77% of Americans have used one of these “unhealthy coping mechanisms” to manage a mental health crisis…which one did you fall into?
- More than three-quarters of Americans know that habits like drinking alcohol and using clubs are bad
- These coping habits are good in the moment but have long-term consequences.
- READ MORE: America’s children are embroiled in a worsening mental health crisis
According to one study, more than three-quarters of Americans knowingly engage in unhealthy coping habits.
A survey conducted by Myriad Genetics in Salt Lake City, Utah found that 77% of Americans report using drugs or unhealthy eating or sleeping to cope with mental health issues.
These coping mechanisms will sometimes help a person feel better in the short term, but will have long-term consequences.
Coping with mental health issues goes hand in hand with addiction, and this has been confirmed in the United States where fatal drug overdoses reached 107,000 in 2021. More than 4% were suicides.
Many people struggling with mental illness struggle to find a treatment regimen that relieves their symptoms of depression and anxiety, steering them toward unhealthy self-medication rather than using the advice of a mental health expert.
Survey responses show that even though a large majority of Americans know that some of their coping mechanisms are unhealthy, they still engage because these habits provide temporary relief.
A nationwide survey by the genetic testing company found that the addictive or unhealthy coping mechanisms that people most eagerly engage in include substance abuse such as drinking or using marijuana.
It also included: gambling, sleeping too little or too much, eating too much or not enough, excessive use of social media, watching TV shows and partying.
Dawn Johnson, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at the Indiana Center for Recovery in South Bend, said, “Many of my patients have struggled with depression and/or anxiety but have been unable to find treatment that will help them. made me feel better.
“So they resorted to alcohol, drugs or destructive behaviors to calm down, as these offered short-term relief.
“However, this behavior resulted in deteriorating mental health and the destruction of their lives. I saw it personally.
The GeneSight Mental Health Monitor survey found that 94% of Americans agreed that substance and behavioral addictions often mask deeper mental health issues.
But, this same group said they were going for it anyway.
For example, 70% of people with anxiety or depression have slept too much or too little to cope with their symptoms.
About 40% used alcohol to cope, while 20% used marijuana.
About the same number of people used other drugs such as painkillers to relieve their illness.
Sixty-four percent withdrew from social activities, leading to isolation that most often worsens depression and anxiety.
Meanwhile, 49% said they watched TV or movies to distract themselves from unpleasant emotions.
While around 90% of respondents agreed that you can’t party after your depression, around 10% still choose to go clubbing.
And almost everyone understands that excessive gambling is a band-aid for an underlying mental health problem, but that knowledge isn’t enough to stop nearly 10% of respondents.
The new survey findings come as the United States is entrenched in a mental health crisis caused by soaring drug addiction rates, feelings of isolation that have worsened during the pandemic and other issues. only Americans such as nearly constant school shootings and prohibitive prices. health care.
American children are reporting increasing numbers of mental health issues, and while the pandemic has certainly exacerbated the problems, the numbers had already been rising for years before Covid engulfed the world three years ago.
A study published last year found that nearly ten percent of American children age 17 or younger reported symptoms of anxiety, and just under five percent reported symptoms of depression.