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How to Learn Coping Skills for Drug Addiction

Recovery is a process.

Or, recovery is a journey, not a destination.

You may have come across lines like these when looking into rehab options for yourself or a loved one. Perhaps you even scoffed at them, feeling like you were reading trite cliches or platitudes.

Thing is though, recovery is a journey. Why? Well, let’s look to a definition of drug addiction from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to add some color here:

“Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences. It is considered a brain disorder because it involves functional changes to brain circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control. Those changes may last a long time after a person has stopped taking drugs”

Because addiction is thought of as a brain disorder and not as a purely physical concept, it’s something you constantly work on and nurture. Moreover, if you stop working on it, a relapse is possible at any point.

Learning coping skills for drug addiction, therefore, becomes imperative to staying on the path of sobriety.

Signs & Symptoms of Drug Addiction

Addiction to drugs manifests itself in several ways that tend to compound the longer a substance use disorder lasts.

  • Intense cravings
  • Trying to quit but unable to
  • Developing a tolerance and thus having to take larger and larger doses
  • Shifting friend groups
  • Secretive behavior
  • Financial issues related to purchasing drugs
  • Legal issues, i.e., theft, from getting the money to buy drugs
  • Work, school and home life are all suffering
  • Engaging in riskier behaviors like driving under the influence
  • Spending a lot of time either getting, using or recovering from drugs
  • Using despite very obvious negative effects 
  • Having withdrawal symptoms whenever the flow of drugs stops
  • Changes in appetite and associated weight loss or gain
  • Shift in sleep patterns, either too much or too little
  • Lack of attention to hygiene and general neglect of appearance
  • Lethargic and no motivation
  • Relationships with family and friends become fraught
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Paranoia and anxiety

These are just some of the signs you may encounter and if you see any of them, it’s important to take note and monitor. Ignoring symptoms only makes things worse and harder in the future.

How to Learn Coping Skills for Drug Addiction

Coping skills are what help you stay the course, they’re the little “tricks” that help overcome those cravings and inevitable tough times on the journey of sobriety.

Among the best places to learn these new skills is in treatment for addiction.

In rehab, you’re in a place where all your attention is focused squarely on healing and developing the tools necessary to cope with triggers back in the real world.

As the physical addiction to drugs dissipates after detox, working on the mental side is what rehab programs are all about. You’ll work with professional addiction specialists in both individual and group settings to dig deeper into the root causes of addiction.

This is also the time you’ll be introduced to a host of coping skills ranging from practicing mindfulness, breathing exercises as well as general exercise, journaling, the importance of keeping busy, building a support system, 12-step programs and more.

What to Do After Rehab

As mentioned at the top, the journey of recovery doesn’t end when your time in rehab does, it’s something you actively work on but shouldn’t feel like work. Your post-addiction life is meant to be more fulfilling and enjoyable than the days of addiction and developing a routine that you love is crucial to that.

That’s where aftercare planning and sober living come into play, these are important parts of cementing a sober life. Sober living homes are particularly beneficial because you live in a supportive setting with a community that’s going through the same thing and building bonds with them. It also allows you to transition slowly back into your day-to-day life in a way that doesn’t feel overwhelming.

To learn more about the coping skills you’ll develop or what sober living is like, reach out to us at Inneractions today.

Dual-Diagnosis Treatment

Often, substance abuse issues have an underlying, root cause. Our program treats co-occurring disorders to ensure long-term recovery.

Learn more about our dual diagnosis treatment and how we can help you or your loved one.