Mental health and addiction recovery
Mental illnesses and addiction tend to go hand in hand. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that substance abuse disorders and mental health issues share common risk factors such as genetics and early exposure to stress or trauma. In particular, those who live through trauma often feel fear, helplessness and horror and seek addictive substances to deal with emotional pain.
Just as mental illness can contribute to addiction, chronic use of drugs or alcohol can cause changes in the brain leading to depression, anxiety, paranoia and other problems.
Before, during and after addiction recovery it is normal to feel anxiety, depression and fear. What’s important to know is that support is available and there are proven methods to manage feelings and issues.
Here are four actions that can help:
- Set up a daily routine – Having structure and activities increases self-esteem and confidence and reduces anxiety.
- Volunteer – Focusing on others’ needs delivers unanticipated benefits of self-satisfaction and energy, lowering depression and fear.
- Make music a part of daily life – The power of music for healing is well documented. It can help you connect to your feelings and learn more about yourself. Upbeat songs can release feel-good energy and classical or spa-like music can improve focus and create a sense of calm.
- Do something new and prioritize fun – Participating in healthy activities can help prevent relapse. Fill the time spent using drugs or alcohol with activities you used to enjoy or try new hobbies you’ve always thought about. In doing so, you might tap a new source of creativity and wonder, gain satisfaction and self-esteem and build a network of healthy friends.