.

Substances allow people to temporarily escape from everyday life so they can avoid responsibilities and simply unplug. But when someone is dealing with stress on a daily basis, and uses substances to cope, it can take a toll on their overall wellbeing.

It’s increasingly common for people to use drugs and alcohol as a way to self-medicate. From an outsider’s perspective, there’s nothing wrong with having a drink at the end of the day. But when you’re drinking to cope with stress, one drink can easily turn into two or three, which can eventually become an alcohol addiction.

No one starts using drugs or alcohol to cope with stress thinking that it will become a serious issue down the line. However, when you come to rely on substances to relieve stress, it can be a difficult habit to overcome.

stress in recovery from addiction

When a person lacks healthy outlets for stress, they’re more likely to seek temporary relief. Substances like alcohol, hallucinogens, opiates, and antidepressants are commonly abused to reduce stress. It provides a quick hit of euphoria, while temporarily blocking those nagging feelings.

Since stress is unavoidable, it’s important for people to find effective ways to cope with it in a safe and productive way. This is especially true for people in addiction recovery. Finding healthy outlets for stress can reduce a person’s chance of a relapse, and give them the tools needed to manage stress effectively.

stages of alcoholism

If you are considering treatment for yourself or a loved one, call us today.

Dealing with Stress During Addiction Recovery

A major component of addiction recovery is helping people deal with stress in a healthy way.

An addict can only recover if they focus on their overall wellbeing, not just their substance abuse. During treatment is when people learn healthy coping mechanisms and practice using them before they reenter the world.

Extreme stress can be managed by medication, but there are a variety of non-clinical therapies that people can use to effectively deal with it. Here are some ways that recovering addicts can simultaneously cope with stress and other side effects of addiction:

Physical Exercise

Exercise has a myriad of benefits for people in recovery. Working out has been shown to reduce levels of anxiety, improve mood, improve quality of sleep, and reduce depression. Exercise can also serve as a positive outlet for stress and improve a person’s physical appearance, which can boost confidence and self-image. Addiction and stress share many of the same symptoms. With regular exercise, the combined benefits can help a person improve their outlook and create healthy habits that support their sobriety.

Behavioral Therapies

During treatment, most people participate in behavioral therapies that have many different benefits during recovery and after treatment. For example, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps people understand their thought patterns and the behaviors that enable their addiction. When they learn to recognize those patterns, they’re able to replace the negative beliefs with healthier ones. Behavioral therapy can also make it easier for people to explore the experiences and traumas that fueled their addiction.

Meditation and Mindfulness Practices

Meditation and other mindfulness practices have been shown to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. Mindfulness meditation requires a person to focus on being in the present moment. During meditation, breathing exercises are used to help lower heart rate, reduce anxiety, and stop racing thoughts. Mindfulness practices are effective at calming the mind and body, and it helps with inducing overall relaxation. People who meditate regularly are better able to deal with stress and find ways to work through it.

police brutality and racial trauma
Group Meetings and Peer Support

Peer support is incredibly important during addiction recovery because it’s common for people to feel like they’re alone in their struggles. It can impact their motivation to get sober, and their accountability for staying sober. That’s why groups like 12-step meetings can make a world of difference during recovery. When someone gets involved in a group, they become part of a community that encourages them throughout recovery. Support groups can also reduce stress among members simply through their ability to help people connect with peers who relate to their experience.

Stress is common in everyday life, and it’s even more common if you’re struggling with addiction. If you or someone you love is dealing with extreme stress and is using drugs or alcohol to cope, getting professional treatment is important.

At Nexus Recovery, we work with every client to enroll them in a treatment program that fits their specific needs. Using a variety of therapies and treatment modalities, we enable clients to recover from their addiction, while helping them find healthy ways to cope with stress, anxiety, and triggers.

To learn more about Nexus Recovery, call us today at (888) 855-6877.

If you are considering treatment for yourself or a loved one, call us today.

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