In Laugh and Cry Your Way to Recovery from Addiction Part I, we discussed the physiological and emotional significance of crying, and what this means for people in recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism. We also discussed the relevance of crying and its close relationship to laughter. In this final part of the series we’ll examine how laughter is one of the best treatments possible and should be encouraged because it helps us see things in a less painful light, and it helps to ease the burden of pent-up emotions.
The Emotional Implications of Laughing
Despite the fact that most people think of laughing and crying as two completely different human behaviors, they are actually extremely similar. Laughter occurs as an emotional response, although most people never truly analyze why they laugh. Like crying, laughing can occur as a result of both good things and bad things. People laugh when they hear jokes, but usually at the root of those jokes is the suffering or embarrassment of another person. Therefore, laughter is regarded as a means of coping with that emotional trigger or stress.
However, we also laugh or smile as a result of positive things like a young couple getting married or a cat lounging exquisitely in the sun. And as most people can probably attest, it’s often this type of happy laughter that can quickly turn to crying – “tears of joy,” as the old saying goes.
Therese Borchard, Associate Editor for PsychCentral, wrote about the Healing Power of Laughter in a post on the company blog:
“Laughter and humor, then, forge that space between stimulus and response, or between a thought and a feeling, between an event and an emotion. And in that pause is the freedom to adjust our perspective and our interpretation of our situation. It seems small. But it’s rather substantial.” (2)
However, laughter doesn’t always come naturally, and in the case of recovering addicts struggling as a result of problems with the production of serotonin and dopamine, emotions in general may be difficult to “feel.” This state of numbness must be treated with therapy, fellowship, the cultivation of interpersonal relationships, and medication when needed.
Learning to laugh again may sound like a cliché, but the fact of the matter is that many addicts have to relearn this life-supporting human function after they get clean. For some, it may come back after a few weeks, while for others it may take months – depending on the individual’s response to Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome.
Laughing and crying are both important functions that can make a significant difference in the quality of a daily recovery program. But if someone you love is still struggling with addiction right now, taking immediate action may help mitigate and potential long-term emotional effects. Call the number at the top of your screen for a free, confidential consultation with an expert from our Florida drug rehab center – widely considered one of the most successful in the country. We can get you the help you need, but we can’t do anything if you don’t call.
(2) Borchard, Therese The Healing Power of Laughter World of Pyschology Blog