Stress Management: Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms to Avoid

Everyone experiences stress, and everyone handles it differently. Some people try to slow down through meditation, quiet walks and sleeping. Others try to have fun, power through and forget the stress in their lives for a while. Both ways can be helpful depending on the person. 

Sometimes the best way to deal with stress is to forget about it. However, forgetting about stress is not the same as avoiding it. When a person who is stressed decides to prevent stress, it only builds. This buildup of pressure and emotions can eventually lead to a breakdown or coping without solving the problem. Avoidance is where unhealthy coping mechanisms come from. 

Stress is a fact of life, and learning how to deal with it in healthy ways can lead to a happier and healthier life. Every person has their way of coping with stress, and if it works to help them get back to normal, then that’s great.

That said, here are some coping strategies that can be harmful and may lead to more stress.

Excessive Substance or Alcohol Consumption and Abuse

There’s nothing wrong with a person enjoying a glass or two of their favorite beer, wine, or something else. The problem lies when enjoying turns “excessive,” which can cross the line between casual and healthy drinking and abusive drinking. The same goes for other relaxing substances. 

In small and healthy doses, it’s okay. But using alcohol or substances as an escape from stress can lead to dangerous consequences. One of which is a path to health problems, addiction, and even death. 

Binge drinking, chain-smoking, or using drugs don’t offer relief, only temporary escape that will leave a person with more stress than when they started.


Food is comforting, especially when someone’s had a bad day. However, like alcohol and other substances, excessive eating can open a doorway to food addiction, obesity, and other health issues.

Sweets and other comforting types of junk food again are not wrong in moderate quantities. It’s natural for people to seek these out when stressed because of their elevated cortisol levels. But junk food is not meant to be consumed in large quantities. The best thing to do is be self-aware of this behavior and replace junk food with healthier items.


Sleeping is another way people can escape the stress that is plaguing them in their daily lives. Just like the two previously mentioned, it’s the excessiveness of this act that makes it unhealthy. Oversleeping can disturb a person’s natural sleeping patterns, leading to bouts of sleep deprivation and then long periods of oversleeping. 

This disturbed sleeping pattern can contribute to a weakened body which makes people less equipped to handle stress.


Unhealthy coping mechanisms can lock people in a vicious cycle of stress that never ends. There are plenty of ways to deal with stress healthily. The most crucial step, though, is acceptance and acknowledgment of the stress. Often people will bend over backward and harm their bodies in the process, trying to avoid or deny the stress in their lives. 

Acknowledging the stress puts a person in a better position to ask for help or seek more productive and peaceful ways of handling it. 

By providing online therapy 24/7, we hope to help people become the best version of themselves. Therapy24x7 offers psychotherapy and life-coaching services both in-office and online. We do our best to provide clients with the support and advice they need to face their challenges and live healthier lives. For more information, browse our website or contact us today. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *