Thursday, 6 December 2012

Coping Mechanisms #childabuse #survivors

The coping mechanisms you used as a child helped you function during the times you were being abused. Even though these coping mechanisms were functional at the time, many are no longer constructive in present life situations. As an adult you have more options than you did as a child. You are now able to identify coping mechanisms/patterns of behaviour which are less constructive and/or self destructive and substitute others which will help you cope better in your current life.

 Here are coping mechanisms by type:
Here is a full list of coping mechanisms:
More information on the above lists can be found at Changing Minds 

Other unconscious coping strategies can include the way our minds deal with a constant barrage of stress. People in the psychiatric field suggest that mental illnesses tend to be coping mechanisms that evolve from certain stresses. For example, multiple personality disorder may result in children who are severely abused. Panic disorder may be the body’s coping mechanisms for inappropriate fight/flight reactions to minor stresses. Some mental illnesses also have a genetic basis, but stress certainly often plays a role in making these illnesses more severe. 

We also learn coping mechanisms as we progress through life. Some people tend toward coping mechanisms that are helpful, while others choose defense mechanisms that can actually increase stress. The person who uses stress as a reason to exercise is learning and expressing a healthy coping mechanism. The person who turns to alcohol or drugs, eating disorders, or workaholic behavior is using coping mechanisms that are both dangerous and unhealthy.

Both children and adults can benefit from learning coping mechanisms from mental health professionals, especially when they are suffering from mental illness, or have turned to unhealthy forms of dealing with stress. In this sense, coping mechanisms are a set of practiced and learned behaviors that help us better respond to stress. We may not always be able to control the amount of adrenaline that pumps through our bodies in stressful situations, but many therapists believe we can learn to control our reaction to it.
Many times, people who experience high “fight/flight” reactions actually amp up their own stress by their coping mechanisms, creating more adrenaline boost than is needed. Learning to recognize the body’s tendency toward these highly charged states and altering behavior accordingly can reduce the length of time a person stays in the charged state, and reduce the body’s continued need to produce adrenaline to cope with danger that does not really exist. Coping mechanisms in the therapeutic sense can involve meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and recognition of the body’s inappropriate response to stress. These are only a few of the coping mechanisms that can be learned through therapy. They can result in fewer incidences of panic, inappropriate anger, or turning to unhelpful behaviors like using alcohol to dull stress.
People who have developed mental illness as a coping strategy benefit by learning therapeutic coping mechanisms, and by taking medication that can help reduce the symptoms of mental illness. A schizophrenic who hallucinates may be aided by the coping mechanisms provided by anti-psychotic drugs. Anti-anxiety medications can assist the person with frequent panic attacks. The gold standard in treating inappropriate coping mechanisms is to gradually replace these with therapy and medication that can help reduce inappropriate coping responses.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.
CBT cannot remove your problems, but can help you manage them in a more positive way. It encourages you to examine how your actions can affect how you think and feel. CBT is very useful in helping learn new and beneficial coping mechanisms.
In a relatively short time you can unlearn negative or unhealthy coping mechanisms and replace them with constructive, healthy and appropriate ones. 

1 comment:


I really enjoyed this post, your posts are always very clear and easy to read and more personalised than most books, thanks Jan.


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