Struggling with depression is not unusual for people going through addiction treatment and recovery at a rehab facility in Malibu. Oftentimes drinking and depression go hand-in-hand and can become a vicious cycle. You may start drinking because you are depressed, which makes you more depressed and so you keep drinking, or vice versa. Addiction is not just about a physical dependence on alcohol or drugs. There are mental components as well.
Once you’ve completed a luxury rehab program, that doesn’t mean that your risk of depression or struggles with it disappear. Some people feel depressed because they know they can no longer drink. Making necessary changes for recovery can be tough. It’s not unusual to have a bad day now and then where you’re feeling negative, but the important thing is that it passes and you get back to a more positive outlook. If it doesn’t pass and these negative feelings persist, it could signify problems with depression.
There are some ways that you can strive to keep yourself in better spirits and reduce depressive feelings, however.
- Attend therapy
Many people find therapy to be beneficial in coping with depression. A therapist can help you to work through negative feelings and identify underlying causes. They’ll work with you on building strategies to overcome these issues and move past them.
Part of your therapy may also include continuing to attend support groups and connecting with others who can relate to what you are going through. Building a strong support network is important so that you have people to turn to when you’re feeling down as well as when you’re celebrating your successes. Your network could include a therapist or counselor, close friends and family, and people you have met in recovery groups. You may turn to different people for different reasons, and that’s okay.
- Recognize negative thoughts
Try to catch negative thoughts before they become more persistent. If you know that going certain places or spending time with certain people trigger you to be harder on yourself or reminisce about painful moments in your past, try to avoid them. When you feel negativity creeping in, try to turn your thoughts to more positive things. Focus on the good things that are happening and get yourself into a different environment. Call someone if you need to talk it out or would feel better being around a friend who you know makes you smile. You may not be able to catch every negative thought, but being more aware of your emotions and how you’re feeling can help.
- Keep striving for your goals
Don’t lose sight of everything you’re working toward. Feeling depressed can make you less inclined to keep pushing yourself and celebrating small victories. Recognize those achievements and continue to build on them. Even when you don’t feel like doing something, make yourself do it anyway. Sometimes that can reinvigorate you and give you the boost you were looking for. Overcoming that initial resistance can be tough, but realize that better things lay on the other side.
- Stay active
Exercise is a great way to release endorphins, a natural mood booster. When you’re feeling down, get outside and enjoy the sun and fresh air. Make yourself keep moving, even if it’s just talking a walk. Pick activities that you like, such as biking, jogging, yoga, tennis, dancing, or swimming. The important thing is to get your heart pumping and your body moving. As you stay active it can reduce stress and ease tensions while allowing you to clear your mind and become more focused. What you were stressing over earlier may not seem like as big of a deal anymore.
- Do things that make you happy
It doesn’t have to be anything big. If sitting on the beach watching the waves crash on the shore relaxes you, make time to do it. If you enjoy sorting donations at the food bank or serving meals at the shelter, sign up to volunteer a few hours a week. Painting? Listening to music? Going to a museum? A pick-up game of basketball? Find what makes you happy and make it part of your routine. Sometimes you have to force yourself to focus on your own needs and make time for yourself, and that’s all right.
And although you don’t have to take up your friends on every invite, spending time with them and doing things together can boost your mood more than you realize. Even if you go into the night feeling down, you may be feeling better by the end.
Taking steps to reduce depression and stay more positive can support your addiction recovery and reduce your risk of relapse. Depression can be a big risk factor, so keeping it in check and doing what you can to promote more positive mental health can be beneficial.
If you’re struggling with depression and addiction, Chapters Capistrano has a dual diagnosis program that addresses both of these issues simultaneously. Recognizing how the two conditions are intertwined and impact one another can support your recovery efforts and allow you to be more proactive. You can develop strategies and tools tailored to your individual needs. Contact Chapters Capistrano at 949-371-4198 to learn more about our dual diagnosis program and addiction treatment options.