Tag Archives: coping

Stress and Relapse

Ignored stress brings cravings, then relapse, says study.

Researchers supplied Palm Pilots to 55 college students who were in recovery from substance abuse ranging from alcohol to cocaine and club drugs. The students were asked to record the their daily cravings for alcohol and other drugs, as well as the intensity of negative social experiences — hostility, insensitivity, interference, and ridicule — and their general strategies for coping with stress…

Remember Past Coping


Crisis Coping from A to Z has its R:  “Remember Past Coping,” now up at PsychologyToday.com.

The key to getting through whatever you’re going through now may be revisiting a long-lost coping strategy: “I used to keep a journal.” “I used to jog.” “I used to take baths.”  “I used to eat better.”  Whatever it was that worked, you probably weren’t doing it just because someone told you to (except maybe at first). You did it because it worked.  Scan your past for answers about how best to cope today.

Take a Breath

From my blog on PsychologyToday.com – Crisis Knocks:

One of the simplest ways to begin coping in a crisis, or to just get through the stresses of an ordinary day, has been there all along: Breathe.  Dorothy could’ve gotten home long ago with the help of her ruby slippers; you may find that simply breathing, with focus and attention, helps more than you imagine…

“B is for Breathe” in an ongoing series, Crisis Coping from A to Z.

Building Your Support System

From my blog on PsychologyToday.com, Crisis Knocks.

Getting help from others is often the first, best step toward getting through a crisis.

But first, a quick introduction, this being my debut post. In addition to my private practice, I work at a 28-day crisis residential facility in California.  Clients generally come to the program direct from psychiatric hospitalization.  They tend to be homeless and dually diagnosed–that is, struggling with both chronic mental illness and substance abuse. They often own nothing but the clothes they come in with. Their crises are real and ongoing.

The program provides the basics: food and shelter. But also structure: A morning wake-up time, daily chores, meal preparation. We have an MD and nurse on staff. Clients get group and individual therapy. Case managers help with funding and housing. Everything you might need to begin to pull yourself out of crisis.

Which is what I plan to write about on “Crisis Knocks.” Whatever you’re going through right now–crisis or not–my hope is that these posts will be of help.

So, to begin, here’s a worksheet I use regularly with clients in group: My Support System–Today and In the Future. Take a look. The worksheet asks who you have on your team right now–who you can lean on in a time of need. Then it asks who you’d like to have in your support system in the future. What family, friends, professionals, and others might be of help?

For crisis house clients, the first column–current support–is often almost completely empty. Family and friends are all lost, gone. Given histories of frustration and disappointment, people sometimes have a hard time envisioning a future that’s any different. They don’t trust others anymore. They’re used to being loners, and often plan to continue on that way.

We talk about that: “No man is an island”…how having someone to call for help–some emotional support, maybe a couch to sleep on–might have helped them steer clear of their current troubles.

You don’t have to be homeless (or anywhere near homeless) to get something out of this exercise. Who is in your support system right now? Who out there is on your team?

Think about the time your were doing your best. Who did you have around you then? Maybe family, maybe friends. You may have had a doctor you trusted, co-workers to commiserate with, a therapist, classmates, a religious community.

Is that time now? Terrific–something to be grateful for. If not, ask yourself, what’s it going to take to get there? “Who can I lean on in the future and what do I need to do to get them into my life?”

Go here for a growing list of  coping skills.