Tips for Overcoming Feelings of Powerlessness In Addiction

Tips for Overcoming Feelings of Powerlessness In Addiction

Addiction can leave you feeling hopeless… Here are our tips to keep you up!

When you admit that there is a problem in your life then you can begin to heal… but the path isn’t easy. Whether you are suffering from anxiety and depression as a result if a gambling addiction, an alcohol addiction, or a drug or substance abuse problem – feelings of powerlessness, hopelessness, and pointlessness can be acute, heart wrenching, and terrifying.

In our mission to provide you with the best support throughout addiction possible; we have put together this post about how you can overcome negative emotions and nip them in the but before they become a bigger issue. Powerlessness can lead you back down the rabbit hole of addiction.

Let’s deal with those negative feelings as they arise and hopefully learn to keep ourselves safe.

The Hopelessness of Addiction


When you are coming off alcohol or coming off drugs you can feel completely hopeless. This is because your body, your brain, and your reactions – everything is instinctively making you want to reach for that substance. Since this feeling goes on for such a long time, the hopelessness starts to kick in. We feel that it is pointless to resist the pull of the substance we would normally abuse. We end up giving in to our addictive impulses, and the cycle starts over.

Rehab – although a vital tool to help get you off alcohol and keep you addiction free – cannot be there for you 24 hours a day. There will be moments (especially if you do not go to a residential rehab facility in the UK) that you will have to fight off the negative emotions of addiction on your own. For these times preparation is key. In order to keep yourself in a winning mind-set – or to stop yourself descending into the spiral of negative emotions, there are a few things you can do. We will look closely at these in a second. First of all, let’s discuss the links between mental health and addiction in more detail.

Mental Health and Addiction


Fear, anxiety, stress and depression are common symptoms encountered by a recovering addict. There are, it is estimated, four main emotions that a person experiences throughout a day. According to Transactional analysis, these four emotions are fear, happiness, sadness and anger. When you are suffering from withdrawal these emotions are much more likely to be out of balance and cause you mental health problems.

The links are so strong between hopelessness, mental health, and alcohol addiction (and heroin addiction) that studies have been conducted. One study used the Beck Hopelessness Scale to acknowledge that 18 out of 20 women addicted to alcohol or heroin had a hopelessness rating of 90%. It is speculated that the women with alcohol dependency did a little better than the heroin addicts. The women with alcohol dependency believed there was a reason to have hope for the future. The others did not.

The Beck Hopelessness Scale was invented to measure loss of motivation, expectations and feelings about the future. It is a 20-item report so to score 90% is galling. Addiction, it seems, is one of the most hope-draining things you can live with in your life. That being said you are here, you are reading this blog, and you are on the correct path. Let’s look next at how we can keep our minds upbeat and off our symptoms or withdrawals.

Establishing a Realistic Mind Set

To establish a realistic mind-set simply means that we are going to stop thinking in certain patterns. The first step to doing this is to recognise when your thoughts stray into dangerous territory. This is simple when you are a recovering addict because you have already identified your triggers. Triggers are what make the negative emotions prompt us back towards our old negative habits. If we can identify them, recognise them, and change them, we are already on the road to success.

As it is with your triggers towards addiction – so it is with your thoughts. If you become too stressed, overtired, or don’t eat the right nutrients you can spiral downwards in thought patterns more easily than normal.

Have you ever noticed that when you wake up in the morning you have a few hours of near complete clarity? Imagine this is your thought pattern, all the time. The more tired you get, the more stress is put on your system. Likewise, if you don’t put the correct fuel in, you will always be running at a loss.

To give yourself the best chance at having good mental health throughout recovery you should:

  • Eat right – getting the correct balance of nutrients is vital for the full optimal functioning of your body.
  • Sleep right – getting enough sleep is essential to allow our bodies to heal and our brains to process.
  • Drink right – plenty of water helps keep you hydrated. Did you know mental fog is a symptom of dehydration? Don’t let it cloud your judgment.
  • Avoid stress – stress is a huge trigger no matter who you are or where you are on the path to recovery. Too much stress can see you spiral. Limit your exposure to it.

Avoiding Stress


Stress has a terrible impact on your mental health – in recovery from alcohol addiction or not! To give yourself the best chance to avoid self-destructive thinking, try to limit the exposure you have to stress. This may mean changing to a more manageable job, taking on some help at home, or asking family members to take on a more important household role. The important thing is that you avoid as much stress as possible.

This is easier said than done. Take tips from our previous article regarding self-care and follow the advice above and you should have the best chances at success.

What if you Spiral?


If, despite your best efforts, you end up on a downward spiral, getting help is the most important thing to do. There is no need to fight those demons alone. That is why rehab exists – and it is why we exist, here at Help 4 Addiction. Call us if you need us – it is literally why we are here. We can have a chat, help you find the best UK rehab for you, or give you an assessment consultation. Whatever you need just make that call.

0203 955 7700

Dipesh / 17th January 2020/ Posted in: Latest News


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    Detoxification (detox) is the medical intervention required for someone who is physically dependent to drugs or alcohol. If required, medical detoxification would be the first step taken in residential rehab. Detox is used to prevent uncomfortable and dangerous (even fatal) withdrawals symptoms resulting in suddenly becoming abstinent from alcohol/certain drugs.

    The goal of a medical detox is to aid in the physical healing required following long term addiction and rid the body of all together of substance whilst providing a cushion for unpleasant symptoms of withdrawals. Detox is not considered the whole treatment for drug/alcohol addiction and it is always recommended that a comprehensive rehabilitation program is used along side to help maintain long term abstinence.

    Medication is often required for alcohol detox. If you are dependent on alcohol and experiencing withdrawal symptoms it is vitally important to seek medical advice prior to stopping. There is a long list of medications used when treating alcohol addiction and the exact medication given to an individual will depend on their needs/medical history. Some of these include;

    • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
    • Lorazepam (Ativan)
    • Diazapam (vailium)

    Librium and Valium are the most commonly used detox medication in the UK. All medication used to help with alcohol detox have been proven to help reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms.

    There are also a number of drugs recombined by the NHS to help treat alcohol misuse. Some of these include:

    • Naltrexone
    • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
    • Nalmefene
    • Acamprosate (campral)

    Medication is always required for heroin detox. For someone suffering from heroin addiction, the thought of detoxification (detox) can be exceptionally daunting. Withdrawal symptoms from opiates, such as heroin, can be severe and include pain, vomiting, nausea and shaking.

    There are different ways that heroin detox can be carried out, most usually either ‘maintenance therapy’ or ‘full medical detox’.

    Attempting to switch from heroin to a heroin substitute, usually on a controlled prescription, is known as Maintenance therapy. Subsites used are most often methadone or buprenorphine.

    A full medical detox from heroin will always be carried out in a residential rehab setting and will allow the individual to switch form heroin to a substitute and slowly withdraw completing treatment free of all substances. Someone using a heroin substitute can choose to have a full medical detox at any time, however detoxing substances such a methadone can often add to the length of detox required. Drugs most commonly used to fully detox from heroin are, Subutex, Suboxone and Methadone. Much like alcohol, the exact drugs used will be dependent on the individuals needs/medical history.

    Once detoxed from heroin the risk of overdose is much higher following relapse due to tolerance following withdrawal.

    The length of treatment in a residential rehab depends on a number of elements. Some substances require longer periods of detox than others.

    Private paying patients will also often choose a length of stay that suites their therapeutic and financial needs. As a rule, a full treatment program in a rehab is considered to be 28 days (often referred to as a month), however, treatment is offered in several different ways and lengths starting at 7 days.

    Treating alcohol addiction will always require a minimum of 7-10 days, this would be considered the detoxification (detox) faze. The length required for treating drug addiction can vary drastically depending on the substance being used. Detox for Heroin addiction is generally around 14 days minimum, with more time required if substances such a methadone are being used. Treating prescription drug addiction can often take the longest. The time required for treating gambling addiction, eating disorders and sex addiction will be based on the individuals needs.

    Rehab programs can be as long as an individual requires but primary treatment is normally caped at 12 weeks, with the offering for further secondary and tertiary treatment thereafter.

    *based on average rehab stays, everyone will vary dependant on needs and medical requirement/history.

    There is no need for your employer to know that you are seeking help for trauma and addiction unless you choose to involve them with the process. All employers should have a policy that explains what you do if you cannot come to work due to illness – illness to include treating alcohol addiction/treating drug addiction.

    If your work absence extends over 7 days your employer is likely to require an official statement of fitness to work which would be obtained from your GP. This would need to supply evidence of your illness as well as any adjustments required for returning to work, fazed return or reduced hours, but does not need to specify in detail the reason why you have been absent.

    If you are absent from work for 7 days of less, for example entering rehab for a detoxification (detox) on a Saturday for 7-10 days taking a full week away from work, you can self-certify your illness by letting your employer work you will not be attending work for that period of time. Exactly how an individual would do this would be dependent on a specific companies’ policies on taking sick leave.

    Any time longer than 7 days it is likely an employer will require a note from the individuals GP certifying their sickness and a fit note on return. Most companies have a clearly outlined policy on sickness and receiving sick pay so the exact requirement can vary. A rehab will always be willing to advise on time off work.

    How much does rehab cost is a very frequently asked question. The cost of treatment can range from £1,000 per week upwards depending on the place, with luxury rehab being the most expensive.

    There are free options available on the NHS but the waitlist of those looking for free treatment is longer than that for privately paying patients. Some private health insurance policies will cover treatment in some rehabs around the country.

    Choosing the right rehab centre will often be based on priced but it is important to follow guidance on the most suitable treatment centre for an individual’s needs which our expert team of advisers are on hand to offer.

    There are certainly pro’s for both treatment near by and traveling for treatment with one of the most asked question being should I get rehab near me? There are rehabs all over the UK and around the world that all offer expert programs, let’s look at how to choose a rehab.

    Local treatment

    Being close to home gives certainly has benefits. Visitors are normally permitted in rehab following the first 7 days stay, therefore if an individual is in treatment for a length of time longer than that being local will make it easier for loved ones to visit.

    Most rehab centres will also provide a full aftercare plan for someone following treatment, this will include ongoing aftercare in the specific treatment centre. Living close by can make it easy to take full advantage of ongoing aftercare. There can also often be the option for ongoing care with an individual therapist, again being close by will allow that treatment to be carried out face to face.

    Some individuals wish to be local but are willing to look broader, for instance the greater city of residence (London, Manchester, Liverpool, etc)

    Treatment Away

    Getting treatment away from home can be very appealing to some. Being out of the local area makes it a lot harder to just walk out of treatment as resources locally are unknown. Some also take comfort in knowing that they are not near home and focus more on treatment.

    As the price for treatment can vary so much from one residential treatment centre to another, private paying patients often would rather travel to keep the cost down. Those using private health insurance may also have to travel to find a treatment centre covered in their policy.

    When opting for treatment away from home this can be anywhere in the UK and also abroad. Aftercare can still be carried out and very successful using tools such as The Online Rehab.

    There is no right or wrong when choosing where to go to residential rehab, but our expert advisors are always on hand to help provide information on all possible options.

    Whilst millions of people in the UK have taken recreational drugs (amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, crack, crystal meth, GHB, heron, ketamine, methadone, and prescription drugs) and drank alcohol not all become ‘addicted’. Most recent reports show that 279,793 individuals were in contact with drug and alcohol misuse services in the last year with over half of that being from opiate addiction and a quarter for alcohol.

    There are several risk factors invoiced in addiction and those using drugs and alcohol socially, simply take the risk. These risks are as follows;

    Tolerance – basically, if a substance is used repeatedly an individual’s tolerance to it will build. This will result in more of the same substance being required to get the same effect. In the long run this can easily lead to addiction and physical dependencies.

    Environmental risks – these can include influences such a peer pressure and stress as well as physical or mental abuse of an individual (particularly as a child). Overall, those who live with frequent pressures and stress are more likely to reach for a substance to cope and are therefore at higher risk of becoming addicted.

    Drug type – it is very well known that certain drugs are simply more addictive than others. Using substances such as heroin increases the risk of becoming addicted for need to ‘chase’ a high as well as physical dependency.

    Drug administration – how a drug is administered can affect its addictive qualities. A drug injected rather than smoked or snorted will release a quicker and more intense high thus making it psychologically (and in many cases physically) more addictive.

    Biological factors – it is now widely reported that being an addict is not only psychological but also biological. This includes your genetic makeup, mental health, sex and age. It is also reported to be 8 times more likely for the child of an addict to become an addict themselves.

    Its believed that addiction is approximately half genetics and therefore some are 50% more likely to become addicted than others.

    How do you help a loved one trapped in addiction?

    The first step is to help and encourage the individual to become willing to accept help. They do not need to be shouting this off the rooftops, but they do need to be willing to go into treatment. There are ways to help someone become willing to get treatment for alcohol or treatment for drugs.

    Set boundaries – set boundaries and stick to them. Once you have laid them out follow through with whatever consequences you have set however hard it is.

    Stop finances – if you are financially supporting someone stopping these finances can be the quickest way for the addict needing to ask for help. With no money to acquire a substance an addict’s options become very limited.

    Intervention – getting together with other family members/friends/colleagues and staging an intervention is often very successful in the fist stage of acceptance and gaining an admission to residential rehab.

    You can’t make them quit, this can lead to dangerous withdrawal. Boundaries are very important in helping someone become willing to get help. Unfortunately you cannot do someone’s recovery for them and without self-motivation it is very hard to make it work.

    The next step is to call our highly trained advisers 0203 955 7700.

    There is a huge range of rehab options available and where to start can be completely over whelming so let us help.