Using Aromatherapy and Scent Associations to Support Addiction Recovery
Healing from drug abuse and addiction is a huge challenge.
One big hurdle is that most of the people trying to support you are unlikely to truly understand what you’re going through.
They might think they do if they’ve heard many stories about addicts and recovery. They probably think that they have a good understanding of it. But the reality is if they haven’t gone through addiction and recovery and haven’t personally experienced the trials and tribulations then they have a subpar understanding of addiction at best.
Nothing can totally prepare you for recovery. You have to experience the strung out highs and dark lows of addiction to truly appreciate the climb back out from the shadows of dependence.
Even incredibly strong people trying to quit will find that they to can easily succumb to the patterns of abuse and fall back into their ways. Addiction is insidious and deceptive like this. It takes a deep understanding of the problem, your mind and a strong set of mental tools to break up destructive patterns.
Out of all of the tools available to help addicts change their ways, one has been gaining popularity…
Rubber Band Wrist Snap Technique
This is a technique for stopping addictive thoughts. It works by having the addict wear a rubber band on their wrist. Every time that an addictive thought pattern comes in (a temptation to use, a feeling of hopelessness, desire to give up) the individual snaps the rubber band on their wrist and says a phrase to themselves meant to disrupt the negative thought patterns – like “No!” or “Stop. Don’t go down that thought path”
Research has shown that adding the physical snapping of the rubber band does more to support thought redirection than simply trying to redirect a thought with a new one.
This is in part because the physical sensations add more stimuli and make the the redirection take on a more significant pivot point. It provides an effective added trigger to help them remember to do it.
Next, Relaxation Techniques are Applied After A Successful Redirection
After successfully stopping the negative thought patterns in their tracks and redirecting to new, more productive thoughts the individual is prompted to follow up with some relaxation techniques to help them maintain a calm and collected state after their slip up in thinking.
The recommended relaxation techniques will vary from person to person. Meditation, yoga, deep breathing and positive affirmations are most commonly utilized.
Of the are other ways to support relaxation, one has stood out recently in some circles – scent therapy.
Scent Therapy for Calming, Positive Associations
Alternative therapies like aromatherapy have become more popular in recent years. This therapy has been showing increased popularity in drug recovery especially.
Here is how aromatherapy can support the rubber band technique by using smell:
After a person in recovery has successfully labeled a negative thought pattern, snapped their rubber band and redirected their mind to positive thought patterning they will follow up with relaxation.
They will then take take deep inhalations of calming essential oils like lavender, bergamot, chamomile or sandalwood (to name a few).
These deep inhalations will both add a new sense experience that they can associate with their positive thought patterns as well as promote a sense of calm by inducing long, deep breaths. The essential oils themselves have relaxing qualities, too.
To further bolster the effectiveness of the essential oils the individual is encouraged to take deep inhalations from their essential oil bottle throughout the day, whenever they are experiencing positive emotions. This further solidifies the beneficial associations.