Coping Skills for Addiction in Maryland

Recovery is a challenging and ongoing process that can feel overwhelming and lonely. However, there are coping skills for addiction that can make the journey more positive and rewarding. Even though starting over, changing habits, and restructuring your life is difficult. At The Freedom Center in Gaithersburg, Maryland, we believe in helping individuals develop healthy coping skills to make recovery less challenging and decrease the risk of relapse.

What Are Coping Skills?

Coping skills are actions or traits that improve your ability to adjust and cope with difficult situations. They help you manage your emotions, thoughts, and actions when you face stress. Coping skills are helpful in various scenarios, such as work challenges, academic pressure, or relationship issues. These skills can ease your frustration, help you deal with the situation, and take steps to overcome the problem. They also encourage adaptability, motivation, and openness to different solutions.
coping skills for addiction

Benefits of Healthy Coping Skills

Healthy coping skills for addiction refer to positive, constructive strategies used to manage stressful situations or emotions. Developing and practicing healthy coping skills can be particularly important for people struggling with addiction.

Some benefits of healthy coping skills for addiction include:

  • Reducing the risk of relapse
  • Improves mental health
  • Increasing self-awareness
  • Better stress management
  • Improves relationships
  • Increases motivation and confidence

Examples of Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

Unhealthy coping mechanisms for addiction refer to the harmful ways people manage stress or difficult emotions. The following are examples of unhealthy coping mechanisms for addiction.

Substance Abuse

When people face difficult emotions, stressful situations, trauma, or external pressures, they may turn to alcohol or substance use to cope. However, this can lead to a slippery slope if they cannot regulate their emotions properly. While taking stimulants depressants can temporarily relieve negative thoughts or feelings, excessive use can lead to serious health complications, addiction, overdose, and even death.

Avoidance Behaviors

Instead of facing their problems, many people tend to avoid or ignore them. This type of avoidance behavior can be used to distract oneself from difficult emotions, thoughts, or situations. For example, people may avoid relationships, job opportunities, social situations, career advancement, or family gatherings. Unhealthy coping skills for addiction can also involve avoiding anything that isn’t positive. People with healthy coping skills can adapt to and accept life’s ups and downs, challenges and triumphs, and joys and pains all at once. They are better equipped to handle difficult situations and emotions rather than resort to avoidance behaviors.


Denial is an unhealthy way of coping that can be particularly harmful to individuals struggling with addiction. It involves denying or minimizing the existence or severity of a problem or issue. In addition, it often involves rationalizing or justifying substance use, downplaying negative consequences, or blaming external factors for the problem. Denial can be a big obstacle to addiction recovery because it prevents individuals from recognizing the need for help or seeking treatment. It can also make it difficult for loved ones or professionals to provide support. Additionally, denial can worsen the negative effects of addiction, such as health problems, relationship issues, financial struggles, and legal troubles. People in denial may have a hard time admitting that their substance use has become a problem or that they are no longer in control of their use. They may also feel ashamed or guilty, making them avoid conversations about their addiction.


Self-harm is an unhealthy coping mechanism that some people with addiction may use to deal with difficult emotions or situations. This involves intentionally hurting oneself, leading to physical harm, scarring, and long-term health problems. It may also make the addiction worse and affect emotional well-being. Self-harm can be a way to cope with negative emotions, gain control over one’s feelings, or distract oneself from emotional pain. However, it is dangerous and can worsen negative emotions and addiction.

Compulsive Behaviors

Compulsive behaviors are a harmful way some people with addiction try to cope with difficult emotions or situations. Examples of compulsive behaviors include overeating, overspending, hoarding, or gambling. Compulsive behaviors can become obsessive, where the person feels a strong urge to engage in the behavior, even if it harms their health or relationships. This can lead to addiction and other problems like obesity or financial difficulties.


Isolation is an unhealthy way for some people with addiction to cope with difficult emotions or situations. It can involve withdrawing from social situations or avoiding friends and family. By isolating themselves, people can avoid confronting their problems or seeking help. However, isolation can be dangerous and worsen addiction by increasing feelings of loneliness and hopelessness. It can also lead to depression and types of anxiety.

Examples of Healthy Coping Mechanisms

To achieve and maintain recovery, people must develop healthy coping skills. While there are numerous healthy coping skills for addiction, the following are some of the most common.


Self-care is an essential aspect of maintaining physical and mental well-being. It involves taking actions to care for yourself, such as getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising regularly. In addiction recovery, self-care can help manage stress and prevent relapse. When people take care of themselves, they can better manage difficult emotions and triggers that may lead to substance abuse. Self-care practices may include:
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Engaging in hobbies or activities that bring joy

Yoga and Other Mind-Body Practices

Yoga, tai chi, and other mind-body practices can help to reduce stress, improve mood, and promote relaxation. These practices can also improve physical health, such as flexibility, strength, and balance. Some people in addiction recovery find these practices can help them connect with their bodies healthily and reduce cravings.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that can be helpful for people in addiction recovery. It focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors and replacing them with more positive ones. CBT can help individuals identify triggers for their addiction and develop coping strategies to deal with them.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

MAT is a treatment approach that combines medication with therapy and other forms of support. It can be beneficial for people with opioid addiction, as it can reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. MAT can also help individuals to stay in treatment and reduce the risk of relapse.

Peer Support Groups

Peer support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), can provide a sense of community and support for people in addiction recovery. These groups typically involve attending meetings and sharing experiences with others who are going through similar struggles. Peer support groups can also provide a sense of accountability and motivation to stay sober.

Exercise and Physical Activity

Exercise and physical activity can help to reduce stress, improve mood, and promote overall health and well-being. Exercise can also increase endorphins, chemicals in the brain that can help reduce pain and improve mood. Some people in addiction recovery find that exercise can be a healthy outlet for stress and help to reduce cravings.

Art Therapy

Art therapy is a form of therapy that involves using art as a way to express and process emotions. It can be beneficial for people who have difficulty verbalizing their feelings. Art therapy can also provide a sense of relaxation and promote a sense of well-being.

Journaling and Self-Reflection

Journaling and self-reflection can be helpful ways for people in addiction recovery to process their thoughts and emotions. Writing down thoughts and feelings can help individuals to become more self-aware and better understand themselves. It can also help people identify addiction triggers and develop coping strategies.

Mindful Breathing Exercises

Mindful breathing exercises can help individuals to reduce stress and improve focus. These exercises involve taking deep, slow breaths and focusing on the sensation of breathing. Mindful breathing can also help individuals to become more aware of their thoughts and emotions and develop a greater sense of calm and relaxation.

Hobbies and Leisure Activities

Engaging in hobbies and leisure activities can be a helpful way for individuals in addiction recovery to reduce stress and promote a sense of well-being. Hobbies can also provide a sense of accomplishment and purpose, which can be helpful for individuals who may have lost those feelings during their addiction. Examples of hobbies and leisure activities include gardening, cooking, reading, or playing sports.

How We Help You Develop Healthy Coping Skills

At The Freedom Center, we are dedicated to helping people struggling with addiction develop healthy coping skills to overcome their challenges and achieve long-term sobriety. To help you develop healthy coping skills, we offer a variety of treatment programs, therapies, and holistic treatments.

Treatment Programs

Our comprehensive treatment programs offer a range of evidence-based therapies and interventions to address addiction’s physical, emotional, and psychological aspects. Treatment programs we offer include:

Around-the-Clock Care

Our around-the-clock care ensures that you are supported throughout your recovery journey, with a team of experienced and compassionate professionals available to provide guidance and support whenever needed.


Our therapy programs are designed to help you understand the underlying causes of addiction, develop healthier coping mechanisms, and build the skills you need to manage cravings and triggers. We offer a variety of individual therapy and group therapy sessions, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and family therapy.

Support Groups

Support groups are also an essential part of our programs, providing a safe and supportive environment where you can connect with others who are going through similar experiences. These groups can help you build a sense of community and belonging, which is essential for maintaining sobriety.

Recreational Activities and Nutrition

We also offer a range of recreational activities and nutrition programs to help you improve your physical health and overall well-being. These activities can help you manage stress, improve your mood, and promote a sense of overall well-being.

Build Healthy Coping Skills at The Freedom Center

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, we can help. Unhealthy coping skills quickly become habits. At The Freedom Center, we help you say goodbye to those unhealthy habits and develop healthy coping skills. Contact us today to find out we can help you.

Break Free From Addiction

At our substance abuse treatment center in Maryland, we do our best to meet each individual where they’re at. Each person comes with a different mold - a different struggle. The best way we can help them is to offer them care that is unique to their own situation; there is no one-size-fits-all method to substance abuse treatment. This is why individualized care is so important to us. If you or a loved one are interested in finding out more, you can contact us here.
Call NowVerify Insurance
Skip to content