As many of us know, the pain that we have endured due to emotional stress and turmoil can often cause more pain than actual physical suffering. Of course, physical pain can take us out for a few days, weeks, or even months, but emotional pain of addiction can last, honestly a lifetime. For those of us who are trying to live a healthy sober life, hanging on to this emotional pain can severely inhibit our growth and ability to stay sober.
Emotional Pain of Addiction and Stress
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It has become pretty apparent to modern day science that high levels of emotional stress and pain can present themselves in multiple physical forms as well. Heart disease, for example, has long been one of the leading causes of death among adult Americans for the last several decades. This could be due to the high levels of stress and anxiety that Americans struggle from on a daily basis.
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With emotional trauma comes many forms of different psychological factors, such as stress, anxiety, depression, paranoia, insomnia, etc. These physical representations of disrupted emotional and mental states can create a laundry list of difficulties in the physical form.
Emotional Distress and the Physical Body
Some of the common physical symptoms and disease that can come from prolonged, unresolved emotional pain and trauma:
|Digestive issues (ulcers)
|Neck and Back Issues
How Much Do Our Emotions Actually Effect Us?
In the 1960’s Russian space scientists discovered that every thought or feeling we have triggers the release of a chemical protein called neuropeptides. These NP’s control and regulate hormones, endorphins, cortisol, and adrenaline, to name a few. It has been discovered that as a human experiences an emotion, cells, and protons are activated along the neural pathways in the brain that trigger the NP’s to release the proper chemicals.
For example, when someone hugs us, our brain releases dopamine as a reaction to our happiness, or positive emotion. When someone scares us, our brain releases cortisol and adrenaline, to trigger our “flight or fight” response, which is considered a negative emotion.
It has been shown that although these negative emotions are primarily what can keep us safe throughout danger, that too much of these negative emotions over a period of time can actually cause harm to the body. For example, that is often why people who suffer from depression frequently report feeling exhausted, sick and worn down.
In many cases, emotional stress is associated with health problems which entail lowered immune function, chronic inflammation, enhanced tumor growth and altered brain chemistry, increased blood pressure and more.
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How to Recover from the Emotional Pain of Addiction
If you have found yourself to be one of the lucky ones who has lived through your emotional trauma and has even managed to become willing enough to kick your addiction as well, you are going to have a bumpy road ahead of you. It may seem like you are alone out there, but be assured that the rooms of 12 step programs are going to be some of the only people out there who will understand your plight.
While you learn to discover life without the use of drugs and alcohol to quiet the emotional pain and mental states you have been trying to block out, here are some helpful tips that I have found have helped me get through some emotional bottoms in the past.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help; whether it be from a friend in the rooms, a therapist, or whatever higher power you have found yourself making the attempt to work towards. It is often one of the hardest things for us to admit, needing help, however, it will be one of the only things that save us when we feel isolated and alone.
- Practice Acceptance as best you can. While you reflect on a distressing occurrence, you should strive for closure; worrying only boosts stress levels, which can be addictive and, when tended to like we all tend to do (obsessively) can eventually lead to cardiovascular disease.
- Try to transform the negative into something positive. Trying to view any situations in the past as a lesson, or an integral part of your story, rather than something that has held you back, will not only give you power over that event but will also allow you to start healing.
- Don’t get too caught up on Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda: You can’t change the past. You can only accept what happened, and strive to never make anyone feel the way you did. See what you can bring to the table to help others overcome a similar event from their own past.
- Create positive affirmations that are relative for you;. Get creative, really think about what you look for and value in your own life. Don’t just pick something from the prettiest meme you found on Facebook. Really dig, what do YOU want yourself to believe about yourself? You are what you attract.
The beautiful thing about emotional pain is that it IS POSSIBLE to overcome it, just the same as anything else. They say time heals all wounds, however, we do have to take certain steps to ensure that we are smoothing that healing process along as best we can. Don’t be afraid to speak up about where you’re at, if there is one thing I learned in these rooms and in this program, is that I never have to feel alone again.
Freedom From Addiction
If you have found yourself or a loved one suffering from alcoholism or addiction, you are not alone! If you are ready to change your life and live free of addiction, then FindAddictionRehabs.com can help. We give you the jump start to recovery you need. Our holistic program is unique in that it doesn’t just treat the addiction, it treats the whole person. For more information on our program, call 1-877-959-7271 today.
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Deborah Tayloe is a freelance writer specializing in health and sciences. Deborah earned a B.S.Ed. in Secondary Education/English, accompanied by a Spanish minor. Her writing expertise allows her to craft engaging, impactful articles to help people be well.
In addition, she holds a fully accredited Certificate of Natural Medicine and is a certified Herbalist. Through her understanding of complementary medicine, Deborah helps medical professionals give people the information they need to embrace natural approaches to wellness.
When she’s not working, Deborah trains for 5K races and advocates for animal rights.