Stress can play a major role in substance use disorders. For many people struggling with addiction, self-medicating to deal with stress is a coping mechanism, albeit negative. The cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions we offer at Olympic Behavioral Health can help people struggling with substance use disorders find healthy coping mechanisms to replace dependence on narcotics and other substances.
If you have a substance use disorder that functions as a coping mechanism, our addiction treatment programs can help. With the right support, individuals can avoid or overcome unhealthy self-medicating while learning new ways to deal with stress or other issues. Call us at 844.983.3916 to learn more.
Self-Medicating: What Is a Coping Mechanism?
A coping mechanism is a strategy you use to deal with stressors in your life, whether consciously or unconsciously. Unhealthy coping mechanisms like self-medicating feel instantaneously good but do not offer long-term results. They can even have long-term negative impacts on your life. Some negative coping mechanisms include:
- Social withdrawal
On the other hand, healthy coping mechanisms might not provide instant gratification, but they can lead to positively resolving the cause of the stress. Positive coping mechanisms include talk therapy, exercise, and problem-solving techniques.
Positive coping mechanisms are life-enhancing ways of dealing with stress. They help reduce stress while offering a sense of balance that allows you to maintain control over how you feel and deal with the stressor. These mechanisms do not ignore your negative emotions but encourage you to analyze them and find ways of resolving them.
Emotion-Based Coping Mechanisms
This type of positive coping mechanism focuses on reducing how you react to the stressors in your life instead of trying to remove the stressor itself. By controlling how you react to the stress, you have a better chance of processing the emotions you feel before tackling the problem.
Emotion-based coping mechanisms include talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and art therapy.
Problem-Based Coping Mechanisms
Problem-based coping mechanisms focus on dealing with the stressor by directly facing it. Using this direct approach to stress can offer a sense of empowerment, letting you feel in control even if the entire situation is not in your control.
Although this coping mechanism does not require a facilitator, therapy can help you find the right problem-solving strategies if you don’t know how to find them on your own.
Researching the problem can be a good place to start. It can structure the issue and provide information that can prevent negative surprises from cropping up later on. Having relevant information on your stressor can make it easier to resolve.
Creating a structured to-do list can also help. It can free you from carrying the entire weight of the problem you face, offering empowerment and letting you feel you have some control over the situation.
Combining Emotion-Based and Problem-Based Coping Mechanisms
Using both types of coping mechanisms can dramatically improve how you deal with stress. You can tackle the emotions you feel right when the stressor triggers them, giving you space to work out a structured way of managing the problem.
Learn Positive Coping Mechanisms at Olympic Behavioral Health
Knowing how to handle stressors in your life is a vital part of recovering from a substance use disorder and avoiding relapses. At Olympic Behavioral Health, we offer therapy sessions, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, to help you identify, assess, and address stressors. This can help you avoid self-medicating to deal with stress.
By helping you recognize how your negative thoughts impact your actions, we can guide you to start building healthier patterns of behavior that can make addressing substance use disorders and managing stress in your life easier. Contact Olympic Behavioral Health today by calling 844.983.3916.