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Trauma Rehab Centers

Can Improving Interpersonal Communication Skills Help Recovery?

When addicts pursue recovery, it is a comprehensive effort that identifies risk factors, addresses concurrent conditions and instills new coping strategies and life skills. The goal is to empower recovering addicts to maintain their sobriety and elevate their complete health profile, including social health. Poor interpersonal communication skills can play a role in substance abuse and relapse, while improving social skills can strengthen recoveries in many ways.

Social Skills and Addiction Risk

Many people consume alcohol or drugs purely for the recreational high, but others hope to numb emotional pain, self-medicate an undiagnosed disorder or temporarily escape their present realities. Poor social skills can make these issues worse in various ways, including the following:

  • Difficulties developing or keeping friendships and romances
  • Communication breakdowns that cause or intensify conflicts
  • Increased social isolation, loneliness and depressed emotions
  • Struggles communicating needs, concerns and personal problems
  • Hurdles finding employment or career growth in the workplace
  • Social anxieties that suppress personal desires to get help

Dysfunctional social skills can stem from shyness, combative personalities, mental health disorders, past traumas and passive-aggressive attributes. For immigrants, the issue may even involve limited language comprehension and cultural assimilation. Deficient social skills and underlying issues can all motivate substance abuse, and if an addiction does develop, these problems often grow worse.

Benefits of Improved Communication

In the context of a comprehensive treatment plan, improved communication skills can help recoveries in several ways, including the following:

  • Increased social ties that can provide support and accountability
  • Improved abilities to express ideas in positive and constructive ways
  • Communicative clarity that reduces misunderstandings and arguments
  • Stronger sense of community involvement and responsibility
  • Greater ease with which to discuss the addiction and recovery
  • Decreased risk of social withdrawal, boredom and depression

Many recovering addicts adopt the 12-Step principles as a defined course of action following treatment, and one of the steps is acknowledging and resolving wrongs inflicted on others. Improved interpersonal communication skills can help a person pursue this step with more ease and effectiveness.

How Treatment Helps Social Skills

Rehab centers utilize a wide range of treatment modalities depending on the patient’s particular needs, and many of the therapies can help improve social skills in different ways. The therapies will vary according to the recovery plan, but there are several potential examples, including the following:

  • Integrated care for mental health disorders like depression, anxiety and social phobia
  • One-on-one counseling sessions to work through unresolved traumas
  • Behavioral therapies that improve maladaptive thought patterns, beliefs and responses
  • Coping skills such as conflict resolution and anger and stress management
  • Holistic therapies such as yoga, meditation, relaxation exercises and tai chi

Furthermore, treatment centers often teach several important communication skills, including the following:

  • Practice patience, show empathy and be a better listener when talking with others
  • Refrain from seeing every issue or interaction in stark black-and-white terms
  • Avoid getting embroiled in interpersonal politics or conflicts that do not involve you
  • Build relationships based on positive connection points like shared healthy hobbies
  • Be willing to accept other points of view even when confident you are right

Social support is one of the fundamental cornerstones of lasting recoveries, and treatment professionals guide patients to local support groups where social skills can continue improving in a positive setting.

Addiction Recovery Help

Our admissions coordinators can speak with you any time of day or night if you have questions or need more information about addiction recovery options. We can even check health insurance policies for benefits. If you need assistance, please call our toll-free helpline now.