Whereas adaptive coping methods promote functioning, maladaptive coping strategies (also known as non-coping) lessen symptoms while maintaining or intensifying the stressor. Maladaptive coping strategies are only successful in the short term and not in the long run.
Dissociation, sensitization, safety behaviours, anxious avoidance, procrastination, rationalisation, and escape are examples of maladaptive behaviour techniques (including self-medication).
These coping methods make it difficult for the person to unlearn, or break apart, the paired association between the scenario and the related anxiety symptoms. These are maladaptive techniques since they serve to keep the condition going.
Dissociation refers to the mind’s ability to separate and compartmentalise thoughts, memories, and emotions. This is frequently related with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sensitization occurs when a person wants to learn about, rehearse, and/or predict fearful occurrences in order to avoid them from happening in the first place.
Individuals with anxiety disorders exhibit safety behaviours when they begin to rely on something or someone to help them cope with their excessive anxiety.
Procrastination occurs when a person willingly delays a task in order to temporarily relieve tension. While this may provide temporary comfort, when employed as a coping method, procrastination creates more problems in the long run.
Rationalisation is the activity of seeking to use reasoning to reduce the severity of an experience or to avoid approaching it in ways that may result in psychological trauma or stress.
It most usually manifests as making excuses for the person participating in the rationalization’s behaviour or the behaviour of others involved in the circumstance the person is seeking to rationalise.
Anxious avoidance occurs when a person avoids anxiety-inducing circumstances at all costs. This is the most widely used approach.
Avoidance is strongly related to escape. People who have panic episodes or phobias frequently display this method. At the first sign of anxiousness, these folks want to abandon the situation.