How to Deal With Treatment Fatigue

An image of a fatigued woman pinching the bridge of her nose, representing the challenges of treatment fatigue in rehabilitative and therapeutic settings, including drug and alcohol rehabs and reentry programs.

You may not be familiar with the term treatment fatigue, or the effects it can have on your reentry success. The reentry treatment process can feel like a full-time job in the early stages of your transition, leaving you feeling emotionally and physically drained.There are programs available to help you with the high cost of medication. These programs are usually run by state governments or pharmaceutical companies. Read on to learn how to save on your medications.

Whether you attend reentry programming weekly or daily, talking with therapists and case managers, fulfilling your release requirements, and keeping yourself on the right track become part of your everyday life.

With all this pressure, you may find yourself starting to feel resentful, agitated, or even hopeless. When this happens, you have three options—give up, remain stuck, or power through this uncomfortable period. Luckily, there are signs and symptoms to look out for and ways to overcome treatment fatigue.

What is Treatment Fatigue?

Treatment fatigue may occur in rehabilitative and therapeutic settings such as drug and alcohol rehabs and reentry programs. It often refers to the “hitting a wall” stage when individuals feel they are no longer progressing in treatment. When you hit a wall, you may doubt your progress and feel like all your efforts are a waste of time. Becoming complacent or “resting on your laurels” is the gateway to relapse and old criminal thinking and behavior.

Treatment fatigue is similar to when you start working out after a long hiatus from the gym. You notice a big difference in your body and mind in the beginning stages. This is because the body is experiencing something new and reacts accordingly, but then it hits a plateau after a while. Your workout has not changed, but your body needs a different routine to continue seeing positive results.

Understand the Signs & Symptoms

Treatment fatigue can affect your mental, physical, and behavioral well-being. If you choose to remain at this plateau state of treatment, you may start to experience the following:

Mental Effects

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Anger and irritability
  • Difficulty processing and/or managing emotions
  • Feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and resentful
  • Difficulty concentrating and memory issues

Physical Effects

  • Little to no energy and feeling exhausted
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Sleep issues
  • General unwellness
  • Body aches and headaches
  • Digestion and heart issues

Behavioral Effects

  • Loss of motivation and apathy toward work, treatment, and other activities
  • Substance use
  • Isolation and distrust of others
  • Loss of enthusiasm for life and negative outlook on the future
  • Isolation and doubt in others
  • Low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy

How Can You Deal With The Symptoms?

Overcoming treatment fatigue is no small task. The first step is to identify the specific cause of fatigue. The second step is to set goals to overcome it. Some of the most effective solutions include:

Engage in self-reflection: Reflecting on past experiences enables you to assess the consequences of your behavior, recognize the negative impact on yourself and others, and determine the changes you need to make for a better life.

Use effective stress management techniques: Find hobbies and activities you like, and try to incorporate them into your schedule. Simple breathing exercises can help regulate your emotions and strengthen your resilience to stress.

Set SMART goals: Remember, it’s important to set goals that you feel confident you can achieve.

Exercise: Moderate exercise can lift your mood, alleviate stress and burnout, and help you relax overall.

Prioritize your health: Sleep helps the body recharge, so aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night.

Eat foods that give you energy: Food provides the body and mind with the energy, nutrients, and minerals it needs to operate optimally. Proper nutrition makes a huge impact on your mind and body.

Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is the practice of purposely bringing one’s attention to the present-moment experience versus living in the past.

Talk to your support system: Expressing your feelings may be challenging, especially if you have been in an environment where emotions are frowned upon. Get emotional support from friends, family members, and mentors to help alleviate your burdens, to focus on the present and the positive, and as a source of encouragement.

Published On: May 31st, 2023|Categories: Mental Health & Wellness Resources|

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