Your time in drug and alcohol detox is spent physically adjusting to the absence of an addictive drug in your body. This includes going through the withdrawal process. During withdrawal, you will experience many physical symptoms, which can be managed and alleviated with medical assistance. In addition, you will also experience many emotional symptoms during detox.
Drug use disorders change the way the brain functions, impacting mood and behavior. This can result in depression, anxiety, and paranoia, among many other psychiatric disorders.1 Because of this, you must also adjust emotionally and psychologically once those substances are removed from your body.
Comprehensive, individualized detox treatment should provide both psychological and physical treatment to effectively address your overall wellness.
Types of Personal Wellness
Complete personal wellness is multidimensional and encompasses several different kinds of wellness. Each of these facets interacts with one another to produce your overall quality of life. The seven kinds of wellness that impact your everyday life are2:
- Physical Wellness
Physical wellness is what many people may think of when they think about their own well-being. This involves maintaining a healthy lifestyle in regards to the foods you eat, working out regularly and fulfilling preventative needs such as regular check-ups with your doctor and dentist. Prioritizing your physical well-being will ensure that you can function without putting unnecessary stress on your body.
- Social Wellness
Building and maintaining healthy relationships with other people in your life helps you keep a healthy balance of social interaction. Isolation is not healthy for anyone, but maintaining harmony within professional and personal relationships is key to overall well-being.
- Emotional Wellness
When you are emotionally well, you are able to recognize the emotions you feel, accept those feelings and then respond to them in a productive way. When you do this, you are able better equipped to handle the difficult circumstances that life throws at you.
- Spiritual Wellness
Establishing a sense of values and morals allows you to find peace and harmony in your life, regardless of whether you believe in a God or not. This also helps you connect with others and plays a role in your social well-being.
- Environmental Wellness
Being aware of your surroundings, volunteering for causes that are important to you and taking care of your living environment are all things that contribute to your environmental wellness. Taking the time to understand your personal impact on the world affects how you feel about yourself and your environment.
- Occupational Wellness
Feeling satisfied and enriched by your occupation affects your occupational wellness because work can provide an opportunity to use your skills and gifts to contribute to a team-oriented goal or task. This can be very gratifying and fulfilling.
- Intellectual Wellness
Intellectual wellness incorporates a need a desire to learn new things, expand your understanding, be creative and challenge yourself to grow. These things all contribute to your overall well-being and understanding of the people and the world around you.
Why Is Emotional Wellness Essential in Detox?
During detox, being “emotionally well” extends far beyond just feeling good. In fact, according to Psychology Today, it’s good to feel bad sometimes. This is because avoiding negative emotions or using drugs and alcohol as a means to cope with them actually causes many psychological problems.3
Instead of dealing with your negative emotions, you may develop a fear of feeling them (causing anxiety), or you may tend to deny the truth and end up missing out on life experiences because you are trying to avoid certain places or people that conjure those negative feelings.
Coming to terms with this by accepting and dealing with your emotions is called emotional acceptance. This involves living your life in a way that allows you to be aware of your current emotions and accept them as reality.4 This is often practiced with meditation. Journaling or confiding in another person can also be a productive way to practice emotional acceptance.
According to a study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, acceptance of negative emotions is a valuable skill and coping mechanism that leads to more adaptive and positive outcomes rather than negative outcomes, regardless of the situation. This also leads to less depressive symptoms in the face of high levels of stress.5
In learning to accept and address your negative emotions during detox, you are tapping into a key skill that will help you deal with emotional and stressful events in your life or come to terms with past trauma rather than relying on substance abuse to cope.
Practicing Emotional Wellness In Detox
Emotional wellness is often a primary focus in drug and alcohol rehab, but high-quality detox programs such as those offered at Hill Country Detox will also help you begin to process your emotional responses to sobriety.
During your detox program, you will practice emotional wellness with mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, a therapeutic modality that combines meditation, cognitive therapy and a cultivation of a mindful attitude.6 This will take place in your group and individual detox counseling while you make efforts toward achieving the following concepts:
- Become willing to make lifestyle changes – While you’re in detox, your counselor will work with you to help you understand that while making lifestyle changes may be scary, it is essential for a healthy and sober lifestyle.
- Take ownership of your addiction – Although this is largely done in addiction rehab, the process can begin in detox counseling. Taking responsibility for your actions and behaviors is one of the first steps of coming to terms with your addiction and overcoming it.
- Consider your emotions, beliefs, and behaviors when making decisions – Instead of ignoring negative emotions or using drugs or alcohol to mask them, acknowledging them and taking them into consideration will help you learn how to make healthier life choices.
- Accept and forgive yourself – Overwhelming shame can cause some people to avoid confronting their substance abuse and addiction. Once you admit to being flawed and accept your weaknesses, you can focus on making improvements instead of letting your flaws and mistakes define you. Your detox counselor may work with you to help you forgive yourself and recognize your personal strengths as well as your weaknesses.
Although emotional wellness is just one aspect of detox and ongoing recovery, it’s a vital one that is just as important as your physical well-being.