18 MAR 2022

Substance Abuse And Suicide: How To Find A Healthy Way To Cope

Drug and alcohol abuse can have a profound effect on the user, in more ways than one. Often, people drink or do drugs in order to numb emotional pain, but in fact it only makes things worse. Substances can change the makeup of the brain, cause physical problems, and make sleep less restful over time. They can also make anxiety and stress even worse, because they cause changes in mood and behavior that can lead to problems at home, work, or school.

Because drugs and alcohol can cause depression and lead to suicidal thoughts, it’s imperative to seek help if use has become abuse.

Symptoms of depression include:
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Being unable to find joy in things that once made you happy
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Changes in appetite; losing or gaining weight suddenly
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Lashing out
  • Being unable to find energy

Some of the most common treatments for depression include medication, therapy, or counseling, or a combination of these. However, there are ways to treat depression alternatively once you begin treatment for the substance abuse. Separately, these methods can have a great effect on the mind, body, and soul. Here are some of the best.

Art Therapy
Even if you feel you are not creative, art therapy can help immensely when it comes to healing emotionally. Visual art such as drawing or painting is one way to go, or you might be more interested in dance, acting, singing, or playing a musical instrument. Writing is a wonderful tool for individuals who are battling depression and/or substance abuse because it allows them to get their feelings out onto the page, process them, and leave them there.

Practicing self-care can help tremendously in healing and finding a more positive path. This can include taking time for yourself every day to do something you enjoy, getting in daily exercise, or carving time out of your schedule to treat yourself once in a while. Take yourself out to lunch and sit with your meal and a good book, enjoying the alone-time and the taste of the food. Finding simple pleasures can be a luxury that we don’t often get.

Get Fit
Making sure you workout for thirty minutes or more a day can have big benefits for your well-being. You can start simple with a walk around the block or try something new, such as yoga. Yoga is highly recommended for individuals dealing with substance abuse or depression because it encourages mindfulness, meaning you focus on the moment instead of worrying about the future.

Getting healthy is a priority, but you might also find these are things you enjoy doing anyway. If suicidal thoughts are becoming a frequent occurrence, seek help immediately by reaching out to a friend, a trusted family member, or a helpline.

About the author

Michelle Peterson has been in recovery for several years. She started to help eliminate the stigma placed on those who struggle with addiction. The site emphasizes that the journey to sobriety should not be one of shame but of pride and offers stories, victories, and other information to give hope and help to those in recovery.