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Developing Healthy Coping Mechanisms

by General Marketing

Those who develop substance use disorder have often dealt with traumas they weren’t equipped to handle at the time. Many use drugs and alcohol to try and regulate their emotions or untreated symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues like anxiety and depression. It’s also not uncommon for those with opioid use disorder to lose resiliency throughout their addiction, making them less able to manage potentially harmful and stressful situations, sometimes causing them to experience more traumatic events.

In addiction recovery, there’s a strong focus on substance use counseling, where patients work with professionals to help pinpoint unresolved trauma and possible untreated mental illness. This aspect of recovery work, when combined with medication-assisted treatment, has been shown to increase the chances of long-lasting recovery.

Along the recovery journey, people will learn to cope with life’s stressors without resorting to substances to find an escape; and by improving coping mechanisms, lasting sobriety is better safeguarded, and mental health tends to improve with the help of skill work and adapting to life on their terms.

Most Important Coping Skills

These areas are the most critical to focus on in recovery:

  • Stress management
  • Problem-solving
  • Time management
  • Decision-making
  • Lifestyle choices

People who hone in on these aspects of life in recovery are more likely to develop heightened resiliency that overrides feelings of hopelessness and helplessness—two emotions that can be overwhelming when starting over. When resiliency improves, people can more easily carry out realistic plans, have a positive self-image and confidence in their abilities, communicate with others, and regulate their emotions.

Although these skills can’t be built in a single day, focusing on simple strategies that can be practiced consistently can make all the difference.

  1. Establish connections: Recovery is the time to repair relationships with loved ones and build a new support network with local organizations and like-minded peers.
  2. Avoid catastrophizing: Seeing every problem as impossible is an avoidance tactic that prevents personal growth. Approaching problems logically by looking into the future where a solution exists can make a crisis seem easier to tackle.
  3. Strive towards goals: Creating goals and breaking them down into achievable steps, whether big or small, is an actionable way to build resiliency daily.
  4. Accept change: Life post-substance misuse is a new chapter, and changes are inevitable. Being open to change and flexible with personal goals allows attention to focus on the most vital things.
  5. Engage in self-discovery: Difficult life circumstances are an opportunity to re-frame one’s ability to survive and overcome rather than be seen as a victim whose autonomy was robbed by addiction.
  6. Develop decisiveness: Second guessing and unsureness can cause needless anxiety. Making decisions in a timely matter can ward off lingering problems that would otherwise worsen over time if left unattended.
  7. Keep things in perspective: Broader, long-term thinking can make sudden stressful situations seem smaller almost instantly.
  8. Maintain a positive outlook: Ruminating over fears constantly is discouraging and inhibits progress. A can-do attitude is a much better approach, even after a tough day.
  9. Nurture self-confidence: Learning to trust one’s own instincts is a learning process, but that muscle must be exercised constantly to build strong self-confidence.
  10. Attend to personal needs: Self-care is often discussed, but its importance should not be understated. Regularly participating in feel-good activities helps stabilize mood and make challenges seem less severe.

HCRC provides medication-assisted treatment for those with substance use disorder in a professional setting with specialized staff who understand that addiction is a chronic illness that can be managed. Many HCRC patients go on to live fulfilling lives free of drugs and the perils of addiction, and the next success story is currently in the making after messaging or calling the nearest office today.

Medically Reviewed By:

Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

Health Care Resource Centers Clinical Team

The Clinical Team at Health Care Resource Centers is our team of physicians and medical directors within the organization. HCRC is a CARF accredited organization and has been providing addiction treatment services for over 32 years in the New England area.

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