Finding Healthy Alternatives: Coping Strategies Beyond Self-Medication in Addiction Treatment

by | Jul 27, 2023

Addiction can be a challenging and isolating struggle, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. If you are seeking addiction treatment in Louisville, Kentucky, there is hope.

People handle distressing emotions in different ways. While some choose healthy coping mechanisms, some turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. This is referred to as self-medication.

Self-medication is common in individuals struggling with a dual diagnosis i.e. when someone has both a mental health disorder and substance abuse problem. In these cases, individuals self-medicate to mask the symptoms of mental health issues. However, people don’t have to have a diagnosis to self-medicate. Others do it to get relief from sadness, anxiety, grief, trauma, and other stresses of everyday life.

Regardless of the reasons why it’s done, self-medicating can lead to serious physical and psychological issues. Left unchecked, using drugs to cope with unpleasant emotions can lead to dependency and addiction. Additionally, it may also worsen mental health issues and symptoms while increasing the risk of harm from different substance interactions e.g. mixing alcohol with opioids increases the likelihood of overdosing.

Healthy Alternatives to Self-Medication

Given the dangers of self-medicating, it’s crucial to find other ways of coping with stressful or unpleasant situations and emotions.

Here are some coping strategies that can be incorporated into addiction treatment:

  • Counseling and therapy. Integrated treatment that simultaneously treats substance abuse and mental health disorders gives the best chance of overcoming self-medication. During therapy sessions, you’ll examine the underlying reasons why you self-medicate and then learn the coping skills necessary to deal with them.
  • Practicing mindfulness and meditation. Practicing mindfulness is a great way to prevent you from spiraling by keeping you grounded in the present. It’s also an excellent way to be aware of your thoughts and regular meditation can help manage stress and reduce impulsiveness.
  • Nurturing a support network. Surrounding yourself with people who share the same experience e.g. attending Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings will provide encouragement, support, and motivation.
  • Finding creative outlets. You can also complement addiction treatment by exploring different creative outlets for your stress and emotions. You can blow off steam through dancing, writing, cooking, working out, painting, etc. These activities also keep your mind occupied and away from cravings and temptations.
  • Learning stress management techniques. Yoga, deep breathing, muscle relaxation, journaling, and walking are some of the ways you can manage stress without resorting to self-medication.
  • Making healthy lifestyle choices. Being healthy goes a long way toward complementing treatment. That’s why it’s crucial to develop healthy habits that improve your life such as regular exercising, eating nutritious meals, and getting enough sleep.

Getting Help for Self-Medication

Self-medication may appear to work in the short term but can have adverse long-term effects on an individual. Don’t let this happen to you.

With guidance, support, and treatment from Impact Outpatient Program, you can learn to manage your stressors and triggers without reaching for alcohol or drugs. We offer judgment-free care and individualized treatment plans to help our clients overcome addiction. In addition to outpatient and intensive outpatient treatment, we also offer telemedicine services giving clients the option of virtual therapy sessions. Reach out to us today to build a life beyond addiction.

Download this article

Our Latest Posts

How Can I Get Checked-In Anonymously To An Addiction Treatment Center?

Seeking help for an addiction can be difficult, but admitting you have an addiction in the first place can be even tougher. Everyone who seeks help for their addiction has to go through the process of admitting they need help, which isn’t always easy to do. While...

What to Know Before Asking for Time Off Work for Addiction Treatment

You can get the addiction treatment you need and still keep your job. In fact, your employer may be very supportive of the process.  After all, if you’re a good employee, they’ll want to hold on to you. That said,...

Intensive Outpatient Drug Treatment In Louisville

When you need support to overcome drug and alcohol addiction but also want to keep living your normal life without lengthy stays in rehab, intensive outpatient drug treatment in Louisville is the answer. By providing the best of both worlds, our team of friendly and...

Outpatient Drug Treatment In Louisville

Although an inpatient residential treatment program will often be the best course of action when it comes to severe substance addiction, this is not going to be necessary for everyone. Those who have a mild substance abuse problem with alcohol or drugs may well...

The Pink Cloud Dilemma: Safeguarding Your Recovery with Addiction Therapy

You checked into a treatment facility, persevered through detox and withdrawal symptoms and now you’re feeling better than ever. You feel overjoyed by your recovery and sometimes you’re downright euphoric. You’re confident you’ll remain sober in the future and life...

Veteran’s Comprehensive Guide To Mental Health And Substance Abuse Treatment

Returning from military service brings a set of unique challenges for veterans, including those related to mental health and substance abuse. This comprehensive guide aims to shed light on the multifaceted aspects of mental health and substance abuse treatment...

Is 24/7 Support or Daytime Structure Necessary For Those In Addiction Therapy?

Embarking on the path of addiction therapy marks a profound commitment to personal transformation and recovery. Yet, the nature of support provided during this journey varies, leading to an ongoing debate within the therapeutic landscape – is 24/7 support or a daytime...

The Importance of Replenishing Essential Vitamins For Addiction Recovery

Embarking on the path of addiction recovery is a transformative journey that requires holistic care. One often overlooked aspect of this process is the role of essential vitamins in supporting physical and mental well-being. We'll explore the importance of...

Overcoming the Challenges of Seasonal Affective Disorder in Addiction Recovery

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression influenced by seasonal changes, can pose unique challenges for individuals in addiction recovery. The intersection of SAD and substance use disorders requires a nuanced approach to ensure comprehensive care....

5 Steps to Grasping Alcohol-Induced Psychosis Before Alcohol Treatment

Alcohol-induced psychosis is a severe manifestation of alcohol abuse that can have profound effects on an individual's mental health. Understanding this condition is a crucial step towards effective alcohol treatment. In this blog post, we will delve into five key...

Our Video’s

Call Now Button