Addiction Recovery - Relapse Prevention

Techniques for Managing Irrational Thoughts During Treatment

Techniques for Managing Irrational Thoughts During Treatment

Irrational thoughts can take a large toll on your self-esteem. It’s a big roadblock in recovery. Learn how to stop them in their tracks with our blog!

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Addiction Recovery

Relapse Prevention

August 26, 2022

Developing negative and irrational thoughts toward yourself and certain situations throughout drug rehab treatment is a common problem. As you work to overcome substance abuse, the ability to think irrationally and feel negative emotions often increases.

Irrational thoughts can be hard to recognize. However, there are techniques you can implement to help you overcome these thoughts.

What Are Irrational Thoughts?

Irrational thoughts are patterns of thinking that do not logically make sense within reality. These unrealistic expectations of your surroundings often can lead to negative emotional reactions toward your surrounding environment.

These thought patterns can cause various obstacles when trying to maintain a healthy mental state through the recovery process.

Understand the Situation

To observe your thought processes and determine if your response is healthy and rational, you need to understand the situation at hand. As you view the situation, try to think of a healthy response to the situation.

The next step? Compare this viewpoint with your natural reaction.

If you are struggling with irrational thoughts, your reaction will likely seem to be extreme for any given situation. While some individuals can separate their natural viewpoints from a healthy viewpoint and observe the difference, that can be a difficult mindset when struggling with addiction.

To help differentiate these thoughts, try to look at an external situation when you are in a calm state of emotion and look at the situation with a clear mindset.

If you are struggling to understand the appropriate response for a situation, reach out to someone in your support group and ask for advice on how to handle the situation properly. Hearing viewpoints from others can help you understand if you are thinking about the situation irrationally.

It's why mental health support during rehab is so important.

Know What's in Your Control

It is easy to develop a sense of irrational fear or emotions toward situations that are out of your control. If you are unable to alter the effects of something in treatment, it can be easy to develop irrational feelings toward them.

For example, if you are experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms when in treatment to recover from an addiction, you may jump towards the thoughts that you have no control over yourself and you will never get past drug cravings.

It is easy to assume the worst when undergoing treatment, as you have many new obstacles to overcome. Being mindful of the actions you can take and aspects of the situation you control can help you think rationally about the treatment process.

You can avoid falling down the hole of irrational thoughts by simply understanding what is within your control.

Alter Your Response

One of the most efficient ways to overcome negative thought processes from taking over is to redirect these thoughts as soon as they arise. As you become more aware of the negative thoughts, you can immediately rephrase the thought in your mind in a positive light.

This example can help show you how to redirect your thoughts healthily:

  • Irrational thought: “I have tried to change and do not see any progress. I am right back where I am at with no success. I'm a complete failure."

  • Redirected thought: “I have tried to change, and the progress is not as prominent as I would have hoped, but regardless, I have learned more about myself and what doesn't work. I will keep trying and know I will succeed eventually."

By altering your way of thinking, you can still address potential issues that are at hand without dwelling on the negatives. As you continue to do this with any negative thoughts you catch yourself having, you will begin to naturally think more positively and rationally.

Use Your Coping Skills

When high levels of irrational thoughts arise, your emotions can be incredibly difficult to manage. When you find this happening, it is a great opportunity to put your coping skills to use. Throughout treatment, you will gain various skills to help you cope with different situations and emotions. The following coping skills can potentially be applied to help you calm your emotional response and think rationally about the situation at hand:

  • Progressive muscle relaxation

  • Deep breathing

  • Socratic questioning

Socratic questioning is a great skill to use when dealing with irrational thoughts. This coping skill encourages you to ask philosophical questions about your natural responses. Thinking of how someone else would view the same issues (the root factors of your issue), if they are based upon fact, and the probability of the situation you fear occurring can help you to view the thought rationally. You may be surprised to find out how often these irrational thoughts occur.

Learn Great Recovery Skills with The Edge Treatment Center

Dealing with irrational and negative thoughts can take a large toll on your chance of success through treatment. While the skills you gain and develop through treatment may positively impact you, your thoughts can cause you to feel the opposite.

There are many different techniques you can use to help overcome irrational thinking and adjust your thought processes to benefit you throughout your treatment journey. By understanding the facts of the situation, knowing what is within your control, retraining your thought processes, and using your coping skills, you can learn to manage any irrational thoughts that arise.

The Edge Treatment Center knows our thoughts have a great deal of power over our potential for success. Learning to manage your thoughts can go a long way in your treatment journey. To learn more about techniques for managing your irrational thoughts in treatment, contact The Edge Treatment Center today.

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