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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Controlling Anger in Recovery

Learning to control your anger is an important step in your lasting recovery. While we all get angry, feeling anger too strongly or displaying it frequently and aggressively can be harmful to your health. It can place extreme physical strain on your body and, if you’re not careful, it can become a harmful habit that's hard to break.

The good news is that you can control how you express anger. Despite common myths, the way you express anger is not inherited but a learned behavior. Here are some helpful hints to control your anger during recovery and beyond.

Learn your triggers. Take note of the people, places, situations, and memories that set you off. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) lists the following examples of events or issues that may be red flags:
  • Long wait to see your doctor
  • Traffic congestion or crowded buses
  • A friend joking about a sensitive topic
  • A friend not paying back money owed to you
  • Being wrongly accused
  • Having an untidy roommate
  • Being placed on hold for long periods of time while on the telephone
  • Rumors being spread about your relapse or recovery 
Identify your anger cues: This is an important step in monitoring your anger as these cues can act as a warning sign that you have become angry or that your anger is about to escalate. According to SAMHSA, there are four cue categories:
  • Physical: How your body responds (increased heart rate, tightness in the chest, feeling hot or flushed)
  • Behavioral: What you do (clench your fists, raise your voice, stare at others)
  • Emotional: Other feelings that may occur along with anger (fear, hurt, jealousy, disrespect)
  • Cognitive: What you think about in response to the event (hostile self-talk, images of aggression and revenge) 
Take a timeout. This basic anger management strategy is easy and effective. In general, taking a timeout means taking a few deep breaths and time to think before you react. It can also mean leaving the situation or stopping the conversation that’s provoking your anger, according to SAHMSA. Take a five-minute walking break to get some fresh air, or if your anger stems from the traffic jam you’re stuck in, turn up the radio and sing at the top of your lungs.

Snap yourself out of it. Wear a rubber band on your wrist and snap it when your blood begins to boil. Then take a few minutes to review what triggered your anger and what you can do to calm yourself down.

Set a timer. The next time you start experiencing anger cues, take a look at your watch and don’t take action until at least two minutes have passed. This will give you time to think and act in a more appropriate way.

Anger Management for Young Men
Our Men’s Program at Red Oak Recovery® focuses on the unique needs of young men in early recovery, including anxiety, depression, and anger. Our clients learn about what triggers and motivates them to use in the first place, and work to develop new healthy coping strategies and positive skills for lasting recovery. Call today: 866-831-9107.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Could You Have Binge-Eating Disorder?

Most of us have overstuffed ourselves at one point in time — whether after a particularly stressful day at work or during a calorie-laden holiday feast. For the 3.5 percent of American women and 2 percent of American men with binge-eating disorder, or BED, this type of overeating becomes frequent — leading to recurrent binges and often thousands of calories consumed in a less than two-hour period of time.

Binge Eating and Addiction
Binge eating is an addictive behavior — and, in fact, many people with disordered eating also have substance abuse disorders. Some individuals turn to heroin and cocaine, for example, to boost weight loss and increase metabolism or abuse over-the-counter medications to suppress appetite or purge their body. Food and body image struggles can also surface during early recovery, after the substance abuse has ceased.

Like an addiction to alcohol or drugs, people with BED turn to food as a way to self-medicate. And just like other types of addiction, this attempt usually backfires and leads to greater self-loathing, reduced emotional security, and poor coping skills.

Symptoms of Binge-Eating Disorder
Do any of these signs of binge-eating disorder sound familiar?
  1. You can’t seem to control what or how much you eat
  2. You consume large amounts of food in a short period of time (a couple of hours) — even if you’re not
  3. physically hungry.
  4. You frequently eat until you’re uncomfortably full.
  5. You feel depressed, guilty, ashamed, or disgusted after eating.
  6. You often eat alone or in secret
  7. You diet frequently, but without weight loss
  8. You have a loss of sexual desire
Disordered Eating During Recovery
At Red Oak Recovery®, we understand that substance abuse can often go hand in hand with disordered eating. Our nutritional therapy program assists clients in creating a healthy relationship with food. To learn more, call: 866-831-9107.