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The Mental Health of Men and Addiction

It’s very common for men to act out their emotional problems through drinking or drug use. They may not know how to communicate their feelings. Men might not even know what they are feeling except for knowing they are uncomfortable. And it’s very common for men to express anger as a means to cover up for feeling sad, disappointed, or confused. Often, this anger, especially when there is no healthy way to express it, gets directed inward through substance use. This pattern is very common among males. This article will explore this pattern more deeply and provide some tips on how men might avoid substance use and tend to their emotional issues in healthier ways.

One of the most important healing steps a man can take is to learn what they are feeling and when. It’s often difficult for men to do this without any education on the subject because of the way that males are conditioned. They are often taught to avoid their feelings and to express feelings such as anger but not others. If men can more accurately identify their feelings, it may assist them with coping with those feelings in healthier ways.

Furthermore, research indicates that when a person – regardless of the gender – is able to identify their feelings, he or she will also be better prepared to cope not only with their feelings but also with stress. Experts have pointed out that the ability to cope with feelings is the same ability to cope with stress, and being able to do both will prevent turning to drugs, alcohol, and other unhealthy choices as a means to cope with life.

When a person chooses to direct their anger inward and/or harm themselves through substance use, it can lead to depression and other forms of mental illness. Of course, consistent substance use can also lead to addiction. Instead, it’s best to learn how to identify certain emotions as well as very specific healthy responses to those feelings. For instance, when a man is feeling sad, he might write it down, especially if he feels uncomfortable about sharing his feelings with anyone. When a man feels angry, he might spend some time at the gym or go out with someone who he trusts and who understands him.

In fact, because anger is such a common problem for men, it might also be a good idea to participate in an anger management class. In these classes men might learn how to:

  • Develop effective skills to cope or manage anger
  • Develop control over angry responses
  • Increase frustration tolerance so that less significant events do not trigger anger
  • Improve problem-solving strategies
  • Replace aggressive behavior with assertive behavior

As already mentioned, it’s very easy for men to turn to substance use as a way to mask or avoid their feelings. Because this can lead to dangerous situations such as addiction, DUI, and/or car accidents, it would be a good idea for men to learn how to build a relationship with their feelings so that it doesn’t get the best of them. They can do this by learning to identify them as well as learning healthy ways to respond to them.

Many men might need assistance in this process. If this is the case for you or someone you know, and to avoid the dangers of substance use, contact a mental health provider today.

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