Positive Psychology and Addiction Recovery - New Age Psychiatry

Positive Psychology and Addiction Recovery

         Positive psychology and addiction recovery focuses upon an individual’s character strengths, accomplishments, coping strategies, and core values.  This perspective views human beings as innately capable of leading meaningful and fulfilling lives and tapping into what is best within themselves.  Those who report frequent daily positive emotions have been found to experience greater levels of physical health, mental well-being, and satisfaction in work and personal relationships, when compared to those who report frequent daily negative emotions.  Positive emotions exist naturally in the human brain, but trauma and other negative life events can rewire the brain to produce fewer chemicals which are responsible for allowing an individual to experience positive emotions. Keep reading on how positive psychology interventions can aid in substance addiction.

Replacing Negative Coping Patterns

Positive Psychology and Addiction substance addiction positive psychology interventions

           Recovery from substance addiction requires the individual to decrease and to eventually stop the compulsive behavioral cycle which has been a negative coping mechanism for painful life circumstances and the related emotions.  Substance addiction can greatly decrease one’s ability to view daily experiences as positive and can lead an individual along a path of insecurity, shame, and a lost or clouded sense of self.  This process has been understood as a “negativity bias,” which occurs when negative emotions, such as fear and anger, have a greater impact on one’s psychological state and processes than do neutral and even positive experiences.  Substance addiction is a form of “negativity bias” which positive psychology interventions attempt to diminish, because this self-sabotage is a strong trigger for using the substance of one’s choice. 

Effective Addiction Treatment

Positive Psychology and Addiction substance addiction positive psychology interventions

         Substance addiction can wreak havoc upon an individual’s finances, work productivity, interpersonal relationships, and one’s overall sense of self.  In effective addiction treatment, positive psychology strives to help an addicted individual to redirect one’s thoughts about the substance of choice through positive actions. These actions relate to the fulfillment of one’s core values and one’s most inspiring and passionate life goals.  Positive psychology also encourages the use of self-reflection journaling as a way to purge negative thoughts and emotions and to “brainstorm” ways to create and maintain well-being.  Keeping a daily journal of one’s accomplishments can provide motivation during the recovery process by acknowledging one’s skills and strengths, as well as clarifying areas for improvement and the actions needed for this improvement. 

         Traditionally, addicts have been told that they have a “disease” and that they are “powerless” over the substance.  However, positive psychology views addiction as a behavioral disorder which can be changed.  While addiction recovery is not always an easy or smooth process, a reframing of addiction from being a “disease” to being an opportunity for personal growth and empowerment can be a game changer for many addicts.  Meaningful recovery can be achieved when the pain of the past is accepted and the goals for one’s future are based on moving forward with one’s strengths, rather than solely avoiding one’s negative substance behaviors.  Positive psychology is NOT about ignoring present conflicts and stressors or denying past traumas.  Rather, positive psychologists can help an addict to re-envision one’s life and to begin a process of self-discovery about what activities and relationships are most important in the big picture of one’s life. 

The Positive Psychology Approach

Positive Psychology and Addiction substance addiction positive psychology interventions

         I have successfully used the positive psychology approach with my clients who are trying to taper down from benzodiazepines or antidepressants, as well as with those who struggle with addiction to various recreational drugs.  I guide these clients in describing and learning how to pursue their “future self” without the use of substances.  I believe that the most valuable aspect of the positive psychology perspective is its focus on POSITIVE ACTIONS, such as the accomplishment of small, manageable daily personal goals and interacting with inspiring and supportive people in one’s life.  Of course, this is easier said than done.  However, positive psychology interventions do gradually help to transform self-doubts into specific actions for managing substance abuse triggers.  Another strength of the positive psychology approach is that someone going through recovery with a positive attitude is more likely to reach favorable outcomes than another person going through recovery with a negative attitude.  This positive attitude can be created and maintained by acknowledging all of one’s thoughts and emotions as real and valid and by then filtering out the thoughts and emotions which are counterproductive to one’s well-being and which are damaging to one’s recovery process.     

          In sum, there will always be triggers for using substances to quickly numb oneself, but positive psychology interventions can teach very valuable tools for managing these triggers with strength and confidence.  The most effective way to combat these triggers is to replace one’s negative thoughts with positive self-statements and to commit to a daily routine of positive actions and interacting with positive people.  Positive psychology interventions help the recovering addict to redirect the thoughts which create negative emotions, such as shame, regret, guilt, inadequacy, disappointment, anger, frustration, and fear, into more rational, empowering, and managed thoughts.  Positive psychology interventions have the unique ability to keep the recovering addict to remain focused upon a different future, to practice gratitude toward all life moments, and to loosen the grip of negative past-oriented emotions.  This new future relies upon being proactive in one’s recovery and not just on avoiding the substance.  This new future relies upon stepping into the unknown while continuing to move forward, embracing all emotions and thoughts which arise with positivity and hope.

Accepting your past self-reflection survivor of trauma

       New Age Psychiatry offers licensed and certified psychiatric services through virtual telehealth appointments within the state of Florida. We understand the complexities that come with mental health disorders and symptoms, and we will work hard to help you manage your condition.

         New Age Psychiatry is a modern mental health service in Florida that approaches addiction and other mental health issues with compassion and forward-thinking techniques. New Age Psychiatry offers certified psychiatric services through telehealth appointments in Florida. Some of the highlights of the New Age Psychiatry approach include:

  • Online Screening – We will begin with certified online screening to provide an overview of psychiatric care. We also offer a personalized, specific diagnosis through our psychiatric Telehealth services.
  • Diagnosis, Recovery, & Treatment – Our full range of comprehensive psychiatric telehealth services can aid in treating a multitude of psychiatric illnesses and assist in the recovery process in alcoholism.
  • Telehealth Services – Our psychiatric telehealth services are available throughout the state of Florida and can assist you in psychiatric care through counseling and medication management

Contact us on the web for a virtual appointment. If you prefer to use email, you can reach us at info@newagepsychiatry.com or call us today at (877) 769-5206 for more information.