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5 Unhealthy Coping Strategies You Should Avoid

Life isn’t an easy road and we all walk it differently but those harsh turns along the way can really be testing. Some people will deal with the twists and turns with ease while others will feel beaten down and exhausted. It all boils down to how we cope with life. Some breeze through with positive attitudes and coping strategies while others allow bad choices to drag them down. When unhealthy coping strategies take over your life then negative effects are inevitable.

1) Drinking Alcohol

The Family Guidance Center says that many people suffering stresses at home or at work may find themselves drinking heavily to try and cope. According to WebMD an excessive level of drinking is considered four alcoholic drinks per day in men and three per day in women.

While in the short-term people may feel happier and less stressed when drunk, high levels of drinking can do serious damage both physically and mentally.

· Heart Disease

· Brain and Nervous System Issues

· Anemia

· Cancer

· Seizures

· Infections

· Liver Damage

So essentially, using drink to cope can lead to serious health issues which add extra stress on top of any other pre-existing concerns. Additionally, alcohol is a depressant meaning it can worsen depression and contribute to the risk of dementia.

2) Binging

When people talk about binging most will think of binge eating or spending a whole day watching season after season of a show and both are essentially a mechanism to cope with stress. They are, however, not a healthy way to cope as doing something obsessively is not an adequate way to deal with the roots of an issue.

According to WebMD some people dealing with stress will turn to the comfort of food to make them feel better. This may then lead to the added stress of next feeling like they are gaining weight.

3) Self Injury

According to WebMD self-injury tends to manifest in adolescent females, people from abusive home, those forced to repress anger and those who struggle to express emotion. It can be anything from cutting to banging a head against the wall but is usually used as an outlet for anxiety and to feel some emotion. This is an extremely negative coping strategy which isn’t considered suicidal activity but can be physically harming. Those who use this coping style often require assistance to break the cycle which can mean the need for psychological treatment.

4) Denying Feelings

As part of a coping in a healthy way people should accept and express their own feelings. Some people, however, will suppress their emotions because they perhaps do not want to face them or they feel nobody cares.

WebMD says that denial is part of the grieving process and describe it as a numbness and shock. This usually passes as the trauma of the loss lessens over time but in some people this denial can persist. A failure to allow yourself to feel the emotions that are there within yourself can lead to deeper emotional and psychological issues.

5) Withdrawing from Social Interaction

WebMD considers withdrawal from social interactions as one of the 6 traps to avoid in the fight against depression. There is a strong urge to pull away from society when people are deeply depressed due to the pressure people feel to act “normal and happy.”

It may seem comforting in the short term to be left alone but in the long-term social isolation can do a lot of harm. The European Health Alliance says that isolation can lead to stress, anxiety, apathy, and worsened depression. It is therefore important to try and maintain some level of social interaction.


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