Nothing in life is as constant as change. And when life shifts to take you down a different road, you can feel overwhelmed. For some people, the only recourse is to turn to drugs or alcohol. One way of avoiding this pitfall: Develop coping skills.
Coping skills aren’t foolproof but can help you reframe your reaction to a situation from negative to positive. And coping skills are not just about thinking through a problem, either. Good coping skills may include hobbies such as knitting or painting, or recreational activities such as running or biking.
Whether it’s to avoid substance abuse or just to live a stable, happy life, work on building, and practicing good coping skills.
Examples of Coping Skills
Coping skills can be both emotional and physical. Emotional coping skills involve finding ways to reframe your reaction to a situation. Physical coping skills require some activity such as hiking. A few more detailed examples include:
- Keep yourself busy with hobbies or activities to keep your focus off drugs or alcohol.
- Exercise. The endorphins released from running, biking or weight lifting can improve your self-image on their own.
- Keep a journal. It helps to see your thoughts on paper.
- Join a support group. Having peers to talk to is a great way to cope with what’s bottled up inside.
- Eat and sleep well. When we fail to take care of ourselves, the world seems much more out of control.
The important point to remember is coping skills take practice. Don’t wait for times of trouble times. Find what works for you and put these skills to work.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse
Coping skills are important because there is a statistical correlation between mental disorders and substance abuse. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that 20 percent of U.S. adults with a mental illness also struggle with substance abuse in its many forms.
When mental illness and substance abuse both exist, doctors call it a “co-occurring disorder” and also a “dual-diagnosis” condition. This is a separate category of disorder because of the nature of treatment it requires – integrated and sequential, rather than separate.
Coping skills are important and will continue to be important as you work to free yourself of the pain of substance abuse and mental illness.
Negative Coping Skills
Coping skills can also be negative – unhealthy was of trying to get through the day. It’s good to recognize what those are. Using drugs or alcohol is an example of negative coping skills. Others to avoid include:
- Withdrawing from friends and family and living in isolation
- Eating too much, or playing video games all the time
- Compulsive behavior, such as gambling
- Risky behavior such as unsafe sex or high-speed driving
Bu building good coping skills and recognizing and eliminating the bad ones, and you will be on a strong footing for life.
Coping to Control Substance Abuse
Positive emotional health is heavily dependent on developing good coping skills. When things happen in our lives — either traumatic events or day to day ones — you can only control your own reaction. That means working hard not to overreact in a way that causes problems for your health or anyone in your life. Without good coping skills, our reactions can lead us down the wrong roads — such as to substance abuse. That’s where we can help.
The experienced team at Georgia Addiction Treatment Center focuses on your overall well-being — not just patterns of your substance abuse, but your emotional health as well. We provide caring, compassionate treatment in a comfortable location. The Georgia Addiction Treatment Center staff provides:
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
- Outpatient treatment program
- Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
Our work has led to many success stories. Contact a counselor at 833.641.0661 for a confidential consultation to get started.