Advertising
Advertising

5 Effective Ways to Combat Substance Abuse

5 Effective Ways to Combat Substance Abuse

Although most people have to hit rock bottom in order to recognise that they are totally dependent on a substance to function, there are other easier routes to recognise addiction and substance abuse. These routes require serious self-assessment such as honestly acknowledging the fact that a certain substance helps you combat boredom, be more confident or function properly from day-to-day and without that substance, your anxieties, fears and loneliness come rushing.

Once you recognise – through self-awareness or hitting rock bottom – that you have an addiction problem, the next step is combating this scourge with the techniques outlined below.

1. Choosing the Cold Turkey Route

Going ‘cold turkey’ is the method of combating addiction by sequestering oneself from anything or the triggers that get you to seek calm through a substance. This technique involves considerable effort on your part such as moving to another town or a cabin in the woods where you have no acquaintances or dealers on hand to feed your addiction.

From personal experience, anyone addicted to hard drugs will find the cold turkey route to be highly effective but difficult. The difficulties stem from withdrawal symptoms – stooling, anxiety, agitation, paranoia and fear – which last for approximately 2 weeks. After the first 14 days, these symptoms subside and you can now proceed to functioning as a new being.

Advertising

2. Long-term Rehabilitation Works

Unlike what you see in the movies, the probability of a 21 day stay at a rehab centre keeping an individual of drugs is rather low due to the fact that addiction totally hijacks the brain. This is not to say that rehabilitation centres and the therapy that comes with them do not work but an extended stay in a long-term rehab facility is your best bet of tackling serious addiction problems.

During extended stays, you will be taken through the 12 steps program and also be provided with complimentary activities needed to wean the brain of the harmful endorphins substance abuse trigger.

3. Beat Addiction and Anxiety with Animal Therapy

Substance abuse and the addiction that comes with it creates an emotional void and physiology issues that lead to one becoming overtly attuned to only their needs. Animal therapy helps combat this physiological problems by giving you something else to think about aside oneself which is caring for or bonding with your favourite animal or pet.

Equine therapy has been highlighted as a viable option of curing addiction alongside other traditional means. And it involves close contact with horses were the patient acts as its primary care taker.

Advertising

4. Visualize your Triggers through Virtual Reality Therapy

For those who find comfort interacting with tech devices, the use of virtual reality headsets have proven to be an effective method of combating addiction. It is important to note that this method does not consist of replacing one addiction with another but involves working with a counsellor who employs the use of virtual drugs via VR headsets, to trigger a patients need for the release drugs/alcohol provides.

Once that need is triggered, the counsellor or therapist gets a front row seat in observing how one reacts to his or her triggers and this gives the therapist real-time information to help you combat your addictions.

    5. Align yourself through Yoga

    Substance abuse leads to out-dated or skewed behavioural patterns due to ones reliance on external factors to feel both physical and psychologically complete. To combat this reliance, it is important to work on reconnecting with your old self – the periods you functioned normally without a crutch – and this can be achieved through Yoga.

    Advertising

    Yoga combines three factors: breathe work, physical posturing and meditation with the goal of aligning your mind, body and spirit together in peace. This alignment helps realign the entire being to its default setting thereby helping addicts re-develop healthy behavioral patterns.

    It is important to note that every sufferer of addiction reacts to treatment in different ways. Therefore, going the extra mile to fight your addiction by combining two or more of these techniques is recommended to permanently kick any addiction. Also do not forget that a relapse isn’t the end of the world and with a solid support system built around you, you will ultimately end up beating your addictions.

    ~~~~~~~~~

    Image Credits:

    Advertising

    Virtual Reality

    Featured photo credit: Aral Tasher via stocksnap.io

    More by this author

    50% of Marriages Ends up in Divorce, Is It That Hard to Save a Marriage? Top 5 MP3 Music Downloader Apps 7 Effective and Readily-Available Herbal Remedies for Modern Ailments 6 Powerful Tips for Successful Contract Management How to Safely Browse the Deep Web

    Trending in Brain

    1 7 Most Effective Problem Solving Techniques That Smart People Use 2 How Cognitive Bias Influences Our Decision Making 3 10 Natural Brain Boosters for Enhancing Memory, Energy and Focus 4 10 Brain Vitamins for Enhanced Brain Power 5 4 Steps of Cognitive Restructuring to Help You Think Clearly

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Published on May 26, 2020

    7 Most Effective Problem Solving Techniques That Smart People Use

    7 Most Effective Problem Solving Techniques That Smart People Use

    Problems are, by their very nature, problematic. There are life problems, work problems, creative problems, and relationship problems. When we’re lucky, intuition takes over, and we solve a problem right away. When we’re not so lucky, we get stuck.

    We might spend weeks or even months obsessing over how to write that term paper, get out of debt, or win back the love of our life. But instead of obsessing, let’s look at some effective problem solving techniques that people in the know rely on.

    Ideation Vs Evaluation

    It’s important to first understand and separate two stages of creativity before we look at effective problem solving techniques. Ideation is like brainstorming. It’s the stage of creativity where we’re looking for as many possible solutions as we can think of. There’s no judgment or evaluation of ideas at this stage. More is more.

    After we’ve come up with as many solutions as possible, only then can we move onto the evaluation stage. This is when we analyze each possible solution and think about what works and what doesn’t. Here’s when all those good ideas from ideation rise to the top and the outlandish and impractical ones are abandoned.

    7 Problem Solving Techniques That Work

    Everyone has different ways of solving problems. Some are more creative, some are more organized. Some prefer to work on problems alone, others with a group. Check out the problem solving techniques below and find one that works for you.

    1. Lean on Your Squad

    The first of our seven problem solving techniques is to surround yourself with people you trust. Sometimes problems can be solved alone, but other times, you need some help.

    There’s a concept called emergence that begins to explain why groups may be better for certain kinds of problem solving. Steven Johnson describes emergence as bottom up system organization.[1] My favorite example is an ant colony. Ants don’t have a president or boss telling them what to do. Instead, the complicated organization of the ant colony comes out of each individual ant just fulfilling their biological destiny.

    Group creativity can also take on an emergent quality. When individuals really listen to, support, and add onto each other’s ideas, the sum of that group creativity can be much more than what any individual could have created on their own.

    Advertising

    Therefore, if you are struggling to solve a problem, you may want to find a group of people with whom you can collaborate, so you can start riffing with them about possible solutions.

    2. Regulate Your Emotions

    The next of the problem solving techniques is to be honest about how you’re feeling. We can’t solve problems as efficiently when we’re stressed out or upset, so starting with some emotional self-awareness goes a long way in helping us problem solve.

    Dr. Daniel Siegel famously tells us to “Name it to tame it.” [2] He’s talking about naming our feelings, which offers us a better chance of regulating ourselves. I have to know that I’m stressed or upset if I want to calm down quickly in order to get back to a more optimal problem-solving state.

    After you know how you’re feeling, you can take steps to regulate that feeling. If you’re feeling stressed out or upset, you can take a walk or try breathing exercises. Mindfulness exercises can also help you regain your sense of presence.

    3. Listen

    One thing that good problem solvers do is listen. They collect all the information they can and process it carefully before even attempting to solve the problem.

    It’s tempting to jump right in and start problem solving before the scope of the problem is clear. But that’s a mistake.

    Smart problem solvers listen carefully in order to get as many points of view and perspectives as possible. This allows them to gain a better understanding of the problem, which gives them a huge advantage in solving that problem.

    4. Don’t Label Ideas as Bad…Yet

    The fourth of the seven problem solving techniques is to gather as many possible solutions as you can. There are no bad ideas…yet.

    Advertising

    Think back to the two stages of creativity. When we are in the ideation stage, we shouldn’t be evaluating each other’s ideas, input, and possible solutions.

    When we evaluate, judge, and criticize during the ideation stage, we inadvertently hamper creativity. One possible outcome of evaluating during ideation is creative suppression.[3]

    When someone responds to someone else’s creative input with judgment or criticism, creative suppression can occur if the person who had the idea shuts down because of that judgment or criticism.

    Imagine you’re at a meeting brainstorming ways to boost your sales numbers. You suggest hiring a new team member, but your colleague rolls their eyes and says that can’t happen since the numbers are already down.

    Now, your colleague may be 100% correct. However, their comment might make you shut down for the rest of the meeting, which means your team won’t be getting any more possible solutions from you.

    If your colleague had waited to evaluate the merits of your idea until after the brainstorming session, your team could have come up with more possible solutions to their current problem.

    During the ideation stage, more is more. We want as many ideas as possible, so reserve the evaluation until there’s no more ideating left to do.

    Another trick for better ideating is to “Yes And” each other’s ideas[4] In improvisation, there’s a principle known as “Yes And.” It means that one improviser should agree with the other’s idea for the scene and then add a new detail onto that reality.

    Advertising

    For example, if someone says, “I can’t hear over your loud music,” the other person needs to go along with that idea and then add onto it. They might say, “Sorry, I’ll turn it down, but I don’t think everyone else here at the club will appreciate it.”

    Now the scene is getting interesting. We’re in a club, and the DJ is going to turn the music down. Playing “Yes And” with each other made the scene better by filling in details about who and where the improvisers are.

    Yes Anding also works well during ideation sessions. Since we’ve already established that we shouldn’t be evaluating each other’s ideas yet, Yes Anding gives us something we can do. We can see the merits of each other’s ideas and try to build on them. This will make all of our possible solutions more fully realized than a simple laundry list.

    5. Approach Problems With Playfulness

    Approaching problem solving too seriously can exacerbate the problem. Sometimes we get too fixated on finding solutions and lose a sense of playfulness and fun.

    It makes sense. When there are deadlines and people counting on us, we can try to force solutions, but stepping back and approaching problems from a more playful perspective can lead to more innovative solutions.

    Think about how children approach problem solving. They don’t have the wealth of wisdom that decades on this planet give. Instead, they play around and try out imaginative and sometimes unpractical approaches.

    That’s great for problem solving. Instead of limiting ourselves to how things have always been done, a sense of play and playfulness can lead us to truly innovative, out-of-the-box solutions.

    6. Let the Unconscious Mind Roam

    This may seem counterintuitive, but another technique to try when you become too fixated on a problem is to take a break to let the unconscious mind take over for a bit.

    Advertising

    Our conscious brain can only handle a limited amount of information at a time. Plus, it’s energetically exhausting to use our conscious brain for problem solving. Think about a time when you were studying for a test. It’s draining.[5]

    But we’re in luck. There’s another part of our brain that isn’t draining and can integrate tons more information at a time—our unconscious.

    This is why you come up with your best ideas in the shower or on your way to work or while you’re jogging. When you give your conscious brain a break, your unconscious has a chance to sift through mounds of information to arrive at solutions.

    It’s how I write my articles. With my conscious brain, I think about which article I’m going to write. My problem is how to write it, so once I think carefully about the topic, I take a break. Then, the structure, sources, content, and sometimes phrasing happens in fits and starts while I’m not thinking about the article at all. It happens when I’m lying in bed, showering, and walking in the woods.

    The key is to get in the habit of practicing this alternation between conscious and unconscious problem solving and to absolutely not force solutions. Sometimes, you just need to take a little break.

    7. Be Candid

    The last of the problem solving techniques happens during the evaluation stage. If we’re going to land on the best possible solution to our problems, we have to be able to openly and honestly evaluate ideas.

    During the evaluating stage, criticism and feedback need to be delivered honestly and respectfully. If an idea doesn’t work, that needs to be made clear. The goal is that everyone should care about and challenge each other. This creates an environment where people take risks and collaborate because they trust that everyone has their best interest in mind and isn’t going to pull any punches.

    Final Thoughts

    In order to come up with the best solutions for problems, ideation and evaluation have to be two distinct steps in the creative process. Then, you should tap into some of the above techniques to get your ideas organized and your problems solved.

    Hopefully, these seven problem solving techniques will help your problems be less…problematic.

    More Tips for Problem Solving

    Featured photo credit: Daria Nepriakhina via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Steven Johnson: Emergence
    [2] Dr. Dan Siegel: The whole-brain child
    [3] American Psychological Association: Creative mortification
    [4] Play Your Way Sane: And What?: Yes And
    [5] Daniel Kahneman: Thinking, Fast and Slow

    Read Next