7 Strategies to Manage Stress in PA Addiction Recovery

Finding healthy coping mechanisms is a significant task for everyone working through addiction treatment. The process of healing can be complex in and of itself. Since it requires developing new strategies to manage stress in PA addiction recovery. The best way to cope with your emotions is to feel them fully and honestly, rather than to numb them out. All of these things and more may pile on top of one another to make life feel unbearably difficult. The process of becoming sober is only the beginning. From there, you’ll need to figure out how to build the resiliency to help you weather the inevitable rough patches. We’re here to ensure that you are equipped with everything you need to weather the inevitable storms of life. Maybe you’ll need a few additional resources to help you manage stress through trying times, but it is all okay.

The Link Between Stress and Substance Abuse

Numerous chemical substances found in drugs and alcohol have been shown to modulate the effects of stress on the body. As we have seen many times at Pennsylvania recovery center‘s, many people turn to alcohol and drugs to cope with the distressing effects of anxiety. Such medications include, but are not limited to:

  • Alcohol
  • Tranquilizers or benzodiazepines
  • Opiate drugs
  • Hallucinogens
a person suffering from substance abuse
Drugs can’t help you deal with stress long-term.

One of the effects of these medications is a sensation of euphoria along with reduced discomfort, which can make it easier to deal with stress or its causes. The problem is that those who deal with stress on a regular basis may turn to alcohol or drugs to cope. And that can lead to dependence and addiction. A study highlighted in BMC Public Health shows that people who experience higher levels of stress are also more prone to struggle with serious, chronic substance abuse. And you could possibly end up in drug and alcohol rehab Pennsylvania. If that’s not something you’d want to experience you will have to learn to identify the signs of stress on time and healthy ways to cope with it.

Stress exposure increases the initiation and progression of drug self-administration

Social defeat stress, social isolation, tail pinch and foot shock, restraint stress, and novelty stress have all been shown to increase the self-administration of opiates, alcohol, and psychostimulants. Another study found that neonatal seclusion or mother separation increased self-administration of nicotine, psychostimulants, and alcohol, and/or their acute behavioral consequences. As well as protracted and repeated stressors indicating chronic stress events. Stress makes people more vulnerable to the reinforcing effects of drugs. And stress increases the likelihood that people may self-administer drugs. Though, it can happen the other way around as well. Heavy substances like heroin and cocaine, or even some prescription medication, can make you feel stressed.

The effects of stress on the progression of drug use in adolescents and young adults are supported by significant data from prospective and longitudinal research. Additionally, the consequences of early trauma and abuse on the increased risk of addiction vary depending on the person’s sex. Because of ethical concerns, researchers can only study the effects of stress on legal substances like alcohol and nicotine in the lab. However, there is evidence that stress raises your chances of becoming an alcohol or nicotine addict. Although the impacts of drinking history, social stress, and expectations also have a part in this experimental research.

Identify the signs of stress

It’s a simple fact of life that everyone gets stressed out sometimes. When anything has a negative impact on your life, health, and well-being, it’s best to deal with it as quickly as possible. Everyone reacts differently to stress, but there are certain universal warning signals you can watch out for:

a distressed man trying to think of strategies to manage stress in PA addiction recovery
Recognizing the warning signals of stress and acknowledging them is very important.
  • Unrelenting fretfulness or nervousness
  • Feeling like you are unable to cope
  • Challenges in maintaining focus
  • Alterations in one’s emotional state
  • Reacting to the slightest provocation
  • Trouble winding down
  • Depression
  • Lack of confidence
  • Eating disorders
  • Disrupted sleeping pattern
  • Taking a break from the use of intoxicants
  • Soreness and discomfort, especially from muscular tension
  • Diarrhea and constipation
  • Feeling sick or lightheaded
  • Reduced sexual desire

Talk to your doctor if these symptoms persist over time and start interfering with your normal routine or making you feel ill. Ask questions about the care you’re receiving and the resources available to you. If your doctor diagnoses you with both substance abuse and anxiety, you will get adequate dual diagnosis treatment Pennsylvania as well.

Top 7 Strategies to Manage Stress in PA Addiction Recovery

If you have been a cocaine addict, let’s say, and you’ve gone through cocaine rehab Pennsylvania, you may be concerned that you may relapse into old habits now that you are clean. A relapse into substance misuse, for instance, might be the result of working in a high-pressure environment. You may have grown weary of the same old methods of relieving stress. And you long to experience the more well-rounded and fulfilling life that you were assured would be yours once sobriety became your first concern. The good news is that anxiety and substance misuse or alcoholic tendencies are not always linked. Keep reading to discover more about stress management and addiction recovery programs, as well as the various treatment options available to everyone.

1. Modify your way of thinking

In many instances, the issue at hand is not the problem itself but rather the way we think about it. One of the primary benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy here at rehab Scranton PA is that it teaches you how to maintain a healthy perspective on the challenges you face. On the other hand, it is far simpler to reframe difficulties when you are sitting in the office of your therapist rather than when the problem is staring you in the face. When you’re feeling anxious about anything, take a few slow, deep breaths and evaluate the assumptions you’ve been making.

a happy woman smiling in the mirror
Finding toxic patterns in your way of thinking and changing them is key to resolving many of your issues.

If you made a mistake at work, would that truly be enough for your employer to terminate you? Will you truly be forced into homelessness and utter destitution if they do dismiss you for it? Almost certainly not. The majority of things that we anticipate would be disastrous turn out to be just inconvenient most of the time.

2. Spend more time with your loved ones

Spending time with good friends is one of the most effective methods to manage stress. Spend time with your loved ones, including your friends and family. You should make it a priority to spend the majority of your time with positive individuals. Someone who will encourage you and listen to what you have to say. When you are at a point when you feel like you can’t handle everything, don’t be scared to ask for assistance. Even if they don’t specifically seek assistance, the majority of individuals discover that just knowing they have someone dependable helps them feel more at ease. And if you don’t know who to turn to, you can turn to rehab Allentown PA anytime.

3. Start exercising

Regular exercise has been shown to reduce stress, so be sure you make time for it. Extensive scientific research has found that maintaining a regular exercise routine is significantly correlated with improved mental health. Meaning reduced levels of stress and anxiety. To reap its benefits, you need not run a marathon or devote two hours every day to exercise. Our experience at rehab centre Wilkes Barre PA has shown that as much may be done in 30 minutes as in considerably longer blocks of time. In contrast to antidepressants, the positive psychological effects of exercise are often felt right away. Exercising may be a great way to de-stress and forget about the problems you may be facing. Consistent physical activity has been shown to reduce stress and improve mood. So, including it in your daily routine is essential.

a woman exercising on the beach
Exercising is one of the best strategies to manage stress in PA addiction recovery.

If you have a history of injuries, heart conditions, or other physical restrictions, seek a doctor’s thumbs up before putting on your running shoes. It’s important to get into your fitness routine gradually. Going all out from the start greatly increases the risk of injury and can derail even the most well-laid plans. This means hard workouts like CrossFit or heavy weight lifting might not be the greatest option just yet. If you already have a fitness center membership, you could consider hiring a personal trainer. The first consultation at many gyms is always free. There is a plethora of physical activity options available nowadays. Finding something you want to do and can look forward to each day is the best thing you can do for yourself. This might be your refuge from the everyday stresses of life.

4. Keep a journal

Writing in a journal helps relieve stress on many different levels. On one level, it enables you to better organize your thoughts and ideas. It is helpful to lessen stressful rumination by writing down your thoughts and getting them out of your brain by doing so. When you put everything you’re anxious about on paper, you could discover that it’s not as awful as you thought it was. This happens rather often. Writing down your ideas and occurrences might help you recognize recurring themes in your life on another level. You may lead a more efficient life by keeping track of the things that work for you and the things that don’t work for you. Keeping a journal will help you in dealing with addiction as well. Whether you are going through heroin rehab Pennsylvania or alcohol rehab, looking back and tracking your progress will motivate you to push yourself even harder.

There is scientific evidence that showing thankfulness each day can have positive effects on mental health and stress levels. Feeling thankful makes it extremely difficult to experience tension and disappointment. See if you can notice a difference in your reaction after taking a few deep breaths and focusing on something or someone you are truly thankful for.

5. Make sure you get enough sleep

One of the most effective strategies to manage stress and one of the finest things you can do for yourself is to make sure you get enough sleep each night. Even a little lack of sleep may make anxious feelings and ruminating thoughts worse. To make matters even worse, it impairs your ability to concentrate, exercise self-control, and carry out executive functions. Which makes you more prone to making errors and poor choices. Do not resort to alcohol or drugs every time you feel stressed. You don’t want to end up in alcohol rehab Pennsylvania. Sometimes all you need is a little nap. Getting adequate sleep can help you feel less stressed and will make it easier for you to deal with challenges.

a woman sleeping
Make sure you get your 8 hours of sleep every day.

6. Let go of what you can’t control

Holding on to the past is a major source of unneeded stress in our lives. The process of recovery involves not just releasing hold of things that are no longer serving us but also learning to let go of our urge to control the outcomes of other people’s actions. Understanding that changing your own actions is the only way to reduce stress is a powerful realization. While you can’t alter the events unfolding around you, you can decide how you’ll respond to them and how you’ll proceed.

We have no idea what is ahead. But we can always compare the current situation with the ones in the past and assess our progress. If you are struggling with feelings of discouragement and anxiety during your recovery, remind yourself of how far you have come and how much you have developed.

7. Make time to relax

The day is long, so stress builds up gradually. Close your eyes for a few minutes once per hour and focus on taking some deep breaths. If the weather is nice, go for a brief stroll outdoors. Before you turn in for the night at the end of the day, give yourself some time to relax and unwind. Your energy levels will be higher the following day. You might even want to try and meditate a little bit before bedtime.  Or consider going to music therapy for addiction if that’s more your thing.

How Can CBT Treatment Improve Stress Management?

When we have to deal with difficulties, it’s only normal that we’ll be under some stress. When we have a healthy sense of autonomy over our circumstances, we are better able to deal with the stresses of life. However, stress may become more severe under specific circumstances. Such as when it is already high or after experiencing a traumatic event. This is due to the increased severity of both physiological and psychological stress symptoms. You may find it harder to handle the stresses of daily life if you suffer from stress symptoms like chronic concern, rapid heartbeat, and nausea.

a therapist writing stuff down
CBT will help you navigate through your emotional responses.

CBT can help you see things in a new light, reclaim your sense of agency, lessen the severity of your physiological and emotional responses to stress, and learn practical coping mechanisms to use in the future. Most often, this treatment is combined with prescription drugs as well. But if you are taking the medication without guidance, you risk developing an addiction to them. And then you would have to go through prescription drug addiction treatment as well.

The benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

  • Discover how the ways in which you think and act can be contributing to your inability to progress toward a state of greater mental and emotional health.
  • The best method to deal with stress is to learn new ways of thinking that reduce or eliminate preventable sources of stress while also strengthening your resilience to deal with the inevitable stressors.
  • Learn something new and gain faith in your future stress-handling abilities as a result.

How does it work?

Through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), you can learn to recognize the ways in which your own thoughts and actions may be contributing to your stress. It can also aid in the formation of new ways of thinking that make it easier to recognize things that cause you stress. So boosting your self-assurance and enabling you to cope with stressful situations with more ease. Expect to feel more at ease, in control, and able to face life events after a good course of CBT treatment plan for substance abuse. Both in terms of dealing with situations that cause stress and avoiding situations that may potentially cause stress in the first place.

What do these CBT sessions look like?

Your CBT therapist will work with you and ask you specific questions during your first session. This will aid in helping you better understand the obstacles you’re up against and formulate a strategy to overcome them. Your cognitive behavioral therapist will work with you to develop new coping strategies to manage stress in PA addiction recovery. This method might help you gain a fresh perspective on the causes of your stress. You’ll also pick up some new habits of mind and action that’ll help you actively lower stress levels and manage better when confronted with stressful situations.

a therapist explaining strategies to manage stress in PA addiction recovery to a patient
CBT can be beneficial for anyone dealing with stress, not just addicts.

Limitation of CBT for stress management

While cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be helpful in improving one’s awareness of and strategies to manage stress in PA addiction recovery, it has its limitations. Many of the patients who have tried cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for stress and had their symptoms not go away have come to inpatient rehab Pennsylvania. Most of the time, this is because CBT doesn’t address the underlying causes that may be interfering with your ability to handle stress in the long run. To fill this gap in care, there is another psychotherapy treatment that focuses on identifying and treating the underlying causes of your symptoms. Making your new coping mechanisms more effective. A more thorough and long-lasting effect may come out of using this next method.

Building distress tolerance skills with DBT

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a form of therapy developed by Marsha Linehan that focuses on teaching life skills. If you are someone who is quickly overwhelmed by your emotions and finds it difficult to return to a level of calm when agitated, DBT treatment for addiction may be a helpful way for implementing strategies to manage stress in PA addiction recovery.

Stress and anxiety management skills are acquired early in life for certain people. However, for other people, it might be more difficult to deal with the stresses of daily life. Due to biological and/or environmental factors. Some people, according to the Biosocial Theory, are either genetically or environmentally susceptible to emotional dysregulation. Therefore, a person may have developed coping mechanisms that were useful throughout their formative years but serve them less well now.

a woman satisfied with her DBT therapy results
DBT is one of the best treatments for distress and substance addiction.

You are accountable for your behavior and have the ability to alter your response to stressful situations, regardless of the root cause of your difficulties. DBT operates around the premise that individuals are doing their best and still have room for growth. An individual’s inability to successfully manage their difficulties is not their fault, but it is their responsibility to do so.

Dialectical thinking and behavior change

A therapist may help in a number of ways, including instructing you in the methods of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and assisting you with dialectical thinking and behavior change. The world is rarely as simple as black and white, good and terrible, or right and wrong. Therefore it’s best to avoid thinking in such absolute terms. Recognizing that most experiences are on a continuum rather than at either extreme is a skill that should be honed often. The help of a therapist might be invaluable when you’re trying to shift your perspective. A therapist can help you objectively discover patterns of behavior that are holding you back as well as build strategies to manage stress in PA addiction recovery. You may then employ your newly acquired DBT skills to lessen the impact of any unfavorable outcomes.

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