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Unhelpful Strategies

Some responses to anxiety are not necessarily helpful in the long run.

They may develop initially as a way to cope, and may need to be challenged and gradually replaced with more helpful strategies.

A couple of key things to be aware of are:

  • Avoidance

    Because severe anxiety or panic attacks feel dreadful, most people do whatever they can to avoid them. This makes sense, but is not much help in the long-term, as the fear tends to build up, the longer things are avoided.

    Often this inadvertently makes it worse. Sometimes the fear just sits there until the same trigger for the fear is met again sometime later. If you find you are developing this kind of pattern- seek help from a counsellor.

  • Drinking, smoking taking other drugs

    In some cultures, having a drink is a pretty common way to help with social nerves at a party. Generally, however, if people start to rely on alcohol or other drugs to cope with anxiety it can be quite dangerous.

    The symptoms of anxiety may be alleviated in the short-term, but in the long-term the problem doesn't go away and the effects of alcohol and drugs upon physical and mental health can be quite serious.

    If you find you are relying on alcohol or other drugs to cope with anxiety seek help from a counsellor.

  • Unhealthy or excessive distractions

    Some forms of distraction e.g. exercise and meditation may be useful in keeping anxious thoughts in check, but excessive use of distractions is generally not helpful. An example may be watching TV all day as opposed to watching one program for an hour. Another might be playing video games for long periods. A common and interesting distraction is baking; this can be a nice interlude and distraction if used appropriately - but cooking an elaborate 4 course meal everyday is probably not helpful.

    If you find you are excessively using distractions seek help from a counsellor.

 

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