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Everyone has experienced boredom at some point in their life. Usually it is just a passing feeling that subsides once the person becomes engaged in something stimulating or of interest again. However, those that experience frequent boredom may also struggle with feelings of depression or loneliness. These things can all lead to the temptation to experiment with drugs or alcohol. In recognition of July being National Anti-Boredom Month, we take a closer look at how boredom can impact the risk of developing an addiction.

Covering up emotions. People may turn to drugs or alcohol to try to cover up their emotions and feelings of boredom. By getting drunk or high, it gives them temporary relief. But the key here is that it is only temporary. The effects soon wear off, so they continue using to stay in this altered state. The effect of these substances on the mind, however, can exacerbate how the person is feeling once they start to wear off.

Increased risk taking. In the midst of boredom, people are sometimes driven to take risks that they would not normally take in order to entertain themselves. They may have read or heard about the effects of certain drugs, so now they are curious to try them. Because they may have lower expectations for themselves at that point, they are willing to try different substances to see what happens. Even using just one time can lead to more frequent use, and this can in turn result in addiction. In some cases, all it takes is using one time to accidentally end a person’s life. Is this a risk worth taking for the sake of boredom?

Fighting Back Against Boredom

There are many ways that people can combat boredom and help to reduce the temptation to turn to drugs or alcohol. Even those who have gone through treatment and are in recovery know that staying active and keeping one’s mind stimulated is important. This plays a role in their maintaining sobriety and making positive changes in their life.

Explore new interests. Take the time to discover new hobbies or abilities. Sign up for a class or take a friend up on an offer to join them in something they like to do. This beats sitting idly by and can lead to many great opportunities. Being social and engaging in group activities can help to provide more outlets and give a person more resources. They may find that they excel in something they’ve never tried before and can put their focus on becoming even better.

Identify the causes of boredom. One way to overcome boredom is to determine what is causing it. Have you reached a plateau at your job? Have you fallen into a monotonous routine? Think about what may be causing these feelings and how to remedy it. Maybe this means looking into a new job opportunity or a shift in positions. Taking on different responsibilities can provide just enough change to keep people from becoming too bored with what they are doing and give them something to work toward.

Volunteer. Fill up free time by giving back. Find an organization that you are passionate about and donate your services. Nonprofits need help in many different capacities so people are sure to find something that piques their interest and fits their schedule. Helping others can make them feel better about themselves and the work that they are doing.

Don’t let boredom get the best of you and lead to unhealthy or dangerous habits. Chapters Capistrano can help you to achieve sobriety while developing more effective ways of handling boredom and putting more excitement back in your life. Contact us today to find out more about our flexible and personalized approach to treatment.