How Stress Management Can Aid Rehab

Stress is a part of life, but the way a person chooses to manage it can play a big role in his management of addiction. If you or a loved one is addicted to tramadol or other substance of abuse, learn how stress management can aid in your recovery.

Managing Stress

The first step of stress management is the ability to recognize stress. This can be challenging, because different situations cause stress for different people and symptoms vary as well, according to the American Institute of Stress (AIS). Making it even more confusing is the existence of good and bad stress. In the initial stages of stress a person can be more productive, even reaching a “comfort zone” that includes a healthy balance between activity and rest. The existence of some stress keeps people from being bored; but when the activity and stimulation go past a certain point, the negative factors kick in. Once a person becomes overwhelmed by the stress, she begins to feel tired. Without relief, such as a good night’s sleep or break to enjoy an fun activity, exhaustion sets in and then poor health.

The scientist who defined modern stress, Hans Selye, first discovered the physical affects of stress by studying how lab animals responded to unpleasant stimuli, such as extremes of heat or cold, ongoing frustration or deafening noise. In response, the animals would show changes in stomach ulcers, lymphoid tissue and adrenal glands, which over time led to heart attacks, stroke, kidney disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Like addiction, stress affects a person physically and emotionally. When the stress level in a person’s life tips past a certain point, she experiences emotional and physical problems that make normal functioning impossible. When stressed, a person is more likely to turn to substances as a way to relieve the tension. Strategies that keep a person from experiencing bad stress also fight the temptation to turn to drugs or alcohol as a quick fix.

Stress and Recovery

Finding an effective way to manage stress is especially important in recovery because it also helps a person manage drug and alcohol cravings, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It’s important for a person to determine how much stress he can handle and still live a balanced life. Some people will require more down time between stressful situations, including more time for sleep and relaxing activities. Determining when to step back from stressful activities takes practice. It may help to keep a journal of daily emotions and reactions or stay aware of fatigue levels.

While personal definitions of stress vary, it’s clear that negative stress is harmful in the short and long term. The American Heart Association recommends several techniques for handling stress in the moment, including the following steps:

  • Use positive self-talk – A person’s inner dialogue can affect mood and energy levels. By using positive statements a person can better control his stress level. Instead of thinking, “Everything is going wrong,” turn the thought into an uplifting statement such as, “I can handle things if I take one step at a time.”
  • Find the best ways to stop stress immediately – To alleviate stress during a difficult time, try one of the following options:
    • Count to 10 before speaking
    • Take several deep breaths
    • Be willing to walk away from the situation by letting people know you will handle it later
    • Incorporate meditation or prayer into daily activities
    • Perform simple actions, such as hugging a loved one or smiling at a neighbor
  • Seek out pleasurable activities – Stress takes away feelings of joy, so doing something that feels good fights stress. Do a fun activity for at least 15 minutes a day to fight the ongoing effects of stress. Some suggested activities include art projects, reading a favorite book, having coffee with friends, listening to music or taking a walk.
  • Find a relaxing activity to do every day – Activities that take away physical tension and put troubling thoughts into perspective can help manage stress. Practice deep breathing as a way to relax by finding a comfortable, quiet place to breathe deeply for five to 10 minutes without dwelling on negative thoughts.

The ability to recognize when stress levels are getting too high is an invaluable skill. Living in recovery requires constant observance of emotional states and the environment. Each day a person stays on top of his mental state makes it easier for him to avoid abusing drugs like tramadol.

Need Help Finding Addiction Treatment?

A well-organized and thoughtfully designed addiction treatment program provides needed support for a person. Addiction treatment programs that incorporate counseling and structure into all aspects of care—from day-to-day living to counseling groups—better meet the psychological and physical needs of a person in treatment.

If you or a loved one is looking for a structured program that specializes in integrated addiction treatment services, please call our toll-free number. Our admissions coordinators help individuals find tailored treatment options with emotional and physical support. Our programs offer clear steps toward recovery that address what will happen when you leave treatment. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Do not hesitate to reach out for more information; call us today.