Addiction Recovery: Managing Stress
The initial stages and low levels of stress are good for the body. The low levels of stress are a chemical reaction of the body to help prevent harmful situations. When the body reacts by releasing stress hormones when threatened, it is called a Stress Response.
The stress response is also called fight or flight, which are the possible significant reactions your body will take. The stress response is characterized by the tightening of muscles, a quick breath, elevated heart rate, and an increase in blood pressure.
Stress has a limit as well. When the chemical reaction happens too often or for too long, it becomes chronic and dangerous. You can possibly suffer from physical and mental illnesses.
Stress has a significant role to play in drug addiction and recovery. According to a study the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism took, people are highly likely to result in substance abuse when they are under stress. On the other side, stress can still push them to seek recovery from substance abuse. The cycle of stress and substance abuse goes on because stress can still trigger a relapse.
A healthy recovery during rehabilitation needs proper stress management, which will teach patients how to cope with stressful issues and alternative ways to substance abuse that will help you avoid or handle stress.
Warning Signs of Stress
Stress can usually have an effect on you. As mentioned above, little amounts of stress are good for you. However, your body can have stress for so long that it may feel normal, and this becomes dangerous.
You can take the warning signs of stress to manage it safely. The warning signs have two categories:
Physical Signs of Stress
Some physical warning signs of stress include:
- Dizziness and nausea
- Loss of sex drive
- Aches and pains
- Frequent Flu or colds
- Constipation and diarrhea
- Rapid heart rate and chest pains
Psychological Signs of Stress
Some psychological warning signs of stress are:
- Making bad choices
- Too much sleep or trouble sleeping
- Unfocused, overwhelmed or unmotivated feelings
- Persistent worry
- Racing thoughts
- Irritability and restlessness
Sources of Stress
Stressors cause stress. They are not really organisms but pressures and situations. Some of these situations are external (generated from your surroundings), and others may be internal (self-generated stressors).
What’s more, what is a stressor to you may not be a stressor to another person. For example, you may have heard of stage fright. Some people are usually stressed when they speak to a large group of people, while others are comfortable and fluent in doing so.
External Sources of Stress
- Work or school
- A significant life change
- Relationship difficulties
- Children and family
- Being busy for long
- Financial problems
Internal Sources of Stress
- Holding negative self-talk
- An attitude of all or nothing
- Failure to accept uncertainties
- Perfectionism or unrealistic expectations
- Lack of flexibility and rigid talk.
Stress and Substance Abuse
Substance abuse and stress are intertwined. Stress can lead to substance abuse, and substance abuse can lead to stress. When you abuse substances when stressed, there is a higher chance of addiction. Furthermore, significant stress during recovery is highly likely to lead to a relapse. Various studies uncovered the following about substance abuse and stress:
- The brain sensors that respond to drug abuse overlap with the sensors that respond to stress. They share a circuit that has a role to play in the relationship between drug addiction and stress.
- Stress is one of the major factors that affect starts and continued abuse of heroin and other opiates.
- Chances of abuse of alcohol and other drugs are high when someone is exposed to stress.
- Stress management is an important skill to help heavy nicotine users like cigarette smokers to maintain abstinence.
- Animal studies show that stress influences the urge to turn to illicit drugs.
- Stress varies across people and can be unpredictable. Stressful events can alter the brain’s system that deals with behaviors to adapt to stress, motivation, and learning.
Too much exposure to stress will lead to a decrease in stress coping mechanisms. This will cause someone affected by stress to result in substance abuse. Stress management during rehabilitation will help the brain to recognize other positive stress coping mechanisms.
Stress Management in Addiction Recovery
Stress management in addiction recovery is very important. The various techniques of stress management a treatment center like will teach you help in multiple ways which include:
- The substance abuse and stress patient will learn better ways to cope with stress
- Stress management during addiction recovery will give you a new and positive perception of stressful events.
- Stress management teaches you can avoid stress if you remove or change the stressor.
- Addiction recovery keeps you safe from harmful substances. At the same time, you will be safe from the physical effects of stress.
Stress management in recovery will help you eliminate stress as a factor that drives you to substance abuse. It will also help you minimize your chances of a relapse. You can learn stress management techniques from:
- The addiction treatment center
- Online resources,
- Self-help books
- Stress management class or courses
- A psychotherapist or counselor. They will teach stress management or refer you to the best resources to learn stress management.
Treating Stress and Addiction Together
Addiction and stress can be treated together. Both can be treated by making changes to lifestyle choices. Healthy lifestyle choices will prevent stress, which will eliminate the cause of addiction.
The lifestyle choices that will help manage stress and treat addiction include:
Exercise is a great stress reliever. Choose the sports you enjoy, for example, swimming. Some people choose gym work and others running.
Counseling sessions in drug rehabilitation could also cover stress management. Patients will be able to cope with stress and relapse pressure. Moreover, they will be motivated by experienced counselors, get family support, and also work with their peers in conquering stress and addiction.
3. Healthy habits
Healthy habits are a remedy to many complications. They prevent many diseases. There are stress relieving foods that you can take while on addiction recovery. It would be best if you also got adequate sleep. It should be just enough; not little or excess.caffeine and sugar also increase your stress levels thus you should regulate your intake.
Your hobbies will shift your focus from stressful events and give you a pleasant feeling. Some common hobbies are knitting, reading, writing, painting, music, and more.
5. Medication and Yoga
Medication can help ease the side effects of addiction. It will make you feel better, and you will be able to shift your focus from the stress of symptoms like depression and anxiety. Yoga exercises teach you meditation and mindfulness. You will be able to focus on adopting positivity and breathing exercises will help you relax.
6. Support Systems
Support systems help a great deal in stress management and avoiding relapse. Support systems could include your family, peer group, and 12-step meetings. You get to identify issues that bring about stress and learn how to handle them without using self-destructive means such as substance abuse.
Finding Treatment at Ebb Tide Treatment Centers
You can find a treatment for addiction and stress management help in clinics and treatment centers like Ebb Tide Treatment Centers. Our primary focus is to remove the gap between treatment and recovery. Stress management is one of the treatment methods that help overcome addiction and help to prevent relapse.
The right treatment facility will offer rehabilitation services, such as:
- Addiction therapy
- Alcohol addiction treatment
- Outpatient treatment
- Intensive outpatient treatment
- Partial hospitalization
Treatment centers also follow up on your recovery progress and sobriety status. They are part of the support systems you can rely on to treat stress and addiction and avoid relapse.
Managing stress is a healthy decision. Stress is not supposed to be an entirely negative characteristic. In little doses, the body will trigger the release of stress hormones, which will help us avoid pending harm.
However, when the stress hormones are released frequently and for a long time, the body almost gets used to it. At such a point, stress is considered to be chronic. You may result in coping mechanisms such as substance abuse, which will easily lead to addiction. The symptoms of stress can be subtle and you may not when the body is under stress.
Stress can be caused by both internal stressors and external stressors. You have control over the internal stressors, for example through your self-talk. People have little control over external factors such as children and family. The sensors that respond to substance use and stress overlap. It is one of the many proofs that stress is likely to result in substance abuse, addiction, and relapse.
Stress management is the treatment for stress and treatment centers, and counselors will use it to strengthen your resilience to relapse. Other forms of treatment include medication, support systems, healthy habits, counseling, and yoga. Therapists and counselors at the treatment center will give you other customized ways to deal with stress. You can also join a stress management group or take a class.
Reach out to us today for more information on addiction recovery and ways you can manage stress during recovery.