It is common for individuals suffering from addiction to also suffer from other emotional and mental health-related issues. One of the most common emotions experienced by people with addiction is anger.
Anger is secondary emotion, which means that there are always emotions behind the anger. Nonetheless, it is a very real emotion. Often, individuals who are angry use their anger as a way of coping or expressing how they are feeling. Many times. grief, loss, sadness, and many other emotions are expressed through someone’s anger.
One goal for helping people is to get to the root of their anger problem. They need to dig deep and learn about the feelings that are creating so much anger. Then, they may find more healthy ways of coping with their anger and their underlying emotions.
While it is difficult for individuals to experience anger, their loved ones may also have their own problems related to the emotion. They may be on the receiving end of such anger. It may also be difficult for family members to see their loved ones so angry. Anger may also lead to a myriad of health concerns such as headaches, insomnia, cardiac problems, and digestive problems.
In order for individuals to overcome addictions, they must first address anger and other emotions. That is why anger management therapy may be so beneficial to those who are dealing with addiction. An effective treatment program addresses the anger and other emotions that the individual is feeling through a number of methods related to cognitive behavioral therapy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) addresses problems such as addiction but emphasizes that our thoughts impact our behaviors and actions. This therapeutic technique focuses on solutions to problems and emotions the individual is facing. It provides techniques for changing thought processes and makes them more solution-focused. Below are some common methods used in cognitive behavioral therapy.
Awareness/Identification of Damaging Thoughts
Negative thinking may drastically affect a person’s mood and way of thinking, thus influencing his or her behavior. Being aware of your thoughts may help in many ways. Through practice, individuals may focus on their thoughts, whatever they may be. By focusing, they may identify negative aspects of those thoughts.
People may learn to notice when negative thoughts arise, so they may identify and avoid possible triggers. When individuals become more aware of their thoughts and when and where the thoughts occur, they may formulate plans to overcome those negative thoughts.
Related to awareness and identification is a technique known as cognitive restructuring. Cognitive restructuring is the process of identifying harmful thought patterns and learning methods to change those thoughts into healthier, more positive thoughts.
A technique as the ABC model may also help individuals change their thought processes and approach situations in healthier ways. The process requires people to identify the activating (stressful) event, examine their beliefs about it, and recognize the consequences that come from their beliefs. Breaking down thoughts using the ABC model helps dissect unhealthy thought patterns and create new ways of thinking about triggering or stressful situations.
Meditation and Breathing Exercises
Mediation is a wonderful way to quiet our thoughts. Meditation in cognitive behavioral therapy teaches individuals how to be more calm and centered. Individuals may take their newfound meditation techniques and practice them when they are faced with situations that make them feel angry.
Some individuals repeat encouraging phrases to help them focus on more positive thoughts and avoid the negative thoughts that so often creep into their minds. Meditation may be beneficial for relieving stress and anxiety, two emotions that are often associated with addiction.
Learning controlled breathing is also a part of meditation and a helpful way to reduce stress and stay calm. Controlled breathing may be helpful if individuals practice the technique as soon as they are feeling stressed or angry. The sooner they begin the breathing technique, the calmer they may feel and the more control they may have over their thoughts and actions.
Stress may trigger a fight-or-flight response. Although this is a natural response, someone with anger management issues may have difficulty dealing with this reaction. Controlled breathing is a good way to become calm and refocus your thoughts.
Conflict management is a natural part of everyday life. In truth, we may all use some help to learn how to manage conflict more effectively. For individuals with addiction, conflict may be especially difficult.
Many times, family members are hurt by the behaviors of their loved ones who are addicted. When history, hurt feelings, and emotions are involved, conflicts may become heated. They may escalate very quickly for someone with an addiction. Teaching conflict management may help people with addictions learn to express themselves more clearly and understand how their actions and behaviors affect those around them.
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