Author: James Anderson

Developing Effective Coping Skills for Substance Abuse Recovery

coping skills for substance abuse

The single most popular path is the use of peer support groups in the community. There are plenty of unhealthy coping skills you can practice while recovering from addiction, but these won’t get you anywhere. Below are 10 ways you can practice healthy coping skills in recovery. Relapse triggers can be environmental, emotional, or social factors that increase the risk of substance use. Identifying these triggers and developing strategies to avoid or cope with them is essential.

Without adequate coping skills, the risk of relapse increases significantly. The development of coping skills also contributes to improved mental health, better relationships, and overall higher quality of life. That is because the brain is plastic and changes in response to experience—the capacity that underlies all learning. In one set of studies looking at some measures of dopamine system function, activity returned to normal levels after 14 months of abstinence. Over time, reward circuits regain sensitivity to respond to normal pleasures and to motivate pursuit of everyday activities.

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As your counselors and treatment center staff have told you, there is a chance of relapse, which is a return to drug and alcohol use. Fortunately, using healthy coping skills can help you on your journey to recovery. We’ll discover triggers and how you can handle them using said healthy coping skills. Don’t hesitate to build a healthy, supportive, and sober network of people. A strong network of friends can help you stay on track and will be there to catch you when you fall. Take advantage of the social skills you learn in addiction treatment and be open to new relationships that will support your recovery journey.

  1. Recovering from addiction can be a worrisome and stressful process, but mindfulness and meditation can help you manage and balance such agonizing and distressing moments.
  2. People in the throes of addiction are not capable of the best form of friendship.
  3. Addiction and substance use disorder affects over 17% of the American population.

No matter which pathway of recovery a person chooses, a common process of change underlies them all. The well-researched science of behavior change establishes that addictive behavior change, like any behavior change, is a process that starts long before there’s any visible shift in activity. The endpoint is voluntary control over use and reintegration into the roles and responsibilities of society. Shortly after substance use is stopped, people may experience withdrawal, the onset of unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms —from irritability to shakiness to nausea; delirium and seizures in severe cases.

Importance of Coping Skills in Recovery

Relapse is more common than you think; most people in recovery return to drug and alcohol use within one year of completing treatment. When faced with cravings, try using distraction techniques, engaging in physical activities, or reaching out to your support network for guidance and encouragement. Developing problem-solving skills can help you address challenges and obstacles in a more constructive way. This involves breaking problems down into manageable steps, brainstorming solutions, and evaluating outcomes. Problem-solving skills can empower you to take control of your recovery journey.

coping skills for substance abuse

Meditation and mindfulness involve focusing on the present moment and accepting it without judgment. These practices can help manage cravings, reduce stress, improve mental clarity, and promote emotional stability. They can be practiced almost anywhere, making them versatile coping skills. There are companies large and small that have recovery-friendly hiring practices.

A great way to help another addict is to become a sponsor in a 12-step program yourself. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which help you feel good and stay happy. Physical activity also helps relieve stress, diminishes feelings of depression, and helps get rid of the chemicals and toxins your body has absorbed from drug and alcohol abuse. You should also make it a habit to treat yourself to a nutritious satisfying meal after an invigorating workout.

Individuals with experience and expertise may find a route to full employment by first being willing to offer their skills pro bono or as a volunteer to businesses or nonprofit organizations in their field. People can learn to resist or outsmart the cravings until they become manageable. There are strategies of distraction and action people can learn to keep them from interrupting recovery.

Implementing Coping Skills in Addiction Recovery

Hence, when one stops using substances, one must find new, healthier ways to deal with these issues. Using drugs and misusing alcohol can cause you to act impulsively. In fact, the longer you use substances for recreational purposes, the more reactive your behavior can become. Addiction challenges can cause you to lie, steal, burst out in anger, react aggressively, and act without thinking.

Regular physical activity can help manage stress, improve mood, boost self-confidence, and distract from cravings. The importance of coping skills in addiction recovery cannot be overstated. Substance abuse is often a misguided attempt to cope with life’s challenges, including stress, trauma, and mental health issues.

This can involve removing yourself from triggering situations, practicing self-care, or seeking professional help when needed. Developing supportive relationships can provide emotional support, practical assistance, and a sense of belonging — all of which are crucial in addiction recovery. This can involve participating in support groups, nurturing existing relationships, or developing new ones. At Genesis Recovery, we strive to help restore lives broken by addiction. Our treatment programs combine the 12-step process, clinical science, community, and spiritual and faith-based practices to reinvigorate your soul.

Use custom worksheets for the purpose of education and treatment. Here’s how overworking negatively impacts your life and how to break free of this “respectable” bad habit. Shift perspective to see relapse and other “failures” as opportunities to learn.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) avoids the terms addiction and recovery. Sustained remission is applied when, after 12 months or more, a substance is no longer used and no longer produces negative life consequences. The best way to handle a relapse is to take quick action to seek help, whether it’s intensifying support from family, friends, and peers or entering a treatment program. One advantage of mutual support groups is that there is likely someone to call on in such an emergency who has experienced a relapse and knows exactly how to help. In addition, immediately attending or resuming group meetings and discussing the relapse can yield much advice on how to continue recovery without succumbing to the counterproductive feeling of shame or self-pity.