This blog touches on 4 common unhealthy coping mechanisms. Struggling with mental health issues can feel exhausting. You may want to escape from your symptoms so badly, but continue to face them every day. So badly, you just want to feel better and leave all of this behind you.
Unhealthy coping mechanisms feel good at the moment. However, there are difficulties that may come with continuing to use them. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of alternative coping mechanisms, and have other resources available to you.
At New Leaf Marriage & Family Therapy in Simi Valley, we know that it’s hard to break from using these coping mechanisms. But, you truly have the power to heal, recover, and switch up the way you cope.
Trauma therapy in Simi Valley, CA helps you effectively manage symptoms of PTSD. We provide a space for you that is compassionate and non-judgmental. Make sure to read our blog on What is Trauma Therapy?
4 Common Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms: Self-harm
Self-harming behaviors include: self-mutilation, such as through cutting, burning, or punching, to deliberately injure yourself. Individuals struggling with strong emotional pain may turn to self-harm in moments of crisis or distress.
Those who self-harm may feel an instant release of negative emotions as soon as they create the injury. Any feelings of distress calm down, and it feels like they’re back to level base. However, the core problem itself is not resolved, and will resurface again soon.
Therapists will collaborate with their clients to come up with an extensive list of healthier alternatives. Some popular alternatives include drawing with a washable marker, hugging yourself, or channeling the feelings through movement or exercise.
4 Common Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms: Substance use
Individuals may use substances to cope with issues at hand. Popular substances can include: alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, psychedelics, prescription medications, and more. There are many different scenarios where an individual would be introduced to a certain substance and begin using it.
It’s possible that an individual will struggle with a substance use disorder alongside having depression, anxiety, PTSD, or more. This is called comorbidity, where two or more disorders are occuring at the same time.
To cope with the symptoms of another mental health disorder, an individual may turn to substances. They may want to forget what is distressing them (currently, or in the past), and seek to escape the discomfort.
However, with chronic use of a substance, the body will develop a dependency and physical health issues can arise when trying to stop. Therefore, please seek out medical support or a rehabilitation center to safely detox. From there, seek out a dual diagnosis treatment center.
4 Common Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms: Negative self-talk
Negative self-talk can occur without us really realizing it. We may not be used to countering it and sticking up for ourselves. Instead, we listen to it as if it’s the truth about ourselves. This influences our behaviors and perceptions moving forward.
It can be difficult to counter negative self-talk, especially when you kind of believe it. For example, you may struggle with social anxiety. When you go out, you feel that everyone’s eyes are on you, judging you. This makes you feel uncomfortable, and you begin to blame yourself.
You think, “Ugh, I don’t even know why I came. I’m so awkward. I probably look really weird right now. My outfit doesn’t look anything like everyone else’s. Everyone knows each other, except for me. I’m probably unwanted here, and should go.”
This doesn’t necessarily help you cope with anything, but it’s an unhealthy way to address your discomfort or anxiety. It’s unproductive, and can make you feel bad about yourself. When in reality, you don’t need to feel that way, or believe these thoughts.
Anxiety therapy in Simi Valley helps you find ways to decrease negative self-talk and increase acceptance, self-love, and self-compassion. Check out our blog on 5 Ways to Quickly Ground Yourself.
4 Common Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms: Avoidance of issues
You can avoid your issues through a number of ways. Two ways have already been described above; self-harm and substance use. So, what does it mean to be avoidant of your issues? How do you know when that is occurring, and what to do about it?
Avoidance involves active efforts towards denying, minimizing, or avoiding directly dealing with something. So, maybe you deny the severity of your trauma and the effect it has on you. Maybe you minimize how much you are really struggling, to hide it better from others.
You may try to navigate daily life as if nothing is going on, or that nothing has happened. Therefore, you hold it all inside of you and try not to crack. This can be a lot to carry all of the weight of the situation. It’s really hard to bottle it up inside of yourself. All you want is to release it and feel better, but you can’t face it yet.
You don’t need to be alone throughout your journey. You deserve to properly heal from past experiences, and create a life that you want for yourself.
In-person therapy in Simi Valley is ideal for those seeking a separate, safe space from their home. Check out our blog on Online Therapy or In Office Therapy to understand what format is best for you. Another great blog to read is ours on if you need Therapy or Medication to address your issues.
By seeking out support, you can begin your journey to feeling relief. You don’t have to go through finding the right level of support alone, either.
Consider calling our therapy group at (805) 774-1506 for a free consultation on how you or a loved one can get started today!
Seek out a validating, safe environment with us today. We will help you get to where you want to be. Our therapists provide trauma therapy, teen therapy, individual adult therapy, LGBTQIA+ therapy, anxiety therapy, depression therapy, family therapy, and more in-office in Simi Valley, CA.