Stress Management and Substance Abuse

Substance abuse and stress management have always had a very complicated and intertwined relationship. Most addiction experts agree that a recovering addict’s risk for relapse is related directly to the individual’s ability to process and manage stress.

Stress and anxiety have always been and remain two of the biggest triggers for substance abuse. By that logic, when you can effectively manage your stress, you increase your likelihood for maintaining your sobriety exponentially.

While we are often able to identify certain triggers that increase our anxiety, coming up with an effective stress management plan is another issue altogether. For example, spending an extended period of time with a large group of family at the holidays can produce enough angst to set even the sanest person off. Whether it be the expectations, the pressure or a myriad of other things we perceive that they feel, family can have an uncanny way of making us drive ourselves crazy.

That said, rather than spend the rest of your future holidays worrying about family interactions, the ideal strategy for the recovering addict is to find some activities, hobbies or personal techniques to counteract the increase in stress.

Effective Stress Management Suggestions

While talk therapy can be a great way to sort through our issues, there are various other forms of therapy that can have an incredibly calming effect on those who utilize them as well. Here are a few we’ve found to be the most therapeutic, and therefore the most beneficial towards resisting substance abuse:

  • Yoga- Some of the most well known benefits of yoga include decreased levels of stress and tension by those who practice it. What many people don’t realize is that yoga also implements an intense focus on one’s breathing as well as the connection between the mind, body and spirit. This focus has been known to procure strong emotional benefits for those who practice yoga frequently. Yoga practitioners are known to sleep better, feel less stressed and handle stressful events more easily as they feel a serene sense of inner balance.
  • Pilates- Pilates was founded under the identity of six principles of stress management by its founder Joseph Pilates. The areas of emphasis are relaxation, breath, concentration, guided imagery, heightened body awareness and mindfulness. Strengthening these skills is thought to hugely reduce the negative stresses in an individual’s life. Joseph Pilates goal was to teach his students how to move, breathe and exist “without tenseness.”
  • Meditation- Meditation is one of the oldest stress management techniques as it’s been around for thousands of years. Meditation is a fantastic stress reduction skill as you can practice it wherever you are. Meditating is simply the focusing of your attention on emptying the day to day clutter from your mind that causes unnecessary stress and worry. When you learn to remove the excess information that builds up in your mind every day, a deep relaxation and tranquil mind can be achieved which can improve your physical and emotional state.

Destination Hope: The Women’s Program is a Joint Commission accredited drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility for women in South Florida. Destination Hope understands the importance of teaching our clients various kinds of stress management techniques to support their recovery efforts.

A controlled, relaxed and low stress mind is the strongest deterrent to a substance abuse relapse and it is our foremost goal to help all of our clients achieve that. If there is a woman in your life who has begun abusing drugs or alcohol as a way to combat stress, please put her in contact with the caring folks at Destination Hope as quickly as possible, 1-866-808-7111. The sooner you do, the sooner we can help her refocus her life again.

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