7 Reasons To Seek Addiction Treatment
Substance use disorder, which is more colloquially known as drug addiction, is a serious mental...
Shame, by definition, means a painful feeling of distress or humiliation which is consciously perceived. Some may feel that “shame” comes from others’ perceptions of our behavior — literally being “shamed” by close friends, family, or even strangers. Shame can feel triggering and extremely unfair at times.
Although shame is a normal feeling, it can creep up on you and change the direction of your whole day — or your life in extreme cases. You can combat the harmful effects of shame and learn healthy ways to express your feelings.
Although they are not the same, shame and guilt often seem to go hand-in-hand. Shame is a feeling of humiliation and distress caused by the knowledge of “wrong” behavior. By contrast, guilt is feeling responsible or regretful. Guilt is more closely linked to perceiving the effects of our actions on others.
One way to visualize the difference is that shame is more internal, while guilt can be internal and external depending on the source of the guilt’s impact.
The human brain derives a myriad of responses from feelings of shame. Most of them attempt to fight shame and create a defense against future shame. Sometimes, however, shame can find a way to pull acceptance from the experiencer.
According to a study published in the Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research, these responses to shame may include:
The human brain does not want to experience shame, the same way the brain can “forget” in order to block out trauma or create feelings of exhaustion or fatigue to hinder extreme sadness. Identifying your brain’s natural response to shame is good, so you can figure out what to do next if you consciously see yourself experiencing shame.
If any of these tactics resonated with you have no fear — it’s natural and everyone does it. What you can do is find a way to identify feelings of shame and combat them consciously.
According to Narcotics Anonymous, shame in addiction can be overpowering and scary when embracing recovery. Facing your object of shame can be difficult or even impossible. That’s okay. If your shame comes from another person, external organization, or societal expectation, that’s not something you can take responsibility for. You can only take responsibility for your actions.
According to Narcotics Anonymous and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there are several ways to deal with shame both in and out of recovery:
Shame can be both a catalyst and a result of dealing with addiction, feelings of incompetence, or lack of control. Shame is an extreme feeling — so powerful that your brain will likely block out the shame using control and suppression tactics. At RECO Intensive, we understand that shame is a huge part of addiction and can be overwhelming in its strength. We also understand that the typical actions used to combat shame are normal and can be redirected. At RECO Intensive, our experienced alumni, professional therapists, and staff specialists know that your pain is valid, and we can help you process your shame. It’s okay to feel extreme emotions. Here at RECO Intensive, we offer a safe space to express them. Feelings of shame, guilt, fear, anxiety, and depression are natural, and we want to help you find a balance between feelings of shame and hope for the future. Call RECO Intensive today at (561) 464-6533.
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