Dealing With Unhealthy Coping Skills & Addiction in PA
Many people who never suffered from substance use disorder have difficulty understanding that addiction is a lifelong disease. While it is possible to overcome your cravings, resist temptation and live a sober life, addiction is impossible to cure. For this reason, individuals who complete rehab are called recovering addicts. However, with the proper treatment, recovery and life-long sobriety are possible. At the Little Creek Rehab Center, we can teach you about dealing with unhealthy coping skills & addiction in PA. During our treatment, we teach patients healthy coping mechanisms and equip them with the skills they need to remain drug-free. With our help, you can achieve and maintain long-term sobriety.
The Differences Between Healthy and Unhealthy Coping Skills & Addiction
The human mind is incredible in its ability to deal with almost unimaginable levels of stress and trauma. Unfortunately, some of the ways we deal with the negativity in our lives aren’t healthy. Whether physical or mental, trauma often causes lasting negative emotions. Coping mechanisms represent a set of conscious strategies we use to combat and reduce negative emotions. From an early age, we will look to our parents and peers and learn from their social cues. Regardless if we want to, we will start developing coping mechanisms based on what we see in our surroundings.
Although modern psychology has identified and named hundreds of coping skills, we still lack strict classification. There is even derision regarding the name, with some psychologists calling them skills, mechanisms, or strategies. Therefore, we discuss broad categories when we speak about healthy and unhealthy coping skills. Healthy coping skills typically focus on dealing with a problem and reducing stress. On the other hand, unhealthy coping skills, which might work in the short term, often have unintended negative consequences. For this reason, you might sometimes hear them called maladaptive coping skills.
Types of Healthy and Unhealthy Coping Skills
Healthy, adaptive coping skills include:
Problem-solving skills. Identifying a problem and wanting to tackle it head-on is one of the most pragmatic ways to deal with stressors. Admitting that a problem exists is also one of the necessary rehabilitation steps in the 12-step program.
Physical activity. Exercise is one of the best natural forms of stress relief. Physical activity is essential for rehabilitation since it helps restore natural brain chemistry. Exercise and recreational therapy in PA can also be a great way to build confidence and self-esteem. As part of our recreational therapy, we also include group activities and team sports to help patients develop social skills.
Relaxation. We teach our patients many relaxing activities that don’t include substance use. This skill set can be an excellent alternative for recovering addicts who must deal with stress. We offer our patients yoga for addiction recovery in Pennsylvania as a healthy way to learn to relax. Yoga can help you restore the connection between body and mind. Sitting in silence and letting your thoughts flow is a great way to stabilize your emotions.
Looking for help and support. Most individuals, and especially those suffering from addiction, must realize they don’t have to solve all of their problems alone. Although self-sufficiency is essential for achieving and maintaining sobriety, combating addiction is impossible without professional help. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. On the contrary – it is the necessary first step on your journey to recovery.
Maladaptive, negative, or unhealthy coping skills include:
Avoidance/escape. Escapism is a common coping mechanism for running from your problems instead of solving them. Individuals often turn to self-isolation, which makes escaping the cycle of negative thoughts and emotions extremely difficult. Escapism also typically involves something to escape into. While not all forms of escapism are unhealthy by default, for addicts, this often involves substance use. Healthy escapism could include learning a new skill or turning to sports or art.
Dissociation. Often associated with PTSD, dissociation is the ability of the brain to separate thoughts, emotions, and memories. It usually takes the form of emotional detachment from an individual’s surroundings and experiences.
Procrastination. Instead of seeking the solution to a problem, individuals will often seek a temporary distraction. Procrastination offers a temporary escape from stress; however, it doesn’t solve the problem. Unfortunately, in the long run, procrastination often leads to problems piling up, which makes them seem insurmountable.
Numbing. This form of self-soothing behavior is common with addicts. Numbing involves finding a way to drown out the stress by overwhelming the senses. Individuals can achieve this effect by consuming excessive quantities of junk food, alcohol, or drugs.
Compulsive acting. Too much stress can cause individuals to lash out, take risks, or behave in an almost automated manner. Unfortunately, individuals often have trouble stopping compulsive behavior, which can lead to excessive consumption and addiction.
Self-harm. Similar to numbing, individuals will sometimes turn to harmful or self-destructive behavior to deal with overwhelming stress. Individuals with substance use disorder may purposefully consume dangerous quantities of drugs leading to an overdose.
The Problem With Unhealthy Coping Skills & Addiction
As you can see, most unhealthy coping skills can push individuals towards substance use and addiction. Some of these mechanisms are learned or emulated from what individuals see in their surroundings. For example, children that grew up in households where substance use was present will often perceive that as a way to cope with stress. Not all of these behaviors are purposeful, and some may even stem from an inability to recognize other solutions. However, there is a way out; as long as you want to get better, there is always hope.
You must realize that dealing with unhealthy coping skills & addiction isn’t always intuitive. To illustrate our point, look at the above list of healthy and unhealthy coping skills. Which do you think requires more education, training, and effort? Therefore, it’s perfectly understandable why people frequently turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms. This problem is particularly prevalent when individuals feel there is no way out of their present circumstances. It is even more pronounced when the individual in question has a history of substance use.
Individuals must be taught ways of dealing with unhealthy coping skills & addiction in PA. At Little Creek Lodge in Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania, we realize the effort it takes to learn new skills. To that end, we provide patients with a continuum of care and guide them towards personal growth and development. It’s thrilling to see our patients learn new skills and become self-sufficient. We take great pride in being part of patients’ journey towards sobriety.
The Benefits of Therapy
The goal of rehab is to help patients physically overcome addiction and teach them coping skills. The skills patients learn in rehab are necessary to deal with stressful triggers and avoid relapse. However, for patients to learn these skills, they must commit themselves to treatment and distance themselves from old, unhealthy habits.
At the Little Creek Recovery Center in Pennsylvania, we provide a clinical treatment program in PA for adult males. The clinical program, comprising 3 stages of care, provides our clients with a comprehensive approach overseen by trained professionals. Residential stay in our facility typically lasts between 30 and 90 days. Our clinical program’s second stage of care is growth and personal development. Patients will learn how to cope with real-life situations by asking for help and taking on responsibility.
We also offer patients several forms of outpatient rehab Pennsylvania where they are not required to stay at Little Creek Lodge. Individuals participating in outpatient treatment programs are still required to attend group and individual therapy sessions. Group sessions are essential for learning healthy coping skills since patients can learn from the experience of others. You will get to hear how others have been dealing with unhealthy coping skills & addiction in PA. Individuals suffering from substance use disorder often don’t realize how self-destructive their behavior can be. Hearing other patients describe certain coping skills as unhealthy can be a real eye opener.
How to Deal With Unhealthy Coping Skills & Addiction in PA
One of the biggest problems with unhealthy coping skills is that they reinforce negative behavior. Fortunately, we can address that negative behavior and replace it with more constructive forms of dealing with stress. CBT treatment plan for substance abuse teaches patients to recognize negative thoughts which can form on an automatic level. Once patients start to think more realistically, they can assess addiction triggers. CBT therapists can teach patients to deal with painful emotions productively.
Individuals who undergo cognitive behavioral therapy will also learn about CBT skill training. These skills represent positive strategies patients can use to regulate stress and respond to addiction triggers. By practicing CBT skills, patients will learn to overcome difficult situations without turning to substance use.
Another essential form of treatment is DBT treatment for addiction. DBT skill training is often practiced in a group setting so that individuals can gain self-awareness. Therapists conducting DBT training will teach healthy coping skills that you can use to deal with negative thoughts. Instead of acting on those negative impulses, patients will learn to recognize and accept those thoughts. Patients can use DBT skills to manage cravings for alcohol and drugs, which lets them function as sober members of society.
Developing Healthy Coping Skills
Although working with therapists is a fundamental part of developing healthy coping skills, we also strive to make recovery fun. Self-soothing behavior as a reaction to stress doesn’t necessarily need to be negative. Individuals can avoid substance use by choosing healthy alternatives. When we previously mentioned adaptive coping skills, we discussed the importance of relaxation and physical exercise.
Many of our patients find music therapy for substance abuse to be incredibly relaxing. You must have a relaxed state of mind to create art. However, some people will need to learn how to relax and lose themselves in art. With enough practice creating art can become a rote activity. You can turn art into a healthy routine that you use to relax. Simply picking up an instrument and playing the first few notes of your favorite song can help you relax. Moreover, music has an additional benefit since you can also use it to bond with others. Playing together in a band and spending quality time with other patients is great for developing social skills.
When it comes to physical exercise, we incentivize patients to join our outdoor adventure program. Learning new skills doesn’t only have to be an intellectual or artistic pursuit. Building muscle and learning a new sport can be equally rewarding, and exercise represents a great coping mechanism. Engaging your body will also engage your mind and help you deal with stress.
Real life will present daily obstacles for recovering addicts. We previously mentioned avoidance as a maladaptive coping skill in the context of abusing substances instead of dealing with problems. On the other hand, avoidance can be beneficial if patients learn to stay clear of stressors. Knowing your triggers and how to avoid them is essential to maintaining sobriety.
Recovering addicts will need to avoid the substance they were addicted to. Of course, some substances, such as alcohol, are legal and widespread. Alcohol addiction treatment can teach patients what to do in the presence of alcohol and how to control their cravings.
Other substances, like marijuana, which is becoming legal in more states, also require addiction treatment. Just because a substance has been deemed legal doesn’t mean you cannot develop an addiction. For some recovering addicts, even the smell of other people using marijuana is enough to cause a negative trigger reaction.
It may be hard to entirely avoid being in the presence of marijuana and alcohol due to their legality. Another complication is that indulging in those substances is socially acceptable in some circles. For this reason, patients must undergo behavioral skill training to develop healthy coping skills. Unfortunately, cravings might represent a larger problem for patients with an addiction to harder drugs, such as cocaine. However, patients can undergo cocaine addiction treatment to learn about dealing with unhealthy coping skills & addiction in PA. You must realize that overcoming an addiction to hard drugs is impossible without entering rehab. The withdrawal symptoms and cravings are so strong that without professional help, most individuals return to substance use.
How to Attend Little Creek Rehab
If you like our approach to dealing with unhealthy coping skills & addiction in PA and want to learn healthy ways of dealing with stress, you can contact our admissions team. Remember that Little Creek offers men-only inpatient treatment, but women can participate in our outpatient therapy programs.
Our friendly and welcoming staff will answer all your questions during the admissions process. We can help you determine what kind of treatment best suits your needs and your type of addiction. You can also use health insurance to cover your rehab. Our staff can verify your insurance and help you make the necessary preparations.
Through behavioral skills training and other forms of therapy, we teach our patients about dealing with unhealthy coping skills & addiction in PA. Instead of turning to drugs or alcohol when you are feeling stressed, you can rely on healthy coping skills. We can help you develop healthy habits and a routine that lets you enjoy a sober lifestyle. In times of stress, you can always fall back on the skills you’ve learned in therapy. All you need to do is to contact us and ask for help. A healthy and sober life awaits.