How to Deal With Feeling Overwhelmed (in Recovery) | Addiction Recovery

Changing a lifestyle can be extremely hard, possibly due to the fear and confusion of altering habitual activities and routines. Our daily routines are important for providing a sense of control over strong emotions. Unfortunately, not all practices are beneficial to our health and wellbeing. Addiction is one of the most widely recognized diseases, impacting millions of American’s annually. There are numerous reasons that only 20% of those suffering from addiction will seek treatment. Recovery can feel overwhelming and foreign. We’re reviewing how to deal with feeling overwhelmed if you’re considering substance abuse treatment. 

Being overwhelmed when searching through recovery options prevents many from getting the help they deserve. AspenRidge is dedicated to simplifying the process so you can focus on your sobriety. Contact us directly at (855) 281-5588, and we’d be happy to help you find the best path forward that’s tailored for your needs. 

Dealing With Feeling Overwhelmed

The Process of Recovery

The process of achieving and maintaining sobriety is ongoing. Learning ways to manage the stress and difficulties of alcohol or drug addiction is critical for long-term recovery. Having safe and healthy skills to manage stress throughout recovery reduces the potential for relapse. 

Current research shows a particular field of psychology has become a clear choice in relapse prevention and the development of healthy coping skills. Cognitive behavioral therapy, also known as CBT, is a highly researched, evidence-based treatment. CBT utilizes both thoughts and behaviors to help address many mental health issues, including addiction and substance use. It also reduces triggers and emotions that can make an individual feel overwhelmed. 

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Addiction

Knowing how to deal with feeling overwhelmed in recovery is not meant to be intuitive. Depending on the severity of substance abuse, habitual use can hinder a person’s ability to cope and recognize strong emotions as triggers for relapse. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy treatment focuses on how thoughts may affect behaviors and how our behaviors may impact our thoughts. CBT is a highly skill-based treatment method which makes its application for addiction recovery ideal. 

Managing addiction involves the use of tangible skills to help address urges, cravings, and triggers.         

What are Common CBT Skills for Addiction?

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is a hands-on treatment, allowing the patient to change their thought patterns towards a more acceptable and sustainable view on current stressors. Common skills that are developed during addiction treatment include:

  • Understanding cognitive distortions
  • Thought restructuring
  • Breathing
  • Behavioral activation
  • Positive thinking
  • Mindfulness

Cognitive Behavioral therapy is used for addiction, trauma, phobias, and several other mental health disorders. It is a leading treatment method in the field of counseling and psychology.

How To Deal With Feeling Overwhelmed In Recovery

Why Do We Feel Overwhelmed?

When we experience a strong emotion like overwhelm, it can be all-consuming. It entails being completely overcome by an intense and unruly emotion that something is too challenging to manage. When a person finds themselves in a state of overwhelm, it can be difficult for them to think or act rationally. They may not even be able to function or act in a normal way. This can occur when a person believes the stressors are far too great to overcome. 

CBT and other psychological therapy tactics can help to alleviate and restructure thinking in a way that demonstrates that every emotion and thought can be managed. In turn, it reduces the risks of spiraling and relapse. 

Can I Use Therapy to Manage Stress?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy and other mental health treatment options can help an individual develop the skills needed to manage mental health issues. CBT, in particular, is commonly used to help with severe anxiety. Anxiety and addiction often occur together. Since anxiety and addiction are frequently labeled co-occurring disorders, CBT is effective in treating both.

How to Deal with Feeling Overwhelmed Before or During Treatment

Many skills to address negative thinking patterns and behaviors that cause overwhelming feelings during recovery are available. Common skills that can be used on a daily basis include:

  • Exercise
  • Journaling
  • Yoga
  • Reading
  • Scheduling

CBT for addiction understands the importance of developing a safe and organized daily routine with a healthy community. Using proper skills to manage the overwhelmingness of recovery is critical.

What if I Don’t See Change?

Using CBT skills is not the only factor that will lead to a healthy management of stress and anxiety throughout the recovery process. It is important to address deeper emotional concerns through alternate forms of treatment such as psychodynamic therapy, trauma-focused treatments, and family systems therapy. A popular treatment known as Dialectical-Behavior Therapy or DBT helps to incorporate both cognitive-behavioral therapy and psychodynamic treatments to help develop an even deeper understanding of mental health concerns as it applies to addiction recovery. 

There are numerous opportunities and needs for change throughout an individual’s life. Being able to identify and to create a plan for change is important in navigating life’s need for change. Addiction as a disease can impact a person’s ability to think rationally and develop skills needed to change bad habits. This is why outside recovery support plays a critical role in overcoming drug and alcohol addiction. 

Why is Change a Cycle?

A large amount of research and one study conducted by BMC Health Services has yielded a profound discovery of why change may be so difficult. The need for change is ongoing. In fact, many psychologists feel that change is an inevitable part of life. It is also a critical component of drug and alcohol rehabilitation. 

Viewing change as an ongoing effort reiterates the importance of developing healthy coping strategies. This cyclical pattern regarding the change process is commonly referred to as the Stages of Change. One particular model explains change clearly. This model is known as the Six-Stage Model to Change. The six stages of change include:

  • Contemplation
  • Precontemplation
  • Dedication
  • Action
  • Maintenance
  • Recurrence

The idea is that to progress through the stages of change, people apply cognitive, affective, and evaluative processes. What makes change incredibly difficult is it usually involves a substantial commitment of time, effort, and emotion. Each of these pillars can also make the process outwardly appear overwhelming. 

How To Deal With Feeling Overwhelmed

Why is Viewing Change in Stages important?

Viewing change through different stages is important as it can explain different areas where an individual may get stuck, may regress, or in the case of addiction, relapse. With expert oversight, guidance, and support through addiction treatment, incremental change reduces the feelings of overwhelm. This outcome leads to more positive reinforcement and the sentiment that making progress (even small amounts) is still progress. 

Additionally, knowing what stage a person may be in is important as it can help address areas of need and areas of progress. Many counselors and psychologists believe the stage-oriented process of change is an important component of alcohol and drug rehab. It has been adopted by many rehabilitation facilities across the world.

AspenRidge Can Help

The most important factor in determining how to deal with feeling overwhelmed in recovery is to slow down and give yourself space to make mistakes. Overcoming drug and alcohol abuse means reestablishing mental, emotional, and physical clarity; in some cases, spiritual too. Feeling overwhelmed can easily cloud our judgment and consume our entire mind. However, there’s more to being overwhelmed in recovery than simply trying to balance difficult thoughts and negative emotions. Taking it slow can help. 

AspenRidge provides tailored treatment programs that can also help you get through your overwhelming feelings in recovery. Call us today at (855) 281-5588 to discuss your options.