Depression and Alcoholism: Seven Tips for Recovery
Recovery from depression and alcoholism is a difficult road that requires perseverance and strength of a new calibre. Recovering from both conditions simultaneously is even more difficult and poses a seemingly insurmountable challenge. However, when armed with a solid support system, knowledge of good nutrition and exercise practices and the ability to take responsibility and identify signs of relapse, each step towards recovery becomes easier and that much more rewarding. Read on for seven tips towards recovery from depression and alcoholism.
- Build a support system
A support system could include loved ones from your family and friends group, those who are with you in a support/recovery group and even counsellors, psychologists and nurses who play an active role in the recovery process. By overcoming the shame and guilt often experienced alongside conditions of depression and alcoholism, you will be able to open up to people who you trust and who are able to offer support and assistance as the need arises. Depression and alcoholism are difficult to face alone – read more about the importance of a support group in the process of recovery here.
Nutrition plays a major role in contributing to illnesses both mental and physical, although it is often overlooked as a factor to be dealt with in both the onset of and recovery from conditions including depression and alcoholism. This study on nutritional neuroscience – an emerging discipline that studies the link between nutrition and human behaviour and emotions – concludes that aspects such as obesity, poor appetite, unhealthy foods high in fat and sugar and disruptive eating patterns can cause nutritional deficiencies that influence both the body and mind. Speak to a doctor or nutritionist to ensure that you are taking in a healthy amount of fibre, carbohydrates, proteins, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats – this will make a huge difference in both your mood and energy levels throughout the battle to recovery.
Similarly, ensure that you are taking in enough vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. There are plenty of reliable supplements available that are natural and without side effects that could actually hamper your process to recovery from depression and alcoholism. B vitamin deficiencies are often linked to the onset of depression, as are low levels of vitamin C and D. Read more about vitamin B12 and how it can help in your journey to recovery here.
- Avoid triggers
Triggers are a major instigator of relapse for those who are fighting to recover from depression and alcoholism. Triggers could include everything from environmental factors that encourage substance abuse to aspects such as poor health and nutrition, stress and emotional trauma. If you are faced with a situation in which you know triggers will be present, take someone from your stable support system along to help you stay strong and focused on your goal of recovery. Set a time limit to social situations in which triggers are inevitable as this will help you minimize exposure and maximize your composure to stay strong.
Believe it or not, exercise can help ensure long-term sobriety by providing a source of stress relief while releasing feel-good endorphins that can help to lower cravings for alcohol. Exercise is also a great way to recover from depression – it not only boosts your mood but also provides feelings of self-confidence that strengthen the commitment to health and recovery.
- Ask for help
Nobody expects people recovering from depression and alcoholism to do it all on their own. However, people are often very sensitive towards those who are starting to recover and don’t always know how to help. It is important that you are able to identify warning signs of relapse and ask for help when needed. If you are feeling especially vulnerable, call on your support system to stay strong against relapse.
- Establish a routine
Recovery from depression and alcoholism is incredibly difficult as it requires complete separation from previous environments that contain ever-constant triggers for relapse. A regular routine that outlines daily and weekly commitments can help build confidence and allows you to take responsibility over your path to recovery. This article outlines some great daily and weekly routines that can guard against relapse while staying healthy and focused.
Marcus has a degree in psychology, a master’s degree in health psychology and has worked within the NHS as well as private organisations. Marcus started psysci a psychology and science blog in order to disseminate research into bite size, meaningful and helpful resources.
Exercise and Nutrition are vital parts of addiction recovery and as noted above, also an important part of combating depression. The Addictions Academy offers Certified Nutritional Recovery Coach training and Certified Fitness in Recovery Coach training! These two courses are essential for all recovery and health coaches, and even family members working with someone in recovery! 1.800.706.0318