Sobriety - Addiction Recovery

Protecting Your Mental Health While Recovering From Addiction

Mental health is a common challenge people recovering from addiction need help with, and it isn't easy to care for on your own.

Protecting Your Mental Health While Recovering From Addiction

Table of Contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

April 5, 2022

The Edge Treatment Center

We often talk about physical damages we suffer or have been through. We prioritize, seek help, and give proper treatment and attention to surface wounds, but what about our mental health? What about mental traumas or damages?

Many people find it difficult to seek help for mental health issues because they think that it is not necessary to care for things that don't impact their immediate well-being — mental challenges aren't something you can see, bandage, or stitch up. They think of traumas as a part of their everyday life.

The truth is, mental wellness is equally important as physical wellness, perhaps even more so. Since thoughts are unseen, no one can understand the struggles you face in your mind and help you heal them unless you reach out and let them know.

What Is Mental Health?

Mental health refers to cognitive (relating to conscious intellectual activity like thinking, remembering, etc.), behavioral, and emotional well-being. It is all about how you think, feel, express, and behave. People sometimes use the term “mental health” to mean the absence of any mental disturbance in a person.

World Psychiatry cites the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of mental health as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

Many things can affect your mental health. Disorders such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, and others often negatively impact the wellness of your mind. Similarly, trauma — both emotional and physical, like a severe head injury — can affect the way you process events and feelings and leave your mental health worse for wear. 

Substance abuse is another significant factor in how solid your mental well-being is. Substance use disorder affects your mental health by altering chemicals in your brain, your physical well-being, and even your emotional health when drug and alcohol use causes you to withdraw from loved ones or damage relationships with them.

Below are a few suggestions to help you with your mental health while recovering from substance use.

Attend Counseling Sessions

Addiction is a curable disease of the brain, a disorder that can be treated. Seek treatment according to your needs, including any medical, psychological, or social problems you are dealing with. Counseling can help you work through these problems.

Finding the right therapist might take a few tries, but you will start to see the benefits of attending sessions usually within three months. Treat the therapy as a foundational form of treatment and allow your therapist to recommend supplementary treatments. Don't be afraid to alter treatment plans or counseling sessions when needed.

Practice Mindfulness

As you deal with mental health difficulties, you might need to make changes to your daily routine to facilitate wellness. You can practice mindfulness through relaxation techniques and meditation, which include deep breathing, yoga, positive affirmations, and other mindfulness practices.

Mindfulness allows you to connect mind and body and determine specific ways to improve your life. It is the opposite of “mindlessness,” where you don't consider your actions and end up with no direction. You may find you need to sleep more, eat a balanced diet, and get more exercise.

Being mindful may lead you to work on broken relationships with loved ones, find a hobby that turns out something meaningful to you, or volunteer for those less fortunate. 

Seek Help

Reach out to people you trust when you're struggling with something, whether it be post-substance use cravings or mental health challenges. Get professional counseling and a good group of friends who will work with you to protect your sobriety as well as your mental health, which go hand-in-hand.

Your counselor can provide you with the tools you need to navigate through this recovery period with your mental health and your sobriety intact. They can help you to identify, avoid and remove triggers, and manage anxious or depressing thoughts.

Avoid Triggers

Try identifying your triggers. These may be things like physical cravings or emotional instability that cause the desire to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Once you’ve identified them, you might think all you have to do is avoid those situations, but it is not that simple. You can’t avoid or escape every difficulty life throws at you; you must learn how to work through them and cope in healthy ways. You're almost guaranteed to have unpleasant emotions come up occasionally.

In other words, it's better to scrap your plan to avoid and instead prepare yourself to manage any triggers which may occur in your day-to-day life, so you aren't tempted to relapse.

Other Things to Try

There are many healthy ways to care for your mental health while in recovery. These ways include learning to cook something new, taking on a new initiative at work, working on a DIY project, learning a new language, signing up for a course at a local college, trying new hobbies that challenge you, or taking up a new sport or learning to paint or making crafts.

Some conditions should be treated with medication. Talk to your doctor and your therapist to see if medication is a good option for you to manage symptoms and aid in the healing process.

Mental Health Is An Essential Recovery Component

Your mental health may have suffered due to addiction, and difficult life situations may wear you out and hamper your ability to cope. Getting therapy, practicing mindfulness, and finding new stimulating activities may improve your mental health.

At The Edge Treatment Center, we can help you through addiction and find the best combination of treatments to get your mental health back on track. We provide you with professional and empathetic help to make you feel your best. For more information, contact us at (800) 778-1772.

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