Ineffective Coping Mechanisms That Don’t Beat Anxiety
Updated: Apr 26, 2019
Do you have racing thoughts, trouble concentrating, or struggle with unwanted thoughts? Maybe you constantly feel fatigued and restless at the same time. These are common symptoms of anxiety disorder, a common mental condition that affects some 40 million people each year. Of those 40 million people, only about 37 percent will receive treatment as many individuals try to manage their condition on their own. While individuals handle and react to anxiety in different ways, there are three common coping mechanisms that people often turn to for anxiety management. Let’s take a closer look at them.
When people turn to this type of coping mechanism to deal with symptoms of anxiety, they do everything they can to prepare for fearful, “anxiety-provoking” situations. They may research obsessively or they may rehearse the situation in their mind over and over. This is done in an effort to protect themselves from the unknown outcome or to prevent the situation from happening altogether. Individuals who use sensitization as a coping mechanism may appear to be hyper-vigilant and they may worry obsessively. Children who have a difficult time being separated from their parents often employ sensitization as a coping mechanism.
This type of coping mechanism is largely defined by certain behaviors that a person may use in order to keep their symptoms of anxiety at bay. In most instances, individuals who use this coping strategy come to rely on a person or thing to reassure them that they are safe. Some people may not leave their house unless someone accompanies them or they may carry a variety of medicines on them so that they are prepared for any possible event that may happen. This coping mechanism is often seen in individuals who have been diagnosed with Panic Disorder, and again in children who have a hard time being separated from their parents.
Of all the coping mechanisms people use to ward off symptoms of anxiety, anxious avoidance is the most common. As the name suggests, people who use the strategy simply try to avoid situations that make them feel anxious. While avoiding certain situations may reduce a person’s anxiety for a short period of time, it also results in negative reinforcement, meaning that it reinforces the idea that avoidance solves the problem. Situations that produce symptoms of anxiety are often perceived as a threat. By avoiding the situation altogether, a person can successfully control their psychological response to the event, at least for a little while.
Some might argue that these coping mechanisms are effective for managing anxiety. In truth, these strategies are effective at minimizing symptoms of anxiety, but only for a short period of time. They are not effective at resolving one of the main causes of anxiety. Remember, situations cannot cause anxiety. Rather, situations have a way of triggering negative thoughts, and how you react to those situations is entirely dependent on your thoughts.
Always keep in mind...
Step number one in dealing with a mental health issue is reaching out for professional help (Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Therapist, etc.).
The information provided on this website is for educational purposes only.
It is not for diagnosing, prognosticating, treatment or prescribing of mental health conditions.
For the treatment of any mental health condition or disease, or drug therapy, please consult your physician or other healthcare providers.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis please call 911 or visit your hospital immediately.
When you’re in a place in your life where you can make positive changes, the techniques Jeremy delivers on this website, in his presentations and in his books may help.