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Maladaptive responses to stress – or ways not to cope with stress

Maladaptive responses to stress – or ways not to cope with stress

With stress people can either adapt, using coping processes, relaxation or therapy, but a lot of people turn to maladaptive responses. This is when they feel they can not turn to anyone, or that the certain maladaption eases the stress/stressor. All it does is mask the problem and causes more stress and strain as the maladaptive responses become a dependant and serve only to create a further stress. Denial is the main maladaptive behaviour and result in one of the following occurring in order to cope with the situation. Those therapists among you reading this may be aware that client often slow down there drinking after hypnosis is used on them. Most people believe that the maladaptive behaviour actually helps them, but it just helps to calm down a state of anxiety that would not exist if they stopped the maladaption. When people get stressed they smoke in excess, drink in excess and sometimes become very angry with those around them.

When the maladaptive behaviour kicks in it becomes a habit eventually that helps the through the stress, they become dependent on it and fall into the category of addiction in the case of drugs and alcohol. At this stage it may be where the behavioural signs of stress show through.

The following are the main ones:-

• Alcohol abuse
• Alcohol dependence
• Smoking
• Drugs i.e. Depressants (tranquilizers, barbiturates etc)
• Over eating – As children this was programmed as a
conditioned response, if you like a habit that was formed at
an early age that has become second nature to the client.
• Physical and verbal abuse – this can range from Deliberate
Self Harm on the person suffering, right to physical abuse of
partners and family. (Road rage fits here)
• Non responding behavior – this is usually a pattern of evasion
techniques, this is where there is temporary release of the
tension, but trigger remains. Example of this are:
• Spending Sprees – retail therapy – ( buyers remorse)
• Blaming others
• Over – working
• Denial

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