Negative Outlook on Past Can Increase Risk for Substance Abuse

Person pondering substance abuse risk

If you have a negative perspective of the past, you may be at a higher risk for substance abuse disorder. Individuals with a more positive outlook on their past are more likely to stay away from substances.

It’s important to address any negative feelings you have about your past as part of your recovery from substance abuse disorder. If you’re struggling to let go of the negativity, therapy can help you work through those feelings. Substance abuse treatment centers can help teach skills to be more present and avoid developing a dependence on substances to feel okay. If you are concerned about substance abuse risk factors in yourself or a loved one, reach out to our expert team here at Promises Recovery Ranch today at 1.844.876.7680

The Effect of Time Perspectives

There are five basic time perspectives:

  • Primary Past Positive: People with a primarily past-positive time orientation have a pleasant or nostalgic perspective on the past and use this perspective to support a generally mentally healthy present. 
  • Primary Past Negative: Individuals with a primarily past-negative orientation tend to ruminate about the past and use this perspective to judge themselves harshly, which can lead to mental health problems in the present. 
  • Present Hedonistic: People with a present-hedonistic time orientation have prominent impulsive tendencies that drive them to prioritize current pleasurable experiences over other factors. 
  • Present Fatalistic: People with a present-fatalistic time orientation feel locked into a largely unpleasant present and see no real chance of changing their circumstances. 
  • Future-Oriented: People with a future-oriented time perspective look forward to the future, make plans for their future goals, and take steps to realize those plans. 

The average person views life through a mix of all these perspectives. People with a primarily past-negative time orientation tend to focus on bad things that happened to them and thereby continue to be negatively impacted by their past experiences. 

Substance Abuse Risks

A negative outlook on your past can lead to long-term substance abuse risks. Focusing on the negative makes you more likely to develop anxiety and depression. This can lead to self-medicating with drugs or alcohol as a way to cope. Over time, this can lead to substance abuse disorder.

Forms of harm commonly associated with substance use include:

  • Physical harms, such as organ damage or overdose
  • Mental health harms, such as anxiety, depression, and psychosis
  • Social harms, such as lost productivity, job loss, and relationship problems
  • Financial harms, such as increased debt and decreased savings

Trauma and Substance Abuse Risks

Traumatic experiences lead to a negative outlook on the past, which increases the chances that an individual will take part in impulsive, pleasure-focused behavior in the present. This chain of events helps explain how trauma and substance abuse are undeniably linked.  Substance abuse treatment providers should be aware of this link and screen patients for trauma.


Find Help at Promises Recovery Ranch

Trauma can cause people to become stuck in the past, triggering a substance abuse disorder. With proper professional help and support, it is possible to work through the trauma and develop a more positive outlook on the past. Promises Recovery Ranch offers expert care for those struggling with substance abuse as well as mental health issues like PTSD. Our team of compassionate professionals will create a personalized treatment plan to help you heal from the inside out.

If you or a loved one is struggling with trauma and substance abuse, help is available. Promises Recovery Ranch offers comprehensive treatment for those struggling with addiction. Contact us today at 1.844.876.7680 for more information. 


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