a woman learning coping skills

The Impact of Maladaptive Coping Skills: Change the Way You Deal with Anxiety

Anxiety plays a large role in most addictions. When you feel anxious, you may self-medicate to make yourself feel better. This is an example of maladaptive coping skills. Whether you take a calming sip of scotch or pop a prescription painkiller, either may start you down the road to a substance use disorder. If you suffer from anxiety, or if you care about someone who battles this disorder daily, reach out to Five Palms in Ormand Beach, FL. We offer an anxiety treatment program that can easily change your life.

Common Causes of Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are common feelings that everyone experiences from time to time. But if these feelings are strong enough to interfere with your daily routine, or if they keep you from doing the things you want or need to do, then they become problematic. Common causes of anxiety include:

  • Emotional trauma
  • Relationship troubles
  • Bosses, coworkers, and jobs
  • School
  • Finances
  • Illness

The side effects of certain medications may make you feel anxious, as well. And for some people, social situations can cause crippling anxiety. Regardless of what makes you feel anxious, it’s important to work through your problems without turning to drugs or alcohol. A good way to do this is to learn new coping skills like those taught in our mental health treatment program at Five Palms.

What Are Coping Skills?

Coping skills are defined as the thoughts and feelings we employ to handle difficult situations. They may be healthy or unhealthy. They may use adaptive reasoning or avoidance. Some are beneficial and will help you learn to deal with situations positively. Others, conversely, will keep you stuck in an anxious state. Positive, or adaptive, coping skills include the following:

  • Seeking external support — talking to someone safe about your problem
  • Problem-solving — actively thinking about achieving positive outcomes
  • Relaxing — engaging in calming activities such as listening to music or meditating
  • Exercising — going for a walk, a run, or a half-hour at the gym

These are all positive ways to handle stress, and they’re good coping skills to foster and to practice when things aren’t going your way. Alternatively, negative ways of coping often make things worse. These include:

  • Self-medicating — drinking alcohol or taking drugs
  • Avoidance — Pretending the problem doesn’t exist and waiting for it to go away
  • Self-soothing — Overeating, gambling, engaging in risky sex
  • Escapism — Isolating yourself from everyone and everything
  • Self-harming — intentionally cutting or hurting yourself

When you repeatedly use maladaptive coping techniques to deal with stress or anxiety, problems tend to worsen. This can make it difficult to get through a day, and it’s a forerunner of drug and alcohol addiction. If you struggle with developing and using positive coping techniques in your daily life, it’s time to reach out to Five Palms for help.

Changing the Way You Think

The good news is that it’s possible to change the ways you deal with bad situations. Simply because you’ve learned and practiced maladaptive coping mechanisms, this doesn’t mean you can’t unlearn them or replace them with other, more useful, skills. This is where a good therapy program like the one offered at Five Palms becomes vital. You can learn better, easier ways to deal with anxiety, and our skilled therapists are happy to teach you.

If you’ve made the decision to affect positive change in your life, Five Palms can help. Call us today at [Direct,] and we’ll show you how to turn the anxiety, worry, and fear that cripples you into positive, affirmative coping mechanisms. The formation of strong coping techniques can completely change the direction of your life. Choose today to begin.

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