It’s common for certain environmental factors and situations to become associated with drinking. Many people turn to alcohol to alleviate any emotional distress they’re experiencing. However, relying on alcohol for comfort often contributes to dependence, which can quickly lead to addiction. Eventually, alcohol no longer alleviates any stress but causes it instead. As a drug rehab in Pennsylvania, we know that alcohol can cause many mental and physical problems if abused. However, there are safe alternatives to drinking alcohol that are just as effective.
4 Healthy Alternatives To Drinking Alcohol
Stress is a factor in nearly everyone’s life, and developing healthy ways of coping with it is important. It’s also one of the most common emotional signs of addiction. Addiction often begins with either experimentation or reliance on alcohol for emotional and physical support. Rather than using drinking to escape or avoid certain situations, there are plenty of alcohol alternatives that provide similar effects to alcohol without the risk of addiction or physical and mental repercussions. Below are four alternatives to alcohol for anxiety and stress that are healthy and safe.
Some herbal alcohol substitutes that can promote relaxation include:
- Valerian: Valerian is an herb that’s native to certain parts of Asia and Europe. It’s another plant or flower that can induce sleep and relaxation.
- L-theanine: L-theanine is an amino acid that’s usually found in green or black tea and sometimes mushrooms. It can help reduce anxiety, stress, and insomnia.
- Passionflower: This is a plant, specifically a climbing vine, that grows in the southeastern United States and Central and South America. It’s also been shown to reduce anxiety and stress and even alleviate pain caused by muscle spasms.
- Chamomile: Chamomile has been used medicinally for thousands of years to calm anxiety and settle stomach pain. It’s best known as an ingredient in herbal tea in the U.S., and many people drink it to help them fall asleep.
- Lavender: Lavender is another popular herb that’s used for a variety of things. Other than décor, this plant can also be used to improve sleep, reduce blood pressure, treat skin blemishes, relieve asthma symptoms, promote hair growth, and more.
- Lemon balm: Also known as Melissa officinalis, lemon balm is a lemon-scented herb that’s native to North Africa, West Asia, and Europe. It’s been known to improve mood and cognitive function, relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and more.
These supplements are often used to treat a variety of things including sleep disorders, anxiety, stress, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and muscle pain, making them excellent alcohol substitutes. However, be sure to speak to your doctor before drinking any of these supplements. Some may interact with medications or may not be considered beneficial by your doctor. These herbs are also not supplements for addiction treatment. If you are struggling with alcohol abuse, the best thing you can do is undergo an alcohol detox and treatment like the ones offered at Clearbrook Pennsylvania.
Meditation is when a person uses mindfulness, focus, thought, or activity to increase their attention, gain self-awareness, achieve mental clarity, and reach a calm state of mind. This a practice that’s been around for centuries but is also adaptable. Meditating is known for its ability to help with stress relief. It’s also used in addiction treatment and is one of the several special programs and therapies we utilize in treating substance use disorders at our rehab center. You can meditate by sitting in a quiet room and focusing on a mantra, an image, a sound, an object, or nothing at all. Do this for 15 to 20 minutes while focusing on calming your breathing. If you were used to drinking to ease your anxiety and calm your nerves, meditation is a much healthier alternative.
Exercise is another natural way to relieve any emotional distress or anxiety that you may have attempted to alleviate by drinking alcohol. Exercising can include running, dancing, swimming, hiking, or any other fun activity that gets you up and moving. Not only can physical activity reduce stress, but it can also contribute to an increase in self-esteem and confidence as you develop a more positive body image.
Another positive alcohol replacement is a hobby. You can replace the time you would have spent drinking or thinking about drinking by working on a fun hobby. This is helpful for people who either want to cut down on drinking or are in addiction recovery. Whether you read a book, paint, make music, or build birdhouses, dedicate some time to fun activities that can help you relax and stay clean. Be sure to explore different options and don’t be afraid to try something new.
How Can Healthy Alternatives Prevent Alcohol Use?
Healthy alternatives can prevent alcohol use because they can produce similar effects as alcohol without the risk of addiction or other physical and psychological consequences. Healthy alternatives to drinking like natural supplements, meditation, exercise, and hobbies can help to reduce stress and anxiety, improve physical health, increase self-confidence, and keep you busy.
While these replacements are beneficial, they do not take the place of professional substance abuse treatment. If you’re struggling with alcoholism, we can help. Clearbrook Treatment Centers Pennsylvania offers alcohol treatment that’s safe and effective and also includes a variety of therapy programs. Call us now at 570-536-9621 to learn more about our other drug and alcohol rehab programs in Pennsylvania.