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Thinking Habits that are Harmful to your Mental Health

Harmful Mental Health Habits

People in recovery often feel like they’re working twice as hard as other people in their daily lives as they work to maintain long-term recovery from opioid use disorder. Living with a chronic disease isn’t easy, and certain mental hurdles present themselves for many, making life more difficult. Overcoming these barriers can be vital to relapse prevention, preventing feelings of powerlessness. By identifying the most common mental hurdles, those in addiction recovery can more easily take control of their treatment and recovery goals.


Though most people tend to hold onto some forms of perfectionism, it’s a mentality that can be particularly harmful to those in treatment and recovery. The “black and white” nature of this mode of thinking can quickly push someone working on their sobriety into a mental process that suggests any small road bump is the end of the road. Much recovery work people do in treatment with substance use counseling touches on the subject of perfectionism and how it can lead down a dark road of self-sabotage due to unrealistic expectations.


The feeling of guilt is learned very early on, usually in childhood, when faced with wrongdoing, whether intentional or not. Those in addiction recovery are often plagued with responsibility for the actions and words that happened while they were in the throes of addiction and their brain was prioritizing substance use over the wellbeing of their loved ones. These incidents will often haunt those in recovery, and overcoming such guilt can be difficult. Still, fixating on the past and disallowing oneself to overcome past mistakes is a mental roadblock that can negatively affect recovery and quickly lead to relapse for many.


To “beat oneself up” is a harmful habit in addiction recovery. It can directly lead to negative mental spirals that could potentially lead to relapse. The all-or-nothing mentality very closely related to perfectionism creates an environment where a person feels they are constantly swimming upstream to prove they’re worthy of recovery. When someone thinks of themselves as a “failure,” they’re more likely to conduct themselves in such a way from day-to-day, often becoming their own worst enemy. Defeatist attitudes don’t only come as a result of addiction; however, many people who experience this form of thinking do so due to hyper-critical parenting styles or parental divorce from their youth. They also come about from undiagnosed learning disabilities and mental health disorders such as ADHD, anxiety, and depression.


Living with lingering regret can sometimes feel like a disease itself. A constant dark cloud over all actions can make self-improvement and healing from addiction feel futile regardless of positive intentions. When someone perpetually blames themselves for a future outcome, feelings of remorse for past decisions or actions and painful shame can inhibit them from channeling their motivators to get better and live a healthier lifestyle.


Making comparisons for recovery success can be detrimental for everyone involved. All people seeking opioid use disorder treatment have unique experiences and needs. Still, it’s not uncommon for those looking to rebuild their lives after addiction to compare their progress with others -- some may suggest its human nature to be competitive when it comes to survival. Making comparisons where they can be damaging instead of inspiring is not helpful and can inhibit the recovery process.


Being a “do-gooder” has historically been a positive trait; though, many don’t realize the co-dependent tendencies related. It’s not uncommon for those grappling with addiction to struggle with people-pleasing and co-dependent relationships as they tend to thrive from making others happy at their own expense and derive happiness from sacrificing their own wellbeing for the good of others. This dynamic is very complex and can present troubles in addiction treatment when patients reconnect with family and loved ones. Focusing on nicking this tendency in the bud could mean the difference between harmonious recovery and a turbulent tight-walk rope act.

Recovery Services of New Mexico is dedicated to providing evidence-based outpatient care for those with opioid use disorder. Our compassionate and knowledgeable staff comprises accredited medical providers, nurse practitioners, and administrative staff who prioritize patient wellbeing and privacy. Locate a nearby office today and call or message for more information about treatment programs.

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