The world can be pretty overwhelming. Throughout your lifetime, you will experience ups and downs. There are moments when you feel like you’ve lost your sense of living, or you automatically feel you’ve done something wrong resulting in minor inconveniences. Some even resort to alcohol addiction and substance abuse as a temporary outlet. It might be okay to feel sad or fearful occasionally. However, you may need to consider talking to a professional when you have extreme addiction, despair, or apprehension.
We will discuss how to curb your urge to indulge in your vices, handle minor annoyances without losing your temper, and resist being easily startled by insignificant things. We will explore how you can start your healing journey to prevent addiction, despair, or apprehension from consuming your life. But before delving into them, let’s cover the basics first.
About addiction, depression, and anxiety
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), most countries had already implemented psychosocial and mental health support as part of their COVID-19 response plans. However, significant gaps and concerns remain. In fact, during the first wave of the pandemic, there was a 25% growth rate in the global prevalence of anxiety and depression.
Alcohol is also reported as the leading cause of death worldwide, or about 1 in every 20 people. Whether it’s cocaine, heroin, opioids, or other chemical substances, thousands of individuals die because of substance abuse every year.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) defines addiction as a problematic substance or behaviour use. The harmful effects can go from mild to severe. When you are obsessive with a substance or indulge in compulsive behaviour without thinking about the consequences, you are likely suffering from addiction. Addiction also comes in three types: alcohol, prescription drugs, and illicit drugs. When you refuse to stop your addiction, it can interfere with your daily life, especially when you’re prone to relapse or remission.
On the other hand, depression (also called major depressive disorder) is the constant feeling of sadness and loss of interest in living. Depression can affect any individual, from children to teenagers and the elderly. It’s normal to feel sad, but intense depression will take over your life and make you feel helpless and worthless. The feeling could go for weeks to months. This is when you must seek professional help.
Anxiety is the body’s reaction to stress associated with anticipating future events. Aside from muscle tension, anxiety may also be accompanied by avoidance behaviours. Some causes include drug withdrawal or misuse, medical conditions, genetics, and brain chemistry.
Although different, all of these are destructive when you do not find ways to fight them.
How can I avoid these?
If you tend to feel super low, isolated, fearful and struggling with substance or alcohol addiction, break out of the surface:
- By getting to the bottom of what you’re feeling. Your healing journey will start from within because nobody understands you better than yourself. One of the most effective ways to get to the bottom of your feelings is to identify your triggers. If you are still struggling in the dark, you can conduct research or talk to a skilled therapist.
- By ensuring that you have a strong support system. Who you are friends with impacts your reputation and how you conduct yourself every day. The crowd you should be exposing yourself to must be composed of people who will be able to help you see your dark side and overcome it, not fuel it. They must positively influence your life, including your most significant decisions, and they should support you during your depressing moments. For example, if you befriend individuals dealing with addiction, you’ll most likely become an addict yourself. If you are surrounded by straightforward, empathizing, and good people, consider it a blessing. A strong support system can help you cope with the notion that you are facing a severe problem.
- By changing your lifestyle. In connection with the previous tip, healing starts within you. To truly fight your addiction, depression, and anxiety problems, you must practice self-control by avoiding doing things that can cause unmanageable consequences. Like they say, ‘you do you.’ You create your purpose. You drive your truck towards your destination. As much as you can, veer towards that road for betterment, even when you need to break out of your comfort zone.
- By seeking professional help. Never mind the stigma. Professional counsellors will help you immensely, especially when you are lost. As long as you have that fire within you to reach your maximum potential and eventually heal, it is best to seek professional help. Your journey might be long, but it will pay off. For example, addiction counselling will help you navigate through the root cause of your dependence on substances and practices. It would help you realize that these will eventually destroy your life if you neglect the healing process. The counsellor will also help you maintain a calm demeanour, gain insight into yourself, and ultimately discover effective therapeutic techniques to conquer anything bothering you, inside or outside your mind.
Many people fail to recognise their toxic behaviour, so it’s more challenging for them to break the habit of being sad, fearful, and addicted to substances, activities, or alcohol. The truth is that you are in charge of your destiny. Don’t wait until the worst thing happens. When you start experiencing any negative symptoms of your addiction, depression, or anxiety disorder, take steps to find a prudent but effective solution. Depending on your situation, you may need to rely on family and friends or step out of your comfort zone, consult a therapist, and eventually start your healing journey.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.