Tag Archives: drugs

How to Cope with Election Results

Traveling under series of arches

Stress and anxiety are normal

During an election year, stress and anxiety can be expected. Particularly when you have strong feelings about one of the candidates or a certain issue, an election can seem all-consuming.

Once an election results ends, you may be stressed about what’s going to come next or how your friends will react if you voted for different parties or candidates.

Everyone deals with stress differently. The important thing is for you to identify healthy ways to address election results and move forward.

Understand that you are not alone

Election campaigns, election events, and post-election updates have put people on edge. One study found that 38% of people reported that they lost sleep over the 2020 U.S. presidential election and 25% of people felt rage when they thought about the election.

To deal with election-related problems, it might help to remember that they impact many people and that you’re not alone. You don’t have to feel as though something is wrong simply because you’re upset.

There has been a lot of unrest over the election and other issues in the United States. There are least two sides in an election – and everyone feels as though they are on the right side. Some people will get angry or upset when others do not agree with them. While this might not be pleasant, it is normal.

You can identify yourself as passionate. That is fine unless you let your passion blind you to alternatives, or if your passion leads you to compromise your honesty and integrity. Or, you can identify yourself as empathetic. As you start to understand and share the feelings of others, it’s easier to see the similarities and differences that you have.

Many highly empathic people learn to use their skills for good. You can start conversations to understand more about people. Remember to listen and state your views, but don’t argue. With empathy, you may be able to inspire change, allowing you to feel as though you have more control over what’s happening in the world around you.

Learn how to process stress

When elections seem to be taking their toll, remember that there are healthy ways to cope with stress. Try to identify what you’re experiencing, whether it’s stress, disbelief, shock, helplessness, other emotions, or a combination of these. Know that physical and emotional symptoms can be stressful on your body.

Practicing self-care is of the utmost importance. Think about what you can do to help yourself. You’ll want to get a good night’s sleep, eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and take breaks.

Particularly when it comes to election stress, the media can be your worst enemy. Try avoiding the news for a bit if it’s bothering you. If you feel that you absolutely need an update, limit yourself to 10 or 15 minutes of news.

It’s also a good idea to unplug from social media for a while. Give yourself a break of a few days or a week. When you’re not constantly dealing with your friends’ arguing over issues and candidates, you might find it easier to relax.

If you continue to feel stressed and worried, it may be time to talk to someone. Start by talking to friends and family about your feelings. If needed, discuss the problems with a psychologist or other trusted professional.

Similarly, if you’re dealing with election-related stress by using alcohol or drugs, seek help at drug or inpatient drug and alcohol treatment centers. Professionals at those facilities can treat addictions as well as stress, depression, anxiety, and other factors that could contribute to addictions.

One of the most important aspects of managing stress is knowing when you’re at a breaking point. There’s no need to burn out simply because an election didn’t go in your favor. You cannot stress on things that are out of your control.

Take a deep breath and remind yourself that there are other things that you can change. If you’re still struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Identify your behaviors

You might tend to isolate yourself and feel sad.  Or you might reach out with more anger and irritability that makes other people uncomfortable. Either way, it makes it harder to get the support you need.

It’s easy to become addicted without realizing it. You may pour a drink as a way to relax. Maybe you went through half of the bottle before you knew it, because you still weren’t able to relax. This might happen night after night, and before you’ve fully comprehended it, you’ve developed a drinking problem.

Alcohol and drugs are unhealthy ways of numbing pain, though.

If you find that you’ve developed problematic behaviors, work to stop them. If you encounter setbacks or withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop, it’s important to know that there is help available, including online resources for recovery or addiction.

The sooner you identify unhealthy behaviors, the sooner you can get them under control. Although election results might trouble you, they shouldn’t consume your entire life. It is OK to step back and watch things unfold.

Focus on what you can control

There are plenty of things that you can do to gain control of your life. If you’re stressed about election results, think about what you can do locally:

  • Join a group so that you can talk about politics with others who have similar views or debate others with different perspectives.
  • March for your rights to ensure your voice is heard.
  • Volunteer for causes you find important.

When you’re able to build support systems and find outlets for your emotions, it can be easier to manage stress in all aspects of your life. Remember that you’re not alone and that others are willing to help.

Sources:

prnewswire.com – Mental Health Survey: Rage, Election Worries and Covid-19 Fears Plague Americans

greatergood.berkeley.edu – Six Habits of Highly Empathic People

cdc.gov – Coping with Stress

Blog # 23 added 12-14-20 by guest author Patrick Bailey (with minor edits by Mary Knutson).

Author Bio: Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoys writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.

Website / Blog URL: http://patrickbaileys.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Pat_Bailey80

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/patrick-bailey-writer

6 Ways People in Recovery Can Deal with Isolation

Woman leaning on door looking outside

Why is it  important for people in recovery to find resources and stay connected to others?  Because addiction thrives on isolation.  And, you need to find ways to cope.  The loneliness and stress of the COVID-19 pandemic can worsen substance addiction and make relapse more likely.  During uncertain times, people may feel mentally and even physically vulnerable. With less access to support and services, they are at the highest risk.

What does it mean to be in recovery during times of isolation? How do you attend support group meetings? How can you talk to a lawyer? How can you meet with a therapist?

Here are six ways people in recovery can not only survive, but even thrive, during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus ID  19) pandemic:

Seek online mental health treatment

Recovery is a life-long journey. You will need help along the way, often includes seeking therapy. With the special safety regulations during COVID-19, most mental health practitioners have gone online. That would help you to continue therapy with a reliable internet connection, or perhaps by phone. There are many surprisingly affordable options out there.

Use a coping plan

You know that—pandemic or not—there will be ups and downs in your recovery journey. Having a coping plan can help you to deal with anxiety, depression, or addictions, whether or not they are related to COVID-19. If you know what your emotional triggers are, you can plan ahead to identify what helps (and what hinders) those challenging situations. Look at your ways of coping because they could be healthy or unhealthy ways of dealing with it.

Stay busy with work or volunteering

People may be at higher risk for relapse when they are unemployed. Recent studies found that unfavorable employment changes were increased alcohol intake among former heavy drinkers. Many businesses have closed and many people lost their jobs during this pandemic. If you are one of them, continue to look for work—in any meaningful way. Apply for jobs, take online training courses, or volunteer your time. Staying busy can keep you motivated to stay sober.

Find ways to stay accountable

Due to staff cuts and layoffs, some organizations are no longer offering frequent monitoring and testing for people in addiction recovery. That means that some accountability methods might be missing. If you think it is important to be drug tested regularly, you can purchase drug tests, and ask a friend or sponsor to help administer them. Since addiction prefers a cloud of secrecy, shed some light on your journey by using other trusted connections and adding ways of staying accountable.

Recognize the symptoms of isolation

Isolation is a depth of loneliness. We may actually be unaware of how it affects us. We may notice an overwhelming or occasional sense of sadness, but there are many other signs we often miss. When isolation is starting to impact you physically, you may have trouble sleeping, and lapse into unhealthy routines. Some research even showed that people in isolation are also at a higher risk for heart disease or a stroke.  Emotionally, isolation can cause you to struggle with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and substance abuse. This puts people in recovery at a greater risk for relapse.

Meet online with others in recovery

Without the in-person support of other people in addiction recovery, people may feel like they have nowhere to turn when they need help to avoid relapse. In many cases, you could meet with support groups, lawyers, health care providers or therapists using apps such as Zoom, if needed. There’s a good chance the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) group you attended is already meeting online. Find out if it is. If it isn’t having meetings, do a Google search for other online AA meetings in your area. Many churches and community centers are providing digital space for meetings.  And some websites include online communities. If you seek a supportive community group, ask your counselor or provider to recommend a reputable website. Resist the urge to quickly give information about your identity and location to people you meet online.

With every day in quarantine, the risk of isolation increases. Try out some of the ideas above, or find some additional resources. You can learn how to cope by grounding yourself in this time of disruption and distress. Health Vista has many health resources you can use to guide your recovery, as well as books for managing pain, anxiety, anger, depression, mental illness, and addiction.

Now that you know the challenge that you are dealing with during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can use your time wisely to find and use the resources you need for support and information.  Then, you will be able to cope better and have a more successful recovery during times of isolation.

Blog #22  Posted 12-2-20.  Written  by Dylan Wallace (with edits and additions by Mary Knutson, Health Vista, Inc.)

 

 

How to Explain Addiction to Children

Little girl child with concerned expression

Protecting and Educating Kids About the Dangers of Drugs

Parents want their children to be unaffected by addiction issues. So, addiction may not be a hot topic within your family. However, at some point, all children will probably face peer pressure or witness someone who is struggling with a substance abuse disorder. As your child grows, you can help her understand and develop skills that prevent her from going down the path of addiction.

Avoid Assumptions

Don’t assume that your child knows about addiction and related issues. According to kidshealth.org, opening up to your child about the dangers of substance abuse makes it more likely she’ll come to you for help when she faces a problem or encounters peer pressure.

Don’t assume your child already knows the dangers of drug and alcohol use and abuse, or that she could never fall victim. Though schools may teach students about dealing with peer pressure, it’s up to you to guide her in the right direction. You can do so by modeling behavior and keeping the lines of communication open. It’s also essential to understand the signs of addiction and substance use, and to watch your children closely for changes.

Discuss Family Addiction Problems Openly

If you or your partner is facing an addiction, start a conversation that validates your child’s feelings. Let her know she will always be loved and discuss what steps are being taken for recovery. Customize your discussion for her age group. If a child does not understand what addiction is, you could say that strong cravings can happen over and over throughout the day and night. It is very hard to resist the urge to do what it says. You could compare it to having an annoying song in your head that keeps coming back over and over again.

Acquire Knowledge

 Because it’s not easy to explain addiction to a child, your best bet is to acquire as much information as you can. Be ready to answer any awkward questions that could come up. According to Psych Central, while it’s not a good idea to lie to your child, you may want to be careful to protect young children from the grittier details.

Be as straightforward as possible if your child has questions. If she asks about your own experience with drugs or other addictions, it is best to tell the truth. Real stories can help her learn about consequences. Telling the truth about your imperfections  also establishes a safety net so your child is more likely to talk to you about her struggles.  By sharing information with your child you also reassure her that in life we have choices. Some of her choices could lead to problems, but making the right decisions will likely lead down a healthier path.

Tell Your Child That It’s Not Her Fault

Personality disorders often develop in people with an addiction, spurring them to say irrational things or lash out and blame others. Although addiction is no one’s fault, the addicted person is still responsible for their own behavior, and is the only person who can make recovery successful.  If an addict tells a child that she is the cause of the substance abuse, it is not true and it probably isn’t even how the addict really feels. Help your child understand that she shouldn’t carry a burden of guilt when loving someone with an addiction.

Find support

A support system is crucial in maintaining a sense of normalcy and stability in families. This may include a support group, friends, family and an accountability partner. Parents often face high levels of stress and need to make tough choices that will mold their child’s life. Parents need to seek support for themselves as well as for their children.

Addiction can affect everyone involved, especially a child who doesn’t fully grasp the concept of addiction. Offer support and protection to your child, repeating the fact that you love her. By talking openly about addiction, you can help her to grow up with the knowledge and confidence to just say no.

Blog  by guest contributor, Jackie Cortez of ThePreventionCoalition.org posted for Healthvista  February 20, 2018.

Revised for readability 5-25-20 by Mary Knutson

Image Courtesy of Unsplash