How to Stop Self-Medicating

How to Stop Self-Medicating

Learn how to manage your emotions in healthy ways so you no longer need oxycodone

Many addiction specialists believe that oxycodone addicts use the drug to avoid feeling difficult emotions, a behavior known as self-medicating. For example, when negative feelings arise, (like shame, anger, anxiety or depression), people with substance abuse disorders numb the pain by getting high. Instead of dealing with the underlying issue, often an untreated mental health problem, people escape inside the cocoon of a drug high, but this quick fix creates bigger problems in the long run. Once the high wears off, problems and painful emotions boomerang back, often with greater intensity.

Self-medicating unwanted emotions is a maladaptive coping strategy that both causes and maintains oxycodone dependence. As a result, feeling the painful emotions that motivate drug use is a difficult, albeit essential part of early sobriety. Without oxycodone to suppress unwanted feelings and to generate pleasurable ones, recovering addicts experience reality on a new level, which can be overwhelming. In fact, some recovering addicts cannot bear the pressure of everyday life, often because they lack support and professional help. If oxycodone addicts ignore the stress and thoughts they once numbed with drugs, then they will return to drugs.

Learning to Feel: A Treatment Target

Before negative emotions can be managed, they must be acknowledged, which is why rehab centers help patients accept their emotional wounds. Rehab counselors understand that it takes courage for oxycodone addicts to face strong emotions, but it also takes the following skills:

  • Identify feelings with language that is as rich and precise as possible
  • Resist the urge to judge your responses and to worry how other people might evaluate you
  • Get curious about your experience, noting how your feelings rise, crest and recede
  • Be mindful of your bodily response, paying close attention to your breath moving
  • Ground yourself in the present moment by tuning into all five senses, perhaps identifying a focus for each one
  • Realize that every strong emotion is temporary, so even bad ones will pass

Learning to accept and ride out strong feelings helps you become less emotionally reactive, which means less likely to seek drugs for escape. When a wave of emotions hit you, take them in stride and know they will pass.

Get Help for Oxycodone Addiction

You can recover from oxycodone addiction. Admissions coordinators are available right now at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to help you transition from addiction to sobriety. Don’t go it alone when help is just one phone call away. You never have to go back to a life of addiction, so please call now.