Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Anxiety & Panic Disorders Health Center

Font Size

PTSD and Negative Coping - Topic Overview

With post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you may try to deal with problems in ways that cause more harm than good. This is called negative coping. Negative coping means you use quick fixes that may make a situation worse in the long run.

Here are some examples of negative coping skills:

Recommended Related to Anxiety Panic

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are very strong fears that may be caused by physical or psychological stress. Studies show that almost half of all patients with cancer say they feel some anxiety and about one-fourth of all patients with cancer say they feel a great deal of anxiety. Patients living with cancer find that they feel more or less anxiety at different times. A patient may become more anxious as cancer spreads or treatment becomes more intense. For some patients feelings of anxiety may become...

Read the Anxiety Disorders article > >

Substance abuse

Taking a lot of drugs or alcohol to feel better is called substance abuse. You may try to use drugs or alcohol to escape your problems, help you sleep, or make your symptoms go away.

Substance abuse can cause serious problems. Drinking or using drugs can put your relationships, your job, and your health in jeopardy. You may become more likely to be mean or violent. When you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may make bad decisions.

Avoiding others

Certain situations may cause you stress, make you angry, or remind you of bad memories. Because of this, you may try to avoid other people at times. You may even avoid your friends and family.

Avoiding others can make you feel isolated. Isolation is when you tend to be alone a lot, rather than spending time around other people.

When you distance yourself from others, your problems may seem to build up. You may have more negative thoughts or feel like you're facing life all alone.

Anger and violent behavior

You may feel a lot of anger at times. Your anger may cause you to lose your temper and do reckless things. You may distance yourself from people who want to help.

This is understandable. It's natural to feel angry after going through something traumatic. But anger and violent behavior can cause problems in your life and make it harder for you to recover.

Dangerous behavior

You also may cope by doing things that are dangerous. For example, you may drive too fast or be quick to start a fight when someone upsets you. You may end up hurting yourself or someone else.

How you deal with stress also can be dangerous. If you start smoking, or smoke more, you put your health in danger. Eating to relieve stress also can be dangerous if you gain too much weight.

Working too much

Work is a good thing. You learn new things, interact with others, and gain confidence. But working too much can be a form of avoidance. You may be working to avoid memories or to help yourself forget about the event. This is dangerous because:

  • You may not seek help for your PTSD.
  • You're not spending time with your family and friends. Being with them and getting their support may help you recover and deal better with PTSD.
  • You may work so much that you eat less and get little sleep. This can hurt your health, so you're more likely to get sick.
1|2

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 09, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

PTSD and Negative Coping Topics

Today on WebMD

Understanding Anxiety Prevention
Article
Unhappy couple
Article
 
Couple walking outdoors
SLIDESHOW
Man texting
Article
 
Phobias frightened eyes
Slideshow
Antidepressants
Video
 
organize
Article
Stressed businessman
HEALTH CHECK
 
Distressed teen girl in dramatic lighting
Article
Quit Smoking
Slideshow
 
Teen with OCD
Article
Too Scared Social Anxiety Disorder
VIDEO