Managing Stress in Recovery

Managing Stress in Recovery

A study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that 77% of all Americans experience physical stress and 73% experience the psychological symptoms of stress. Most people are unable to manage their stress effectively, for example individuals with an addiction use substances to self medicate when stressed. Furthermore, most individuals with an addiction are unaware of the warning signs of stress, be they physical or psychological, and can relapse.

Warning Signs of Stress

It is possible to manage stress, if it is recognized in time and addressed. In fact, stress can even motivate individuals to make the changes they need in their life. However, stress is usually ignored, thus increasing the intensity of its symptoms. Some of the warning signs of stress are:

Physical Signs


Neck and shoulder pain


Teeth grinding

Upset digestive system

Changes in weight

Use of alcohol, cigarettes or recreational drugs

Psychological Signs




Feeling overwhelmed

Difficulty concentrating

Frequent worry and/or guilt

Mood swings

Sources of Stress

Stress can come up in everyday life, making it difficult for the individual to manage adjustments to life changes, daily routines and personal relationships. It is important for the individual to be aware of the circumstances that create stress for them, so that they are able to effectively address these issues. Some sources of stress can be

Family conflict – dealing with loved ones and their issues.

Work – maintaining a job, long hours at work, etc.

Relationships – maintaining a personal relationship can bring on many pressures.

School – keeping up with homework, tests, exams.

Finances – it is a huge stress point when an individual is worried about money.

Health – when dealing with physical health matters.

When stress begins to have a negative impact on an individual’s daily functioning, they are at risk for relapse. This is why it is important for stressed individuals to learn and incorporate stress management techniques into their lifestyle.

Stress Management in Recovery

Stress management is a skill that needs continuous work. An individual going through addiction treatment should make a stress management plan for when they have completed it. An individual should ask questions like:

What are their physical signs of stress?

What are their psychological signs of stress?

What situations cause them stress?

How can they relax without using alcohol and drugs?

What activities can they add to their daily routine to de-stress?

Each source of stress should have a corresponding plan to alleviate symptoms of stress. Also, exercise, meditation, journaling and breathing techniques are forms of stress relief that can be performed daily by the individual to manage their stress.

Blueprints for Recovery understands the unique challenges that young adults face when approaching recovery. Our staff and programs support individualized programs to help resolve addictive behaviors and get them on the path to recovery and healing. Call us to find out how we can help you.


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