Negative Coping Actions

Negative coping actions increase problems. These are short-term solutions that will later become detrimental and hard to change, and include isolation, workaholism, violent behavior, unhealthy eating, smoking, and alcohol and drug use. Some people with PTSD try to cope with their distress in ways that lead to more problems because they aren't informed about positive and healthy coping methods.

Negative coping methods include:

Alcohol or drug use

These may block painful memories, increase social confidence or induce sleep, but they often cause more problems. Alcohol and drug use have a risk of dependency and can increase anger, isolation and suicidal tendencies.

Social isolation

Isolation allows survivors to avoid situations that may cause anger, irritability and fear, but it creates major problems. The loss of social support, friendship and intimacy may increase depression and anxiety.


By keeping people away, anger may get rid of upsetting situations, but will also drive away positive relationships in a person's life.


A voiding the problem may help to control distress, but it will prevent the survivor from learning how to cope with the trauma in a positive way.