For those with substance dependency, treatment can be particularly challenging as a person’s mind, body, and spirit work to recover from the damage that addiction has left them. Detoxification is the first step towards recovery, and this alone can bring about anxiety, depression, cravings, and a host of other painful side effects. While having a healthcare team is not only important for safety and beneficial to one’s recovery, emotions play a major impact and can cause a person to quit treatment prematurely if effective coping skills aren’t found. Whether it’s you or a loved one in addiction recovery, understanding the way emotions work can help you gain better control when distressing moments arise.
A 2015 study conducted by researchers from Maryland and Michigan and published in the journal Substance Use & Misuse sought to explore emotion regulation and it’s potential to hinder one’s recovery. A total of 115 patients were evaluated, with 94 individuals who persisted treatment and 21 individuals who discontinued. Researchers examined emotional clarity as well as the ability to engage in goal-direct behavior and tolerate negative emotions, which is needed for someone to be able to continue treatment. One of the biggest findings from the study was that in order for someone to continue pursuing treatment, they need to be able to work towards their goals despite any emotional turmoil they may be experiencing. Overall, findings revealed that yes – emotion regulation does have an impact on whether or not a person stays in treatment.
If you are currently in treatment and have goals you’re working towards, but run into the inevitable negative emotion from time to time, it may feel easy to quit treatment. However, there are several steps you can take to combat these negative emotions, and it’s important for you to keep the bigger picture in mind.
- Try to recognize how you feel and how it’s affecting you.
- Be very honest with yourself, even if it’s painful.
- Practice mindfulness by breathing in and breathing out, allowing the emotion to exist without giving it much importance.
- Find healthy ways to process and release these emotions, such as through journaling, music therapy, exercise, psychotherapy, and more.
- Talk to someone from your healthcare team to develop an action plan for the really bad days when emotions seem to take over.
By taking control over your emotions, you are taking back your power. You are enabling yourself to continue working towards your goals, without allowing your emotions to overrule you.
Tree House Recovery is a men’s treatment program located in Portland, Oregon. Creating sustainable recovery through sustainable change, our programs help men learn how to live sober with adventurous lives. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474