As adults, we have plenty of stressors that we could list if given the chance. From our jobs, to our bills, our credit, buying a home… It seems that the list is never-ending, and varies just a bit for every one of us. However, it’s the way that we cope with those issues that makes all the difference. While there are plenty of healthy ways to cope with your day-to-day life, many adults still choose the unhealthy ones. Take, for example, alcohol use as a coping mechanism. How many people do you know that face a difficult situation and utter the words, “I need a drink”? The answer is, well… most people. However, this behavior is destructive in a number of ways, and has a hand in developing alcoholism.
Alcohol Use: Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
A coping mechanism is anything that we use as a means of combatting stress. As we mentioned before, coping mechanisms can be positive or negative— and it’s all in how they affect our mind state, our bodies, and the world around us. As you can likely assume, alcohol use is a negative coping mechanism. Furthermore, using alcohol to cope can easily lead to a dependence.
Technically, alcohol does relieve stress
The reason many people use alcohol to relieve stress is because it does the job. Alcohol use slows the central nervous system, leading to feelings of relaxation— among other things. Therefore, it can be a means of stress relief. However, along with those feelings of relaxation comes a risk of addiction, damage to organs, as well as an avoidance of real life emotion and healthy ways of coping.
The dangers of alcohol use to cope
One of the biggest dangers of choosing beer, liquor, or wine to cope with your issues is that you aren’t using problem solving skills and proper coping behaviors. We, as adults, often find ourselves in difficult situations which require us to think on our feet, face adversity, and prosper. However, if drinking is our only means of dealing with problems— we might find that we struggle to make a difficult decision without it.
In short, alcohol use is a dangerous alternative to healthy coping mechanisms, and can lead to larger issues than the problem at hand. So, find what works for you— and also for your body.