Patients who suffer from addiction are often overburdened and stressed beyond their limits from the normal problems of life. While we all face some degree of adversity, certain individuals have a harder time coping than others. With this in mind, APEX’s approach involves behavioral modification and additional integrative therapies to help patients learn how to deal with the everyday demands of life. We’ve found that by developing better coping mechanisms, patients are much more likely to break the chains of addiction and stay sober for the long haul.
Everyone develops coping mechanisms to deal with the challenges in life, no matter how big or small those challenges are or seem to be. There is a variety of coping mechanisms, and some of them are more functional than others. For example, talking it out with someone you trust is a more constructive way of releasing tension than being passive-aggressive.
Alcohol and substance abuse is a form of coping mechanism that people use to deal with life stressors and problems. A great number of addictions start as a way of de-stressing after a long day or after a big trauma or loss. In the inception of the problem, alcohol or drugs help people avoid unwanted feelings and sometimes maybe induce heightened pleasure. With time, alcohol and drugs are abused every time the person feels something they don’t want to be experiencing and that’s the beginning of addiction.
Why are coping skills necessary for a successful alcohol or drug recovery? It’s important to understand that recovery doesn’t mean not using. People recover when they live a life in which it is easier to live without using. That inevitably means developing skills to cope with the unwanted feelings that brought the person into addiction.
It is a common saying in Alcoholics Anonymous: Nothing changes if nothing changes. A recovering addict cannot live the life they did before rehab and hope for success. This is not to say one has to change their whole life to recover, but some behaviors must. The more the former addict sticks to their old ways, the less chance they have of staying sober.
At APEX Rehab, patients work closely with therapists to recognize the harmful patterns of thoughts and behaviors and develop constructive coping skills to deal with stressors. This is done through a variety of counseling and therapy techniques – cognitive behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, relapse prevention therapy, family therapy and so on.
Patients at APEX Rehab also work hard to prepare for the phase that comes after rehab. Together with the therapists they build plans and practice skills that will support them in avoiding relapse. First of all, they must identify high-risk situations and triggers for craving (people, places and things connected to their addiction). Then, they must work on the strategies for avoiding the situations and triggers and for enduring craving.
Finally, patients will also learn how to relax. If they learn healthy ways of relaxing and releasing tension, they will be less likely to turn to their old habits. This is where our programs such as meditation, yoga, fitness, outdoor recreation, massage, acupressure and experiential therapies (art and music) come into play.
Coping Skills Therapy